WHY NIGERIA WON'T DIE â€“SAN
Why Nigeria won't die -SAN
From HENRY CHUKWURAH, Port Harcourt
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The rife fear of possible disintegration of Nigeria has been described as a baseless imagination of those who are ignorant of the nation's political antecedents. According to a Port Harcourt-based lawyer and author, Mr. Sebastine Hon (SAN), past political experiences and nature had proved the prophets of disintegration wrong.
The senior advocate told Daily Sun in an interview that having survived 30 grueling months of civil war, it is near impossible for Nigeria to break up now, adding that the greatness of the nation lies in her size.
'Nigeria will not disintegrate. If we could survive 30 months of grueling, crushing civil war and come back together as a nation, there is no extenuating situation now that will make us disintegrate. God that put us together will not watch us divided and say, 'to your tents O Israel'. It cannot happen in this country.
'Besides, I believe that our greatness lies in our size. If we break away and everybody goes, we become small banana Islands and even within those political cleavages, what assurance are we going to have that there will be no political imbroglios going on, no political suppression of others, no political problems?
'So, it is better for us to put our acts together, sit up as a nation and say, 'No'. It has happened in many countries. So we can also say 'No' and we will stand by it and it will work. Thank God, the judiciary is the last hope and it is living up to that. If the trend continues, there will be some positive changes.
'The judiciary restored elections in Rivers, Edo, Ondo and in some other places and in those other places, the opposition is also coming up meaningfully. So, I believe that in the next dispensation, they will be bolder in doing what is just and fair. There is hope; there is light at the end of the tunnel.'
The Senior Advocate insisted that the nation's problems hinge on leadership and harped on the need for Nigerians to vote for and enthrone good leaders in future elections. 'The problem of Nigeria is leadership. Let us stand up and vote-in good leaders. People should not shy away from politics. Let them come up so that Nigerians will be able to vote for good leaders and then we would be better for it.
'As I said, it is not about religion. What happened during Abiola's time? It was a Muslim/Muslim ticket but Nigerians came out and voted and defended their votes. So, why can't we have a repeat, a rehash of such a situation? Nigeria will not disintegrate,' Mr. Hon said. Citing the Lagos State example, he said it was possible to discourage rigging and ensure that truly elected leaders emerge.
'Why was it difficult for PDP to win Lagos State? It was because people came out to vote and defend their votes. So, every other Nigerian in other states should do the same. I don't have anything against PDP. I am not a politician but I believe that the right thing should be done at the right time so that even if it is the AC rigging, you stop the AC; if it is PDP rigging, you stop the PDP. If they cannot be stopped, the judiciary at least, has shown that they can stand up to some occasions like that.
'Gradually, we will win. I am not asking anybody to take up arms but you see when you come out en-mass and even when compromised military men see you, it will be difficult for them to manipulate. When thugs see you, it is difficult for them to manipulate because the people that are coming out are their fathers, parents, elders, brothers and sisters within the same community.
'You cannot go and bring thugs from Ondo to come and rig in Rivers or Benue State. It is not possible. So, the local people, the local content must be able to defend their votes. Come out and vote. Nobody is saying party 'A' is good and party 'B' is bad but then, let the people elected come out to be the people truly elected or declared elected by the INEC.'
Mr. Hon warned that mass poverty in the country would remain as long as Nigerians worship money and the rich instead of ascertaining the source of wealth. 'Let me tell you, Nigerians worship money and that is another basic problem with this country. The pauper will walk into government as a public officer and after two months, will come out as a super-rich man then, every morning, you see Nigerians kneeling at his doorsteps worshipping him.
'They will invite him for chieftaincy titles here and there and give him honorary degree here and there. Nobody is asking how he came about that wealth. Some generals since they were born, they never had any other job apart from being army officers. Today, they are super rich and nobody asks them about the source. Some politicians were so poor they could not even stay in one-room apartment. Today, they are billionaires and nobody is querying them and we worship them.'
Hon urged Nigerians to change their way of life and dump the 'culture of money worship.'
Also, he would want to see anti-graft bodies like the EFCC, the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau strengthened while special courts should be set up to try corrupt public officers.
Mr. Hon, an author of many law books also called for the creation of independent prosecutors in the country, 'so that the burden on the government will be reduced,' while existing international agreements on corruption and looted funds should be strengthened.