In Nigeria...It Is Not Lack Of Laws

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By Arinze Alinnor A.
Have you imagined life without laws? I guess everything would have been chaotic without laws. It is said that life unexamined is not worth living. Laws to a reasonable extent make it easy for life to be examined. If there were no guiding rules which control organizations, their activities, and the society generally, disorder would be prevalent. Laws therefore form the basic part of what is holding us together globally as a people.

I used to think that chaotic situations emanated from lack of laws but I realized it was not for lack of laws but lack of implementation of the already existing ones. I looked around our nation and got to know this, because if we are able as a people to implement and abide by all the already existing laws there would be relatively no need for the law enforcement agents. Many are still clamouring for more laws but I do not think our problems are more laws but ability to abide and implement the ones already on ground.

Whenever I hear about or look at laws, my mind is always on the symbol of justice. I used to call for reforms of our laws looking critically at the symbol of justice. The symbol of justice depicts balance, equity, truth and fairness. But it does not depict same in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the law makers and the law enforcement agents are above the law; the people are meant to obey the laws and they remain binding on the people. Our laws seem to favour those who are well to do or money bags. The people who are behind bars for minor offences far out number those who have committed grievious offences against the polity. One of my friends said that the fact remains that the politics of Nigeria consists of men and women who ought to be behind bars but are walking free not because of lack of laws but for lack of implementation and total adherence to the rule of law.

What do we tell a 'serving' governor who 'made' the law that his subjects should all register their cars but have unregistered cars in his convoy? Is it as a result of lack of laws? What do we say of political aides who turn trained policemen into house helps? What of politicians who use and abuse siren inspite of laws that bans the use and abuse? The officers of F.R.S.C and the Police do arrest, seize, or prosecute all motorcycle riders who fail to wear crash helmets. But take a look around town and you would see policemen, air-force men, army men and all manner of law enforcement agents riding motorcycles personally or while discharging their duties without crash helmets. They are either playing to be above the law or proving that the laws are afraid of them. Many law makers and law enforcement agents drive against traffic and even force law abiding citizens to make way for them to pass because they are more important than the people.

Now I know why Fela Anikulapo Kuti described them as V.I.P (Vagabonds In Power). Vagabonds do exhibit total disregard for the rule of law. So our major problem is having men at the top who believe that the laws of the land are not binding on them. I realized from John Maxwell that the genuine leaders do not raise followers but raise leaders, and their lives are like bill boards or sign posts. We do not lack laws, we only lack leaders. Looking critically at the laws of leadership and the principle of the lid, we should not be in doubt why the people in Nigeria think and behave the way they do. Occupying a post in the polity should only make you a servant to the people and not the boss. Wearing a uniform should not make you above the law, after all Fela Anikulapo Kuti said that “uniform na cloth na tailor dey sew am”. After reading a book on children psychology, I realized why it is difficult to force people into things. Kids do more often what they see you do than what you say. Government and their agencies should stop talking too much or holding blackboard and chalk seminars and get down to real business. Do what you want or expect the citizens to do. Play by the rules. Obey the laws, and the people would align without much effort. Nigeria would be great again!

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