By Clifford Ndujihe
DEPUTY Leader of the Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILOT, Professor Chiweyite Ejike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to take good counsel, no matter the quarter it comes from to save Nigeria from going under.
A professor of Zoology, Ejike, 83, and former vice-chancellor of the Anambra State University of Science and Technology, expressed worries that ‘’if bad governance persists and remedial changes remain a receding goal, if not an outright mirage, then no one can hold back the growing choruses for resignations, restructuring, or what would be a disaster, the end of the project Nigeria.’’
Commenting on legal icon, Professor Ben Nwabueze’s new book: “President Buhari s Distinctive Legacies to Nigeria,” he described the book as Nwabueze’s ‘’unending series of heroic efforts to offer intellectual direction to the struggle against all odds to build a united and prosperous Nigeria as a democratic State, governed under the rule of law. This has been, by his own characterization, his “consuming passion” which he has steadfastly and robustly pursued through many of his interventions in the core subjects of our national conversation. Many serious observers of the Nigerian political scene over the past several decades would vouch for Prof. Ben Nwabueze’s prodigious and penetrating analyses and unassailable legal insights into the search for a befitting constitutional framework for Nigeria.’’
He regretted that ‘’despite the rigour and the authenticity of Prof. Nwabueze’s presentations and his untainted credibility as an iconic expert of constitutional law, Nigerians have failed to avail themselves of his extraordinary talent and capacities which would have helped greatly in tackling the myriads of challenges that have bedevilled the Nigerian State in our efforts to create an enduring modern nation.’’
Quoting Nwabueze, he said: “Our beloved country, Nigeria, is today going through the pangs of death, and needs to be saved. The principles and institutions of government – particularly the Rule of Law and Justice – are withering and are in need of restoration. Democratic rule, that is to say, rule of the people by the people, is being emasculated and is in need of sustenance and revitalisation. Freedom is being trampled upon, and needs to be unchained. The instruments of peace, order and security are in a state of malfunction, featuring killings, and displacement of persons, kidnappings, banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and other acts of criminality, and need reactivation. The moral and ethical foundations of the state are decaying and need to have fresh life breathed into them.
Our lives have been greatly impoverished, with poverty, hunger, hardship and misery now the lot of millions of people, and need revival.
‘’In short, nothing is working, yet the country must be made to work. To get the country to work again, as it did before 2016, requires a radical change in the political, social and economic system, irrespective of how the change is brought about, whether by peaceful or violent means. Such radical change is what is known, in common parlance, as a revolution.”
Reviewing the book, he said the distinctive legacies of President Buhari include: ‘’Intolerable depression in the life of the people, existential threats posed by frequent mass murder of Nigerians in their home communities by armed Fulani herdsmen accompanied by destruction of homes, farms, livestocks displacement of a whole community who now manage to exist in utterly miserable conditions in camps for internally displaced persons; the scourge of economic recession and inflation that have transformed Nigeria into the poverty capital of the world since 2018; unparalleled state of insecurity of life and property evident in an array of criminality – kidnapping for ransom, rural and urban banditry, senseless killings of citizens by ethnic bigots and religious jihadists featuring the dreaded Boko Haram and other killer groups. All told, the conclusion was drawn that Nigeria is currently a state under siege.’’
Going forward, Ejike said ‘’although President Buhari by his antecedents may not be predisposed to lead a mass movement for a national transformation which is implicit in Prof. Nwabueze’s long-running presentations and exhortations, it is still possible for him to transform to a popular national leader. President Buhari would be advised to embark on the task of becoming a people’s President with a sacred mandate to create a single nationality out of the chaos which Nigeria, today, would appear to represent.
President Buhari may be missing the opportunity, right now, to convey hope to Nigeria and to create confidence and trust of people in him as an authentic National Leader ‘who belongs to nobody but belongs to everybody.’
Once the confidence of the people regarding the nature and intentions of President Buhari catches on, and if he is able to convey sufficient hope in the people for a better tomorrow for our people, the President would be transformed into a revolutionary leader. Thereafter, Nigerians would stop thinking of him as ‘a Fulani leader wanting to rule Nigeria.’ From then on, the nation might commence the much anticipated change that would translate into a historic march to redeem our national, continental and global destinies. The odds against such a development are huge!’’