Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ten Visible Signs of a Failing State

© 2017 March Oyinki
Throughout the whole world, some countries have proven their superiority over others by their ability to provide for their citizens the necessities of life and develop military capability to protect their sovereignty. The greatest nations of the world are those that have heightened potentials to ensure that their citizens live a comfortable lifestyle, avert hunger, sickness and eradicate illiteracy.

Technological advancement and military capabilities are salient qualities associated with such great countries. Some of them are so self-sufficient and advance in all the various aspects of life that they are categorized as super powers, developed countries and are recognized as economic giants of the world. The United States, Chine, Russia, France, Germany, Israel and a few others fall into this category.

These advanced countries have all put the welfare of their citizens as priority. They have made so much provision for their citizens, so much that they have become the ideal place where people from other less progressive countries around the world that never mismanaged their resources, particularly third world countries to refuge in other more successful countries.

While the advance countries have achieved near excellence in improving their living standards, the under-developed countries, even those with enormous resources, both human and natural, have continue to dwindle and deteriorate, while many degenerates into civil disobedience, revolt and war. Many countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia fall into this category, and they all face a common type of identifiable problem. There are many signs and ways to identify these countries which can be easily classified as failing States.

1.   Poverty: 

Visible poverty in the land, even where there is abundant resources that can be used to change the fortune and improve the living of the people.

2.   Corruption:

Poor accountability. Government officials misappropriate and embezzle public funds without any recourse of the consequences and impact it will have on the larger society.

3.   Lawlessness: 

The government flaunt court orders, engage in extra-judicial killings of public figures who are opposition by the State security apparatus. Manipulation of the rule of law by the judiciary to favour rich criminals both in government and the public.

4.   Poor Infrastructure:

There is inadequate or a complete absence of basic infrastructure such as water, power, health care services, schools, motorable roads and others. Moneys earmarked for projects are diverted, misappropriated and sometimes, out rightly embezzled.

5.   High Unemployment Rate:

The rate of unemployment is seldom very high. Young graduates can hardly find a well-paying job. Both the government and private sectors are not employing despite the massive turnout of graduate from the universities.

6.   Diseases:

The absence of adequate medical facilities exposes the citizenry to diseases. Poor sanitation caused by poor refuse disposal systems and lack of public lavatories make people to defecate in open spaces, and thereby spreading bacteria which leads to outbreak of infectious diseases.

7.   Weak Electoral System:

High prevalence of shoddy electoral systems and the conduct of primaries into political offices that lacks credibility or any iota of transparency; a system that is usually hijacked by political big wigs and manipulated to bring in their favourite candidates, who are often unpopular.

8.   Dysfunctional National Assembly:

Gross insensitivity is displayed by the national assembly, oblivious of the yarning’s of the peo0le that voted them into office. The existence of national assembly that rarely passes laws that are of any immediate benefit to most of the people, and even when they attempt to do so, it takes forever, sometimes, barely passing through fist reading, whereas, if it a law that will benefit the house itself, it is quickly passed.

9.   High Crime Rate:

Inadequate policing of the society gives room to heightened criminal activities. There are very few police officers in the force, and the small number that is available are either assigned to political office holders and top government functionaries or are posted to mount road blocks on highways and remote parts of the cities where they usually extort money from motorists.

10.   Absence of the President:

When the president of a country spends more time galivanting all over the world in the guise of official trips or medical leave, thereby leaving the country without a real head who is supposed to spend most of his time attending to all the different issues that need to be addressed in the country.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Bad Economy Forces Nigerian Middle Class to Migrate

© 2017 March Oyinki
There is the emergence of a very disturbing trend among the Nigeria middle class, whereby so many people, who are among the working class average age educated population. In the last couple of months, I have met several people, who I can categorize averagely, as ‘well-to-do’ individuals, most of whom not only have gainful employment, but also have grown in the hierarchy in their various workplaces to managerial positions.

