By C.V. Akuta
Please, permit me to send you a memorandum, particularly now that you have inaugurated your constitution and manifesto committees. The author, prays that his memo, be given due considerations. The list below is not exhaustive.
Federal Character Principle/Zoning/Quota System: Please for the sake of Nigeria, make sure this retrogressive clause is never included in whatever constitution/manifesto that you’re preparing for APC. The inclusion of this principle in the constitution of Nigeria is one of the strong reasons, why the nation has never moved forward.
This system never promotes merit but rather elevates mediocre(s). That is to say that, our best never occupies their rightful positions. We are witnessing a situation, were the least qualified people are leading the best/rest of us, courtesy of quota/zoning.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) adopted the zoning principle, and we are living witnesses to what the party has done to Nigerian entity. For people, like us, this system defiles all logic. No sane person should expect anything positive from the above principle.
“Quota system means injustice as far as am concerned. Apologies to its beneficiaries. The mere existence of this charter in our law books means that the country has been established on the paths of injustice”.
As a result of the American system, the emergence of President Obama became a possibility. In the United Kingdom, there is also an equal opportunities act. These are indeed true progressive societies.
Not only should this clause not be included on APC constitution and manifesto, but APC should champion the removal of this from our law books (The Nigerian Constitution).
Removing Immunity Clauses
Section 308 of the 1999 constitution shields the President, his Vice, the Governor and their Deputies from criminal and civil prosecution during their term in office. This is another retrogressive clause in our constitution that needs removing. It’s simply a recipe for abuse of office and also the abuse of Nigerians.
The author strongly suggests that APC should seriously consider fighting for the removal of this clause from the nation’s constitution. Therefore, removing immunity clauses should form part of your party’s (APC) manifesto. Imagine a situation where the President, Vice President, Governor, and Deputy Governor can be prosecuted while in office. Then they will sit up and take Nigerians very serious.
There is so much concentration of powers at the centre. The Presidency is so powerful, that it has actually become a threat to the survival of our democracy. There is urgent need to devolve powers among the federating units of the country.
The various states and local government areas have to be truly independent to an extent. The author prefers confederalism. The units that make up Nigeria need a reasonable level of autonomy. More so, there is need for competition amongst the various units that make up Nigeria. Competition brings out the best in us.
Therefore there is need for all the 6 zones (SE, SW, SS, NE, NW, NC) to compete among each other. Various zones/parts of the country should be allowed to develop at their own pace. The nation needs restructuring; therefore, the author suggests that APC should take this into consideration while preparing their constitution and manifesto.
Total War Against Corruption
It is the author’s view that corruption is the biggest obstacle to the development and progress of Nigeria. Except a total war is waged against corruption, nothing meaningful can be achieved.
According to the former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, “when you fight corruption, corruption fights back”. “We are internationally recognized for corruption, inefficiency, business uncertainty and infrastructural decay”.
“The World Bank estimates the country’s generals and gangster politicians stole $300 billion in the three decades to 2006” (Time Magazine, May 3rd 2010 Edition, Page 42). From 2006, when the World Bank captured the figure above till now, a lot more has been stolen. It therefore requires wo/men made of steel or a determined political party to wage an effective war on corruption.
Thus APC has to take cognisance of this monster, and accord it an important place in their constitution/manifesto. That is also if, APC wants to clean the mess in Nigeria.
All Progressives Congress must lead by example. Internal party democracy and discipline is nonnegotiable. Charity begins at home. APC must not only have internal democracy, but it must be seen to exist within it. Any party without these two points (internal democracy and discipline) is not worthy to be voted into power by Nigerians. It is the author’s prayer, that this be included in your constitution.
It would also be appropriate, for APC to consider waging a war against indiscipline in the country, thus it should be included in your manifesto. The author is neither under any illusion nor delusion that the above points might or might not be accepted by the All Progressive Congress. But if you do, that would be truly in the nation’s interest. May God bless Nigeria.
26th February, 2013.
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