Misunderstanding Of Nigeria’s Problem

It seems there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the problems Nigeria is facing. I do not see the problem with Falana’s position that the Federal Government should dialogue with the people because they ( the people ) ,have genuine grievances.

The Federal Government is reported to have said that there is a public hearing currently being conducted by the National Assembly, with a view to amending the constitution. The Federal government says that such people should go there and vent their grievances.
From this position of the Federal government, I can deduce from It, either, the government is unwilling to listen to, and solve the problems, or it is abdicating its responsibilities to ensure the peace , security and stability gor the country, for which the constitution has charged it with, in this democratic dispensation.
That a part, looking at how the existing constitution is being operated, it is rather in the breach than in conformity. If the provisions of the Constitution were to be operated well , Mr. President would have long ago been impeached and punished. Some people are of the view that not much is wrong with the constitution if it is observed well. I agree but with some conditions. This view lends credence to the saying that no constitution, anywhere in the world, is perfect. Some countries do not even have written constitutions, but such countries rely on customs and traditions. Alexander Pope is reputed to have said that the craving for perfect constitutions are the cravings of ” fools”.He concluded that whatever document that is best administered, is the best. There is a lot of wisdom in this : it is not the document per se that makes for perfection, but the commitment of the operators of the document.
The agitators could go to the National Assembly and complain, but that does not solve their immediate problems. It is like some one is hungry and he goes to the cook for food, to prevent him from dying and the cook says” Oh, stay calm and be happy, another cook will be preparing the food next year, go to him and wait”.The cook forgets that the hungry person may not even reach next week, he may die. I do not know what to call this : is it wickedness, carelessness, abdication of duties, lack of empathy, or what should I call it ?
The issue of constitutional amendment is germaine . It is better than nothing at all. But before it is amended, there are so many things the Executive can and should do to keep the ship of state sailing. Its ultimate responsibility is to secure and promote the welfare of the people and to protect life and property. The threats we are experiencing are existential threats for which government has to act immediately to preserve and not to wait, for the so called constitutional amendment. Even with that, it does not solve the problems . We need a fundamental shift in the system of governance and the foundational structures. That may not be achieved by mere amendments which, if faithfully carried out, may just be like scratching the surface , and to worsen matters, there is no guarantee that even this will be done. Government has to wake up from its lithergy and do the needful. We are at the brink, just waiting to tip off at the next slightest trigger. The Buhari’s government has history to contend with. From their speeches they have, and this is avoidable, adopted a “siege mentality “. Nobody is going after them, to unseat them. If it is the will of God, they will complete their term and hand over to the next government. But they must act now, to prevent the destruction of the “reis” , as lawyers will always say. God help us.


Chief Barr Joshua Ephraim writes from Abuja

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