NIGERIA FROM THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE
Voting For APC Change Example
In the April 2015 elections, Nigerians, our beloved Nigerians voted for “Change”. This meant different concepts to various schools of thought. To some it portends pushing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of governance. To still others it meant a change to bring a president from one's own tribe into power, yet to others it simply meant a change for change sake. To a few idealists it was necessary to try a more verile, more patriotic and more focused government that would make our hard earned democracy meaningful – politically, socially, and economically.
Nigeria, this time appears to have cut its nose to spite its face, for it voted for a party with people who have only self in mind and nothing for the good of the masses of Africa's most populous nation- Nigeria.
At the federal level, President Buhari is singing an over-danced tune of “fight against corruption” while his actions are baits for bribery and corruption. In a nation with divers nationalities with a constitution which recognizes this fact and enshrines a provision in its constitution ensure the participation of all nationalities in the decision making processes of governance, yet the president who claims to be a change agent, ignores this provision of the nation's supreme law and chooses to appoint men from one section of the country, and, a few from another and leaves one of the first degree pre-eminent tribes completely out of the decision making machinery of the nation. This of course opens the can of lobbying with its attendant greasing of the palm by selfish individuals who are prepared to mortgage their conscience to secure a places in government. One would not blame them.
The laws of the nation about bribery and corruption make both the giver and receiver equally guilty of the crime. And since nobody by natural justice is permitted to incriminate himself, both parties in this crime keep quiet, and this way, corruption is perpetuated in this country. And a man who came into a position by parting with millions of naira, must always seek means of recouping his money. So that President Buhari can shout off his brain and to high heavens, as long as he continues to be clannish and not disposed to equitable distribution of posts/positions to carry along all the nationalities that make-up this country, his efforts will pertinently fail, because the foundation is inequitable and inequitability connotes weakness. The resultant structure of the Federation of Nigeria being this weak cannot carry the superstructure of ill founded political, economic, social justice etc. demands of true democracy in this country.
The first line decision making machinery of the Federal Government of Nigeria is NOT the Federal Executive Council, but the front-line executives of the Federal Government comprising the President, Vice President, Secretary to Government of the Federation and perhaps, the Attorney-General, and the Accountant – General. Nigeria is proverbially standing on a 'tripod' – the North, the West and the East. In Buhari's contrived front-line Executive – the North has the President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Accountant-General; the West has the Vice President only. The East is totally excluded. Although the Attorney-General is yet to be appointed. Scientifically, as it is at the present, a “tripod” with two legs or stands, cannot firmly bear the weight of whatever is placed on it. Such must surely fall and the entire structure must collapse. This is NATURAL. So those who are thinking of balancing with federal ministerial appointments are either of shallow mind or lack deep administration knacks and knowledge or are perhaps deliberately deceiving themselves and the gullible and the ill-informed.
Under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, Section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution stipulates that “it shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and person (including President Buhari) exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provision of this chapter of the Constitution”
Section 14(3) explodes with “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the FEDERAL CHARACTER OF NIGERIA and the need to promote national unity and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be NO predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies” Subsection 4 repeats the foregoing for state and Local Governments.
The question becomes, can any provision of the Nation's Supreme Law be successfully subverted by claims of fighting a vice that is wide spread throughout the country and permeated into all facets of the nation's life by a blatant negation of such an important constitutional provision as that in section 14 subsections 3 and 4?. Buhari cannot swear that there are no qualified, honest and uncompromisable decent citizens of this country outside Northern Nigerian. The unity, loyalty and therefore security and peace of Nigeria transcends any other real or imaginary vices in the nation!
It has been argued that Buhari is rewarding the States that voted for him, and those who saw him through in his days in political and economic wilderness. While it is good to remember friends at all times, should the unity, peace, loyalty and oneness of the nation be scarified for Buhari's self aggrandizement. This would be wrong. If this argument is carried further it will only give out President Buhari as not only conceited but an extremely selfish president who thinks of himself and cares nothing of the nation entrusted into his care by the sacred mandate of the peoples of this nation.
And all this against the doctrine of CHANGE and the policy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – the party on which President Buhari came to power!