These people are not the ordinary folks who just graduated and are carrying about the CVs, looking for employment; most of these people have their own properties and have more than one car with families too. They are those you can describe as responsible people, who have apparently, been frustrated by the economic downturn, and are desperately looking to migrate outside the shores of Nigeria.

I recently met a fellow, who is an acquaintance of mine, and he wanted to put up his house for sale, so, he could raise enough money to move his entire family to United States. To my amazement, the reason he gave was that, times are just too hard, and he could no longer cope with the situation in the country anymore, because, his monthly pay checks can no longer pay his bills.

Again, I also met another friend of mine, who is a manager of a branch of one of the top Banks in Lagos just a few days ago; and he was lamenting about how the economy is biting so hard, and that it is telling on him seriously. He said if things remain as it is for much longer, he might just pack his bag and leave the country.

This trend is becoming worrisome because of the caliber of people involved and the high numbers that are looking to migrate to other countries, mostly to the United States and UK; and I am particularly bothered because, I feel the same way sometimes, but unlike these people, migrating has never been an option for me. Truly speaking, the economy is biting so hard and the little salary that comes at the end of the month can barely last more than a week.

It is in the midst of these economic challenges that parents find themselves continually struggling to pay exorbitant fees that private schools charges, as well as house rents, and still set aside money for housekeep. This situation is the same in all households, except those of politicians and top government officials, who live in affluence, with an average National Assembly member earning close of N40 million as salary monthly, in addition, they take home fat allowances and expensive car gifts.

While doing everything possible to ensure their comfort in the shortest possible time, they roll out a purported ubiquitous long-term plan that they claim will change the lives of the rest of the people of the country in the year 2020 or some ridiculous timeline in the future. They set aside billions of Naira in the budget every year to facilitate the execution of this fictitious plan of theirs, which 57 years down the line, has never succeeded in producing any meaningful result.

Certainly, the politicians are taking good care of themselves, and they ensure that they receive their salary checks and allowances unfailingly every month, while on the other hand, the poor civil servants who stay without salary for many months because the government claim funds are not available. The situation in the country is critical; inadvertently, the politicians are destroying this country unknowingly.

Urgent Recommendations

One Nigeria Group seize this opportunity to call on the government to introduce immediate short-term measures that will provide instant relief for many Nigerian families that are suffering under the economic downturn. These measures, firstly, should address the urgent food shortages in the country, even if the government has to import food. Secondly, both the primary and secondary education sectors require urgent revamping, so that the high cost of education that places parents under immense financial constrain is ameliorated. Thirdly, the primary health sector must undergo urgent rehabilitation, medicines made available as well as qualified doctors to manage the facilities.

Knowing that upgrading both the education and health sectors without commensurate arrangement to ensure that they receive their salaries regularly, the whole effort is bound to fail. These measures must take effect urgently, at least within the next six months to introduce the required relief to the Nigerian people. Afterwards, when the government have successfully implemented these measures, they can now continue with their long-term strategic objectives.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Drum Beat: Why it is Urgent to Restructure

© Channels TV
Can we be sincere to ourselves? If yes, then let us ask a few frantic questions and genuinely, with open mind, answer them truthfully. Have our leaders been fair to the citizens? Are there signs that they are working to better the lives of the people? Have the government managed our resources reasonably? Would we be better off if we establish processes to curtail excessive access to public funds and entrench accountability?

These are my answers to the questions, firstly, no our leaders have not been fair to the citizens. Secondly, they have done nothing to show they have the people at heart. Thirdly, they have shamelessly mismanaged our resources; and finally, if we introduce financial discipline and accountability in the management of resources, we would be better off.

If you truly believe my answers are wrong, please I would like you to write a rejoinder and provide reasons why you think otherwise. We need to take drastic measures to improve the way Nigerians run the country. We need to introduce effective business-like management structures, prudence and accountability and performance oriented systems.

