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Nigeria's Greatest Flaw

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What is the problem of Nigeria? I ask assuming we both agree that Nigeria is not where it should be in the comity of nations, and nation spaces, as the grammarian from the Rock City would rather say. The giant of Africa, the land of milk and honey, the haven of opportunities, is definitely not the Nigeria of today. Believe it or not, we are a long way from home, we have drifted, we are lost, and unless and until we find our problem, we shall not find our bearing. And from the look of things, that will not be any time soon. Unless...

We are where we are, dying, stinking, wasted, not only because our colonial masters set us on the wrong foot, orchestrating a nation that was bound to fail, as they did in other places, cf Rwanda; we are falling, our oleaginous economy unsustainable, our Naira once touted to be the standard for African trade now deregulated, the integrity of our perimeter threatened as insurgency is yet unsurmounted, because we have an undiagnosed threat: NASS.

If you believe that our problem is corruption in unthinkable places; if you believe that our Constitution as a secular state is inadequate, antique, and religiously skewed; if you believe that our judicial process is unpardonably slow; if you believe that our law enforcement is nonexistent beyond bribery, Mbunity, and executive misappropriation; if you believe that our executive is not accountable, executing minuscule projects at exorbitant prices; if you believe that our legislature is outright irresponsible, scaling fences in the bid to secure their paunches; then you agree with me that our problem is NASS.

Take corruption. What happened to Oduahgate? What happened to the $20b unremitted NNPC funds that SLS was calling attention to before what we know happened happened? What happened to our subsidies? Police pensions of yesteryears, nkó? Are the investigations yet alive? Where are the reports? I bet they are gathering dust somewhere beneath schemes to appropriate more subventions to our sacred parasites now themselves agitating for immunity while mourning the Executive's misuse of same...

It would indeed seem to the attentive mind that the true intent and purpose of NASS behind-doors interventions in corruption matters is not farfetched: sharing the loot! Otherwise, NASS, being representatives of the people would not keep from them live transmissions of these probes; otherwise, the matter would not be dead on arrival, and thrown under the carpet; otherwise, there would be reportable results...

But then, how does one expect NASS to be anti-corruption when their salaries are themselves corrupt? when they would rather starve Nigerians of subsidies that shrink their own bogus allowances? when they only serve themselves: their interests, their pockets, their election as governors of their home States, or perpetual election as Representatives? Why, I ask, is there not term limits for them?- David Mark, for one, has definitely become a veteran, yet the battlefront in the Northeast is devoid of their esteemed veteran selves or presence...

Take our Constitution, the most supreme book of laws on our affairs as a country, and as citizens. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a supposedly secular, non-Islamic, State mentions "Sharia" seventy-three times, "Islam" twenty-eight times, "Grand Kadi" fifty-four times, "Muslim" ten times... Of course, there is NO single mention of "Christ", "Christian", "Christianity", "Church". So, is the Constitution fair in itself? Please answer!

Yes, the Constitution is supreme and binding on all and sundry, and unfair, even as it guarantees the freedom of religion on the one hand, and equity on the other... To be sure, the Constitution opens thus:
"This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed... except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution."

Yet, we have a Constitution that is not harsh on corruption, arguably the most basic of our problems, of course, outside our Constitution and our National Assembly, if indeed we still have the latter, of some sorts. We have a Constitution that does not compel officeholders to perform, to execute worthwhile projects and leave behind sustainable policies. We have a Constitution that does not stipulate a national development plan and consequently leaves us at the mercy of the officeholder, inadvertently allowing abandonment and wasteful repetition of projects, oftentimes white elephants themselves. We have a Constitution that is weak on adherence:

Section 185: "A person elected to the office of the governor of a state shall not begin to perform the functions of that until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in the Constitution and has SUBSEQUENTLY taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office..." (Capitals mine) How many governors declare their assets these days? Please answer!

Whose duty is it to make laws, to amend the Constitution, to strengthen the Constitution? Your guess is as good as mine!

Ayk Fowosire (c/o #Ayk_EDIT)

Unless, and until, we have a National Assembly that can bear its own weight, that is worth its weight in gold, and is not being deregulated Naira-wise; that is not the embodiment of stomach infrastructure, only speaking for itself, agitating for the incremental transmutation of its status and powers, immunity-wise; and conscientious enough to starve itself as it ratifies the removal of our subsidies; we shall remain the delusional giant of Africa, the abortion, the prime child that never got to be...

We shall remain in a stalemate, my people suffering more and more, and clamouring to the heavenlies when indeed they should reclaim whatever sovereignty NASS has vested in itself for its selfish rather than selfless existence, and reconstitute the formula to keep the Executive on its toes, as any genuine NASS would...

And Obasanjo, however hypocritical he sounds, will have been right once again.

Lastly, if there is any response I expect to this expression of opinion, it will not be senile vindictiveness, harassment, and impunity, as one would indeed expect in this Nigeria of scaling fences; it will be elderly attention and concession, youthful conscientiousness, and agile change– palpable, and positive. After all, wisdom cometh from behind; èhìn l'ogbón tií wá...

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire