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Nigeria’s complex problems: Matter for a revolution of Ideas

By Adias Adeleye
THERE is no doubt that the last two weeks belonged to the usual patience of the Nigerian people and perhaps, the consistent goodluck of the acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan in preventing what could be regarded as unnecessary constitutional crisis.

President Umaru Yar‘Adua was reported to have arrived in Nigeria from Saudi Arabia in complete secrecy at the dark hours of the night without the usual but necessary welcome party by the privileged Nigerians.  The presence of a detachment of Nigerian soldiers at the airport to receive the ailing president is still being investigated to ascertain its credibility.

Certainly, if the report is true that no official of the government, including the acting president, has seen the president since his arrival, something is definitely wrong within the polity.  It is highly improbable (except that it is happening) that the President of a Country, whose office is kept by public funds, would be hidden from his people under any circumstance.

Does access to the ailing President who needs the sympathy and care (if necessary) of the government and people need any parliamentary resolution?  If it is so, it becomes absolute necessary for such a resolution to be quickly passed to ensure sanity and peace.  This includes all other constitutional steps to make the acting position of President Jonathan legal and constitutional.

It is a pity that the incipient constitutional crisis caused and fuelled by the ruling party might be a distraction to cover a major failure in party organization and discipline.  In every civilized environment and especially under a parliamentary system of government as practiced in Britain (our past colonial master), the deputy succeeds the leader under any unforeseen circumstances until the crisis is over and a new leadership emerges.

The present ruling party (PDP) owes this nation an unreserved apology for allowing its ineptitude in political management to affect the smooth administrative hand_over at such a critical moment in the country‘s political experiment.

At the moment what is needed is the realization of the fact that the government operates under the Rule of Law and that the country is operating a federal system of government which recognizes the rights and responsibilities of every part of the federation.

It is true that under the present constitution of the country, all citizens are equal under the Law, and that no Nigerian is greater than the Law irrespective of his state, tribe or religious inclination.  It is up to the ruling party to ensure that the hand-over of the ailing president is  proper and other necessary action is taken to ensure peace and political stability.

It is commendable that President Jonathan in his acting capacity has been able to demonstrate great courage in the midst of turbulence amongst friends and foes in his cabinet and party.  It becomes a charge on his strength to devise means of silencing his critics and rallying his friends to emerge as a strong Leader which the moment demands.

The country is lucky that the Western Powers are with us to avoid tensions associated with constitutional crisis caused by political immaturity and ethnicity..

The powers have their own selfish interests to protect in a thriving economy.  It is also a case of gratitude to the officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces who have been loyal to the oath of allegiance to the constitution.  Their duty to defend the constitution and not interfering in constitutional crisis is appreciable.  God bless them.

In his many attempts to defend the concepts of democracy and pilot the ship of the state safely through the stormy waters, President (acting)  has set up an advisory body of eminent Nigerians (PAC) to advise him on specific subjects.

The Presidential Advisory Council is to ‘provide alternative inputs into policy formulation, promote good governance in the areas of power, economy, security, infrastructure, social sector, the electoral process, and the fight against corruption among others‘.

Without being unduly pessimistic, I would advise  on the ‘Ides of March‘. Unless all the members of the PAC are from the same party (disguised leaders), the formulation of alternative points to the present Yar‘Adua 7 Point Programme would be resisted within the cabinet.

Also, the time is too short for the Council to cover all the assignments given to it when it is not even sure that the acting President would be a member of the new government to be formed after elections in 2011.  Or is the acting President preparing election programme for his party in 2011 with the apparent failure of the ruling party in meeting the aspirations of many Nigerians?.

It would be in the interest of the acting President to concentrate on Power  _  generation and supply and Niger Delta  _  involvement of the people in all aspects of the oil and gas produced in their areas.  Luckily, power depends on gas oil and energy is associated also with all products derived from Niger Delta where Dr Jonathan is a prominent citizen.

In the art of governance, there may be patches of bad luck on the road;  it may not always be an era of goodluck for Dr Goodluck Jonathan.  There are tools on the ground  _  Eminent Elders, Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and the recently constituted group (PAC) and other patriotic associations.  If President Jonathan (acting) could convey a Conference where all known problems, including structure of the country, Decentralisation of the Police, etc would be discussed for continued political unity and economic prosperity, he would have achieved much.


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