Let us take Nigeria to a small business enterprise, a joint-venture partnership with several directors of equal stake, but the chairman and board members freely make withdrawals from the company’s account to settle personal expenses and earn remunerations that are bogus and beyond affordable levels. Meanwhile, as they drain the company of its finances, they fail to pay the salaries of the workers on whose dedication the company’s survival depends on.

The future of such a company is predictably bankruptcy, and to revive such an enterprise, new funds injected, and board will undergo major restructuring and processes to ensure non-reoccurrence of the negligence of the past are put in place. This paints a picture of the situation we find ourselves in the country.

To bring us back to the path of recovery, we must restructure the way the country is governed, and it must start by improving the processes of governance. There must be accountability for every money disbursed. That is what we mean by restructuring. A situation where the managers of the economy refuse to accept process improvement is sufficient evidence of foul play, and a deliberate attempt to undermine the wishes of the people.

What is Restructuring?

Restructuring simple means organize differently; rearrange, reform, reshuffle, shakeup and improve a process to strengthen and make it operate more efficiently. Investopedia defined restructuring as a type of corporate action taken when modifying the debt, operations or structure of a company as a means of potentially eliminating financial harm and improving the business. also described restructuring as bringing about a drastic or fundamental internal change that alters the relationships between different components or elements of an organization or system. After answering the questions in the first paragraph above, and looking at the definition of restructuring, it connotes positivity and there is nothing consequential or requiring a show of extreme concern by a section of the society.

If we must judge the performance of all the previous administrations based on the humongous amount of money the government have squandered in the last 50 years, it only makes sense that we take urgent measures to improve the structure of government, because this country has produced one of the most indolence of leaders in human history.

The problem of Nigeria is not about the inadequacy of plan, but dearth of will power. The Elites will not support any effort to level the playing field, because selfishly, they assume that it will reduce their access to public funds. There are many issues trying to tear the country apart. In the political sphere, politicians are throwing spanners into the processes, so that they can have their way during elections.

Politicians have been known to stall all effort aimed at introducing a workable electoral process. The electronics voters’ card is a typical example. These political demagogues are preventing even distribution of the cards, ensuring the spread is skewed only to areas that will guaranty their victory; the last presidential election was a typical example.

The present systems condone willful plunging of public funds by government officials without recourse or accountability to the State. Year after year, monies are disbursed to various ministries and agencies to carry embark on capital projects, and each time, such monies have been misappropriated and diverted to private pockets; and the midst of all this, the government keep disbursing additional funds to these agencies, which makes it appears as if the government is condoning corruption.

The budgeting process must undergo restructuring to allow for accountability. Whenever monies are disbursed for a project in a year, and if by the new budget year the projects are abandoned or unimplemented, further release of funds should be stopped. The people must be responsible to the State and they must be accountable to the people, vis-à-vice. 

For many decades, the federal government have managed the proceeds from the mineral resources in such a shoddy and shameful manner. We have tested the present revenue sharing formulae, where the federal have control over our mineral resources for many decades and distribute the revenues accruing from it to the State. Apparently, this structure has failed.

Can we introduce a reform of the current process and make it work? The States have control over land and the shoreline of the boundaries, why then are the minerals on the same land not in the custody. Since the federal government have failed to manage our oil revenue effectively for half a century, why cannot we hand over to the States and let them contribute to the federal purse.

At the same time, we must create a system that will prevent governors from having absolute access and authority to squander funds accruing to them from mineral resources in the different States. Any aspect of the Nigerian society that is found inadequate, must be reformed and new processes put in place to stop the apparent lack of accountability by senior executives in all the three-tier of government.

Restructuring will help sanitize the country and make the people truly believe in the State and begin to work together to develop the nation, and enjoy the fruits resulting from the tranquility and progress. The present system where the elite are living in affluence and the masses find it difficult to have a meal a day, has to change.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Colonial Masters Structured Nigeria to Disintegrate

Tafawa Balewa and Nnamdi Azikiwe
Nigerians are very resilient people, because we have remained united against all odds. The structures that provided the foundation under which the country is operating are not working. Democracy as practiced in Nigeria, is not working, the Nigerian constitution is obsolete and dysfunctional. The federal system of government is not working and even the political structures such as the electoral system and primaries, which are supposed to produce a consensus and credible candidates, have been ‘high-jacked,’ by political demagogues. All the structures of governance have failed the Nigerian public, and nothing good has come out of these systems since their introduction.

