May 26th, 2010
Understandably and regrettably, most politicians are not
lawyers. As a result, they are not always sure of their
political rights. They often rely on opinion leaders and
views expressed in newspapers and magazines, which are often
misleading, inaccurate or biased.To participate in the
government of one's country is a civic right, a political
right, an inherent right, which is part of the fundamental
rights of legitimate citizens in all states. This right has
been enshrined in the constitutions of all civilised states.
The African Charter of Human and People's' Rights, which was
adopted in 1981, declares that " Every citizen shall have
the right to participate freely in the government of his
country either directly or through freely chosen
representatives in accordance with the provisions of the
law.The right of equal access to the public services of
one's country is equally guaranteed. As a result, zoning,
which purports to confer privilege on some individuals,
regional enclaves or to a party faithful, is
unconstitutional..It is shocking to read the virilluent
condemnation of some politicians based on their expression
of interest to contest the forth-coming elections.
Except there is documented evidence of disqualification,
no-one should be vilified for his ambitions. Let the people
choose and decide, who will govern them. Bigotted tribalists
should not heat up the polity by insulting political leaders
from minority states.
I have listened to the illogical rantings of intellectual
mystics, psychics, prophets and seers, who have connections
with the spirit world. The ethnic star performers of Nigeria
are often very partial. Their tribal sentiments seem to have
been so innoculated in them that they can only relate to
other Nigerians, with morbid dislike.They are often assailed
by distressing outbreaks of poltergeist and telekinetic
No matter how much they lament the shift in power from
majority nation-states to minority nation-states, the
reality is that minorities in Nigeria know which happened in
Nigeria, between 1960 and 1985.
The bold act of a minority leader changed the history of
Nigeria radically. If Rivers State was not created and the
University of Portharcourt was not established, perhaps, our
President would been among those kids, who roamed the
streets from Ikot-Ekpene street to Aggrey Road. in
Portharcourt.He probably would not have gained admission to
Ife, Ibadan, Nsukka or Ahmadu Bello universities, for
reasons known by all..
Nigeria must call a National Conference of our Federated
States in order to discuss the socio-economic system we
should adopt. After that, we can then proceed with free and
fair elections and we can then go on to establish a
truly,democratic Federal Republic. Anything that does not
conform with this strategy, which I had suggested before the
do-or-die primitive elections of 2003 and 2007, will see us
go no-where slowly.
I am very worried that it would seem that we may do every
right, but end up with a marrionette government in 2011. A
marronette government is one that draws its power and
entrenchment, not from its state but is propped up by a
foreign power.It will be very sad if we come up with a
government that will compromise the sovereignty of Nigeria.
It will be dictated to, advised and controlled by the forces
that entrenched it. It is a serious national security issue.
We have had that experience before. Let us guard against
those politicians, who are ready to sell our nation and
collect their change.
Under their government, we shall be beholden to foreign
consultants, the IMF, the World Bank, teleguidance from all
sorts of advisers and international do-gooders and
We shall make haste slowly.The signs are obvious. There are
no political blue-prints, no theoretical and practical
suggestions to effect meaningful change.The proposals for
reforms and change during the Obasanjo regime proferred by
the IMF and the World Bank, which he relied upon, were
intended to diffuse, not consummate the national democratic
That governments' policies, strategies,, and crude tactics,
were strong on rhetorics but weak on action.
When one compares the eight years of Babangida and Obasanjo,
the difference is clear. Obasanjo frittered away valuable
time in shameless squabbles with Atiku.
Those of us, who have mastered the fine spontaneity both of
Nigerian politics and life in this country, cannot but feel
sad that there are arsenals of highly gifted men and women,
who can govern using relevant knowledge and experience but
who circumstances have kept firmly at bay, while we thrive
on showmanship,self-promotion, shallowness and ego-trips.
Full-paged advertisements congratulating leaders, "prominent
citizens" governors and others are evanescent baubles of the
day."They rise and fall like empty bottles on the
stream.They are illusions and will pass away" Nothing can
replace good governance based on relevant knowledge of
statecraft. National rebirth is a serious enterprise, which
broad smiles, warm hand-shakes and bear hugs cannot address.
This reminds me of the invitation which the Leader of the
Unity Party of Nigeria, the Right Honourable, Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, extended to me to visit him at 33a Parkl Lane,
Apapa, Lagos in July 1978. The JEWEL was in attendance.In
rounding up our discussions, the Chief joked about " those
Agbada-wearing politicians, who take the benefits of
politics but are incapable of carrying the burdens of same"
WE shall overcome someday!
Professor Dr Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai is
the President of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR, EDO