Another APC Agent of the so-called change that is changing the good to the worse, titled ostensibly against political stability is the A.P.C in Imo State under the governorship of a political bigot, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. A man who believes in deceit, make-shift and subterfuge. The administration stance of Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is in no way different from what Buhari is doing with front-line appointments at the federal level.
In Imo State the disposition to get married or to marry from Okorocha family and its extended family units is the most important qualification to secure a state appointment in Imo State under Owelle Rochas administration. There is the obnoxious subterfuge of orlunisation of the public service in Imo State. And, to ensure that this is carried to a conclusive level, the Owelle has rewritten the constitution of the Nigerian Federation in many respects.
Firstly, he created an unconstitutional fourth (4th) tier of government – the so-called community government council – through which public funds often allocated to the local government system is diverted into private pockets. The tragedy here is that the funds are not drawn under any Estimate Head or Sub Head, and drawn without any direct and distinct appropriation law or approval. THE STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS, THE BAR ASSOCIATION and THE MEDIA look unconcerned.
Secondly, in his second tenure, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State has still not put in place elected local government councils in the state. It is noteworthy that throughout his first tenure, no elected local government council existed in the state. It was “Transition Committees” appointed by the Owelle at will and under his personal control to do his biddings, consequently no local government council in Imo State carried out the duties spelt out in Part II, Section 7 (1-5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the funds collected at the monthly Federal Allocation Committee (FAC) meetings for local government councils were diverted to unknown sources and doubtful purposes other than equitable disbursements to the local government councils.
In Section 7(1) of the Nation's Supreme Law, “the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every state shall ensure their existence under a law provided for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils”.
Subsections 2-6 stipulate the role of both the executive and the legislature of the state to ensure the implementation of subsection I (above) and how it should function. These are clearly stated in the fourth schedule of the constitution. In Imo State, both the Executive and the Legislature seem to have conspired against the constitution they all swore to protect and defend and the people of the State who suffer in numerous various ways as a result of this dereliction of duty by the two tires of government in the State.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly ensures the separation of the powers of the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. The Local Government system is an entity of itself under the constitution as a third tire, But in practice state governors have absorbed its legitimate functions and funds, and make them an appendage of the Executive Arm of the government. And because of partisan considerations, the Federal Government and the National Assembly which should ensure that the provision of the constitution is upheld throughout the nation, turn a blind eye to this rape on the Nation's Supreme Law. Yet somebody sits in the presidential villa in Abuja, talking about ridding the nation of corruption while his blatant acquisance to corruption is legitimized by constitution abrasive silence.
In Imo State Governor Rocha Okorocha has taken a further step to seal the coffin of the local government system by attempting to appoint elected members of the State House of Assembly and other choice of his, to run and supervise local government matters in place of elected local government councils. As if this abrasion is not enough, he has appointed committees of his relations, in-laws and business associates to take the place of state commissioners to run the ministries.
Section 192 of the Constitution of Nigeria provides for the appointment of Commissioner subject to confirmation by the State House of Assembly. Now that Okorocha is appointing Members of the House of Assembly into the functions of the Executive Arm of the State Government, it becomes pertinent to draw the attention of the Speaker of the House, the NBA and the media to the provision in subsection 3 of Section 192 of the constitution. The Nigerian Constitution being the Supreme Law of this country MUST be adhered to and obeyed to the letter or else its negation should attract a condinign retribution against the governor and the defaulting individuals. This state should NOT be allowed to drift into illegality before our eyes. There had been several governors before now, none of them ever governed by such magnitude of illegality, abuse of Power and contempt for the Rule of Law.
If the Imo State House of Assembly refuses to defend the constitution through which the members came into the Assembly for the good governance of the state, then every constituent of the state should begin to seek mean to recall them. The populace did not vote for them for the purpose of enriching themselves only. They were voted into the House to protect the rights of the people. The APC as a political party is likely to crumble under the weight of its illegality, both at Buhari's end and locally in Imo State.
When we voted for “Change” we did not envisage a plummet down the declivity of neglect and abrasion of the Nation's Supreme Law. He that creates a monster should know how to tame it.
Written by Emeka Uzo.