The poor results are evident in the heightened agitations by all regional groupings for restructuring of the country. Nigerians cannot remain as one entity, if the present structures continue. The government of all the past administrations have failed the Nigeria people. Every fiscal year, the Senate approves budgets amounting to trillions of Naira, and most of it ends us as cost of running government. A large chunk also goes to defense, security votes, and constituency projects. Education, health, energy receives a paltry amount, which never gets to be used for the purposes they were meant.

Accountability by government itself is dismal, creating an environment where State governors, heads of parastatals and government agencies have access to billions of Naira, which are supposed to be for development projects, but are misappropriated and ending up in their personal accounts, without detection and this goes on continually for years. Both the Federal and State Auditor General offices are mere redundant portfolios and a waste of Nigeria taxpayer’s money.

The paradox of ‘one indivisible Nigeria’ that has become a rythorics and a mere dream of the elites who are exploiting the porous systems to their selfish gain. The way the country is been governed so far, has not produced the expected results over many decades. Successive governments have neglected the Nigerian people, who have endured perpetual hardship caused by inflation such as unemployment, terrible energy crisis, bad intra-city and interstate roads, non-existent medical infrastructure, poor public education that have left parents at the caprice of private school owners. Sadly, after such travail by parents, who spend enormous amounts of money to train their children, who end up without a job after graduation.

The insensitivity of government is embarrassing, as they do not in the slightest form show any consideration to the plight of the Nigerian children by providing a little solace, and supporting parents by making provisions for at least, affordable Medicare and schools. The present burden on parents is overwhelming as they still sacrifice part of their meager monthly income as tax to the same government that cannot account for the revenues they have generated from mineral resources for the past five decades or more.

Nigeria is a country of 180 million people, endowed with many natural mineral resources including many rich oil fields. The country has a large intellectual community in almost every field of human endeavour. Its rich cultural diversity is quite enviable. A country that fought and won a struggle for independence from the British colonial masters, with great hope for prosperity. The new Nigeria gave us hope and every young child had a dream that one day soon, he or she will become leaders of this great country. Today, the Nigerian child is in a slumber with their dreams turned into nightmares.

When did it started going wrong, if I may ask? This whole problem is traceable to 1960 when the colonial masters declared Nigeria an independence State. They handed over a country with under a unitary system of government that was in the hands of a few feudalist oligarchy, who saw the country as their domain and ruled the people with reckless abandon, usurping power and running the government from their dynasties. The political elites became power drunk and that led to the Agu Ironsi coup, which brought about the fall of the first republic.

Our leaders never learnt their lessons from the sad experiences of the fall of the first republic, and went on with the same elitist tendencies, which led to the collapse of the second republic in a coup plot that saw Yakubu Gowon became the Head of State at the age of twenty-five years. It was at this period that it now dawned on the government that the representation structure was loop-sided and that certain sections of the society were left out or under-represented, whose agitations led to the creation of twelve States in the country. Therefore, effectively jettisoned the regional structure that resulted in the collapse of the first republic.

This period also coincided with the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in then Rivers States and present Bayelsa State, by Shell Petroleum and the exploration of crude oil, which led to the boom in the early 70s. The regionalization of the country that has cost the country two successive republics, continued to rear its ugly head again even in the current democratic dispensation, as the ruling class continued to practice regionalism.

Most of Nigeria’s problems are a result of the regionalism tendencies of the ruling class, and there are existing structures even in the Nigeria constitution that still promotes such a system that is a recipe for chaos. What is the meaning of terms such as majority tribes, quota system, and rotational presidency? What is the role of Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohaneze, Afenifere, Ijaw Youths Council, Ipob and all other sectional and regional associations in the administration of the country?

These organizations are all bi-polar bodies promoting sectionalism and regional dichotomy. They usurp the role of government by presenting themselves as the voice and protector of their various tribesmen, and defend their regional interest. If this is their role, what then is the role of government? These are clear indications of division and evidence of the fact that the center is not strong enough to provide protection for the people, and are incapable of running the country.

The signs showing that the government has failed the Nigeria people are more visible today, than it has ever been, and such are the lack of accountability, inability to hold heads of departments and federal agencies accountable for misappropriation of funds and non-execution of projects. Also lack of capacity to prosecute criminal offenders against the State and lack of determination, of both the executive and legislature, to pass bills that will impact the lives of the citizens positively, are attestation of the this fact.

The elites who are beneficiaries of regionalization are the only ones who blinded by their greed, have failed to realize that the country is heading to yet another violent change. The tense situation in the country at present is very worrisome, because all the telltale signs that brought the downfall of the first and second republics are happening again, and the elites, in their usual manner, are saying everything is under control, even when they are not lifting a finger. That is what they always say, until the country boils over.

This is not the time for hesitation or self-centeredness, neither is it a time to call for national conference or setting up panels, because we have held several national conventions both public and in the national assembly that had proposed remediation propositions. We also setup several panels in the past that have made recommendations and produced white papers that ended up in the dusty archives rotting away.

Now is the time to prove that we love Nigeria. It is a time to jettison regionalism tendencies and act as one to overcome the present challenges that are threatening the peace and stability of the country. It is a time for all, especially the ruling class, to keep religion, tribal and partisan interest aside and come together as one, to support the government and encourage the national assembly to expedite a constitutional review process that will introduce new laws that will strengthen the weak aspects of our statutory books and the constitution.

To avert what appears to be an eminent disruption of the polity, the agitation by various socio-cultural organizations for a sovereign State of their own, should urgently considered by the National Assembly. The immediate review of the Treason law must include declaration of any sort by any regional or religious body for the secession of any part of the country or any declaration inciting the exit of a section of the citizens of Nigeria that is capable of disrupting public peace and causing violence should be culpable of treason.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Abrogation of Federal Character Decree, Mandatory

Nigerian National Assembly Complex, Abuja

In June 1994, the Abacha administration convened a National Constitutional Conference, and part of its recommendations was that a power sharing formula be introduced to allow equal participation of all the regions in government, and also that a Federal Character Commission (FCC) should be established to administer and promote equitable representation in all federal parastatals and agencies. Two years later, in 1996 the Abacha administration enacted Decree No. 34 establishing the Federal Character Commission empowering it under Section 4, Subsection 1c to prosecute heads of ministries and parastatals that violate these provisions.

“The Federal Character principle and the FCC are unavoidable necessities forced on Nigerian national life by the cleavages and inequalities that have scarred the nation.” - Abdul Raufu Mustapha, University of Oxford, 2007.

Twenty years after the FCC was created, some of its notable achievements are the introduction of mechanisms for non-violent resolution of ethnic and regional conflicts and developing a database of different conflict flash points in our national representation, therefore providing clear-cut statistics and analysis for their resolution. Can we then say that the commission has performed its role effectively? Have the issues that led to its creation in the first place, gone away? Is the Federal Character principle still applicable in modern day Nigeria?

These are pertinent questions that have answers that are not farfetched. For example. let us even take a cursory look at the Federal Unity Schools admission criteria, which is a product of the FCC. In Anambra State, the cut-off marks for Entrance to Federal Unity Schools are 139, whereas Imo and Enugu States are 138 and 134 points respectively. Moving northwards the criteria is visibly different and ridiculously low. The cut-off marks for Entrance to Federal Unity Schools for Kebbi State are: male (9) female (20); Zamfara, male (4) female (2) and Taraba, male (3) female (11).

The picture that is scenario has painted goes to show that it is criminal to make and raise a child in the East, because by design children born and raised in the North have been given undue advantage over their pairs in the East and a greater opportunity for them to become successful in life. You therefore, wonder if the Federal Character Initiative is still relevant, particularly, when you consider the present skewed federal appointments by President Buhari. The media is agog with reaction to the president’s pattern of appointment of bureaucratic officers.

In the first twelve months of the present administration, the president have made about thirty seven ministerial appointment and twenty six federal bureau chiefs, excluding permanent secretaries. Out of this number, only eighteen ministers are from the Southern States with States like Edo having none, while only 6 out of the twenty six appointed bureau chiefs are from the Southern States. Apparently, these inequalities in almost all aspects of our national lives have only succeeded in raising more questions and cast doubts in the minds of Nigeria about the efficacy of the Federal Character initiative.

 From one administration to another, depending on which part of the country the current president is from, people from all other parts of the country always come up with complaints of marginalization, a clear indication that the laws of Nigeria have not sufficiently addressed the issue of equity and fairness in the distribution of our resources and appointment into political offices. Senator Ben Murray Bruce called for the review of the ownership of oil blocks, and based his argument on the fact that people from the oil producing States are not given the opportunity to own oil blocks.

These discrepancies are enough to fuel violent agitation, such as those we are experience in the country at present. Peace and unity is illusive where there is no equity and fairness. In a recent article titled “Building a National Psyche, a Necessity,” publish in this blog, we extensively covered this subject and recommended ways to resolve some of the teething problems the country is currently passing through.

Democracy and the Rule of Law are instruments that have been tested and proven to bring about congeniality amongst people of various languages, cultures and traditions. The United States, Great Britain and France are ready examples. Nigeria practices democracy, but the Rule of Law open which democracy strives is absent, and until we agree to introduce equity and fairness in our national polity, we continue to go round in circles generation after generation trying to solve these basic difference without success. The playground has to made level for equal participation, peace and tranquility.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Building a National Psyche, a Necessity

A deliberate effort at building a strong national identity that will unify all the various tribes and regions have become imperative. Our national identity or what some call the ‘Nigerian Way’ forms an integral part of nation building. Consequent of which our national anthem, flag, traditions and culture are all part of an essential national value system. We cannot undermine the enormous influence of religion and foreign cultures on our lifestyle.

A convergence of our diversity to produce a virile and binding national value system that is supported by law and enshrined in our constitution will form a very solid base for the unification of Nigeria. Our country needs laws that will give her citizens power over tribe, culture, religious, tradition, political or any other affiliation; laws that will make every citizen of this country to be a proud Nigerian first, before any other thing. These laws will break all existing barriers and dogmas where people put tribe first before the nation. This will take absolute power away from the centre which empowers the President to make unilateral political decisions that favour more of his own people than it does with generality of the citizenry.

The dream of every Nigerian for a better country is attainable if and only if, power can be transferred to the citizens by enshrining in our constitution, laws that are targeted at resolving the various agitations from the difference regions and sections of our country.

The main challenge facing us today is the unwillingness of the ruling class to acknowledge that equality of all citizens is above any other interest and affiliations. In an article titled, ‘Nigeria:Hijacked by the Ruling Class!’, this issue had been extensively discussed in this forum and suggestions were made on how to reduce the present tension in the country. The persistent reluctance and resistance by the elite or the ruling class to do what is necessary to bring about the true change, that Nigerians are yawning for, boggles the mind of all well-meaning Nigerians.

But whenever laws are to made that subject the citizens to order, you will be amazed at the great speed the same ruling class (government) put machinery in place to make these new laws. Multi-layer agencies are created with the relevant laws backing the imposition of often times, unnecessary permits, licenses, controls and fines on the citizenry, and all of this sometimes takes less than one month. The same cannot be said when laws are proposed or are to be created that will have impact or benefit the ordinary people of this country. In this case, it takes eternity to pass such laws and sometimes the process is stalled and such law never sees the light of day.

