Tuesday Platform

August 27, 2013

Will President Jonathan address the challenge of legitimacy in Africa?

Will President Jonathan address the challenge of legitimacy in Africa?

Gorgeous South African fans

By John Amoda
JUST as the most stable form of the state is an empire so the most sustainable system of rulership for a people that have been enslaved or colonised is a republic and their most legitimate form of government is a democracy.

Why? An empire is that state form that survives efforts to conquer it; that defeats revolutionarists; and prevents secessions, that is, the fragmentation of its rulership; and that assimilates its opponents and rivals. That is why there are very few empires and why the few lasts for long time before their fragmentation sets in.

Enslavement results from conquest; a kingdom conquered like Judah was conquered by the Babylonians are carried off and reduced to slaves in the land of their captivity. The enslavers reduces all its conquered into subjects.

The pre-enslavement class differences amongst the enslaved are destroyed- enslaved kings are made the political equals of their former subjects and slaves. Enslavement makes all slaves equal before their masters. Ditto a sovereign monarchical people conquered and colonised are transformed into a class of subjects.

Therefore against the backdrop of enslavement and colonisation, the emancipated and decolonised transit from their subjecthood as equals in emancipation and decolonization. This is the logic of the political change from slaves to sovereigns, from colonised to sovereigns.

Enslavement and colonisation destroy all antecedent class differences. PresidentBarack Obama confirms the reality of these propositions with reference to the Founding Fathers of the American Republic in this passage in his Second Inaugural Address.

“The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed”.

Though patriots may seek to institute a new class order opposed to that of the republic, the new order cannot count on traditions of legitimacy emanating from their colonial subjecthood.

Thus, it is that African post colonial orders that are not republican and democratic have established their new post colonial order on contrived grounds of authority and are characterised by conflicts over their legitimacy.

It is from this political historical perspective that we have urged upon President Jonathan to change the terms of discourse of the Nigerian Reform Agenda

Incumbency is not enough: it is necessary but not sufficient to drive the Reform Discourse. For visibility, viability and relevance the C-In-C must change the terms of discourse of the Nigerian Reform Agenda.

-He cannot be led by the Justice Uwais Committee- they can only make recommendations;

-He cannot be led by Prof. Atahiru Jega- He is a facilitator in the Reform process;

-The President must think strategically:

“Strategy is merely the word we give to the thought that goes into determining how we will prevail. However, strategies can be formulated that maximise the chance of delivering “good! New principles are required to change our path onto this ‘good’ path”. Ketan J. Patel. The Master Strategist: Power, Purpose and Principle.

Time is an obvious constraint. Exclusive attention to Administration will render the Head of State and Head of Party invisible.

There is need for the C-In-C to strategically preside over the affairs of the Nigerian state and to do this the President must effect a change of the framework of the current political discourse in order to effect a change in how the President is perceived both nationally and internationally.

The theme that can change the framework of the present Transformation Agenda simply stated is: “Now Is The Moment To Lay the Foundations of Nigerian Republ1can Democracy.

An aide-memoire to jump start this change is the Presidential Address of Professor J. M Amoda at the 15rh Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association held at the University of Ibadan from June 25 to July 1st 1988 titled: General Danjuma and the Nigerian Republic.

General T. Y Danjuma’s observation that there is yet to be a government in Nigeria that the people can defend is the thesis addressed in that Presidential Address.

We propose that President Jonathan Goodluck make as his Agenda for the present and the future the laying of the foundation on which can be instituted The Government That Can Be Defended By The People of Nigeria- A Democratic Republican Government.

The following quote from the 1988 address serves an Executive Summary of the 7½ Page Address.

“If we are to truthfully confront the history of our existence as an independent national society, we cannot escape the implications of the fact that under the present conjunction of forces and interests that a planning of alternate futures for Nigeria must begin with an acknowledgement of the place of the Nigerian Military in our political process.

This is all the more important because we have presented ourselves to the world and its comity of nations as a Republic. The preponderance of the Military in our politics therefore brings to the fore its relationship to the Republic.

We often forget that the opposite of the Military in any Republic is not the Civilians or Politicians; that Military Rule in a Republic is not the opposite of Civilian Rule by politicians. The dominance of the Military in a Republic implies the collapse and or underdevelopment of Republican institutions.