The ideals of any modern society are for their government to guarantee equality and justice for its citizens and to protect the rights of the people against all foreign or external threats and undue influence. These national ideologies are what the citizens go at any length to defend, but the case is not the same in our country. The hope of the citizens should lie on the Nigerian constitution and not in the hands of a few individuals in government. The government is made up of people, and people are bound to be subjected to influence from various areas and they are capable of undermining policies and actions of national interest for their own selfish or sectarian interest. But if the law is in black and white, it is sure to take the right cause when the need arises.

Again it must be clearly stated, that the unity of Nigeria lies in a very strong constitution, thus the call for the immediate amendment of the constitution of the federation to address all the various grievances and concerns so far expressed by all the agitating parties. To achieve this, both our law makers and the executive must be prepared to shed all sectarian interest and focus on just one common interest, the national interest. The judiciary also has a major role to play as well. Theirs role is to ensure that cases are handled in a responsible and timely manner, so that judgements are passed, and these judgements form part of our statutory instruments.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Nigeria: Hijacked by the Ruling Class

The present state of the nation paints a very gloomy pictures. There is not one single individual in this country that can claim that they do not feel the prevailing difficult situation or are oblivious of the huge inadequacies in the society.

We understand what our problems are, and they have been adequately documented, and there are equally as many reports from different panels and national summits, such as the Oputa panel and most recently, the Goodluck Jonathan organized National Confab. Each of these bodies have their recommendations on the way forward for the country, but are yet to be implemented.

The question is not whether we have been unable to identified our problems or that we lack solutions to addressing them. Far from that, our problem is that the ruling class or elites would do nothing that will undermine their individual interest. This  self-centered protectionist egoism have left them with an over-bearing grip and control of the polity.

The elite class totally lacks the political will to enshrine the rule of law and equality of all citizens because that will relinquish power from their grip and impose a threat to
them and their ill acquired loots.

It has been said on several occasions that we need a total overhaul of the Nigerian constitution. The constitution must transfer power back to the people, a change from the present where the constitution appears to be protecting the ruling class more than the rest of the citizens. 

There is an increasing call for the future of Nigeria to be re-negotiated, and in the forefront of this movement is Professor Wole Soyinka. He is against the dogma that the unity of the country is non-negotiable. 

Whatever form this negotiation takes,  be it a nation sovereign conference, an act of the National Assembly or a memorandum, the time is ripe for the people's constitution. Especially at a time like this when several regional groups have intensified their agitation for self-actualization.

Lately, there have been an enormous bashing of the elite class for their selfishness and insensitivity towards the greater good of ordinary Nigerians. President Mohammadu Buhari has him self during his Ramadan visit of IDP camps taken a swipe on the elites lack of sensitivity of the plights of the poor in the society. 

This is a direct admission that the ruling class of successive administrations including the present government has failed the people of this country in every aspect of the life  thinkable. They have failed us for 55 years and the question now is, Why?

The absence of the rule of law and a strong constitution is one of the reasons. The elite are manipulating our weak legal jurisprudence to their own advantage. It is so bad that even multi-national complies and foreign missions fleece on our porous laws to the detriment of the country. We need a constitution that does not only protect the rights of elite, but provide adequate protection of the rights of the larger society as well.

The Nigerian constitution must be seen to adequately address the issue of equality before the law and guarantee the rights of all citizens to participate in the benefits derived from their common resources.

Persistent claims on the part of government of unavailability of funds when it comes to addressing societal demands and for development projects, while their is always enough money to be starched away by the same government officials, must seize.

The obvious  lopsidedness in  political appointments, apparent deliberate exclusion from government of people from certain regions and the skewed revenue generation formula where only one region generates almost the entire national GDP must be addressed.

Until the Nigerian constitution effectively addresses these concerns, agitations will continue unabated and if care is not taken, may be escalated to a dangerous level of another civil war.

The One Nigeria Group hereby call on government to commence the immediate review of the constitution, by adopting the various reports from the Oputa panel and the National summit of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The time to #GetOurRightsBack is now!