Set­ting Agenda For Good Gov­er­nance Through Jus­tice And Se­cu­rity

Sunday Trust - - ART & IDEAS -

Ti­tle: Se­cu­rity and Jus­tice: The Path­way For Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion In Nige­ria Ibrahim K. Idris To­print Global Ser­vices Lim­ited No Of Pages: 291 Au­thor: Pub­lisher:

Nige­ria has passed through time­less sea­sons of bru­tal­ity. Har­vest of killings through in­sur­gency, kid­nap, rob­bery and gen­eral state of in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try has ad­versely af­fected the eco­nomic, so­cio-po­lit­i­cal growth of the coun­try. The 18-chap­ter book un­der re­view, Se­cu­rity and Jus­tice: The Path­way For Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion In Nige­ria, writ­ten by Ibrahim Idris, the cur­rent Nige­rian In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice (IGP), pro­vides a thor­ough and deep in­sights on long-stand­ing con­tem­po­rary chal­lenges of Nige­ria na­tion. It ad­dresses is­sues re­lat­ing to fears of marginal­i­sa­tion, sec­tion­al­ism and trust in the gov­er­nance process.

The first chap­ter ex­am­ines the­o­ret­i­cal and philo­soph­i­cal un­der­pin­ning of jus­tice with a view to pro­vid­ing an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of what jus­tice is all about. Ac­cord­ing to Idris in this all im­por­tant book, re­gard­less of what­ever def­i­ni­tions dif­fer­ent author­i­ties might have given to the phe­nom­e­non called ‘jus­tice,’ the sub­ject is all about fair­ness. “Jus­tice in the broad­est sense is fair­ness. Jus­tice can­not as­sure that ev­ery dis­pute comes out ‘cor­rectly’ or that no mis­takes are made, but it should be such as to en­sure that the process by which de­ci­sions are made and goods al­lo­cated is fair and pro­duces an ac­cept­able re­sult in gen­eral, even if a sin­gle case of jus­tice fails.”(02)

He main­tains that jus­tice will only oc­cur when both po­lit­i­cal power and eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity are evenly dis­trib­uted. Jus­ti­fy­ing Aris­to­tle’s def­i­ni­tion of jus­tice as “the chief ba­sis of the state,” pro­duc­ing the com­mon good, the au­thor links him up with the con­cept of util­i­tar­ian “who sought the great­est good for the great­est num­ber.”

He also ex­am­ines the works of var­i­ous philoso­phers like Plato, Cephalus, Thrasy­machus, Glau­con among oth­ers. Con­sid­er­ing the Nige­ria’s post in­de­pen­dent era, the au­thor spends qual­ity time to deal with distribu­tive and restora­tive jus­tice. In the course of his an­a­lyt­i­cal de­tails, he posits that since cit­i­zens are fun­da­men­tally equal, rea­son­ing about jus­tice should be­gin from a pre­sump­tion that co­op­er­a­tively-pro­duced goods should be equally di­vided.

The au­thor also ex­am­ines the is­sues con­cern­ing gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity. As sen­si­tive as this sub­ject mat­ter is in to­day’s Nige­ria his­tor­i­cal ar­chive, read­ers could eas­ily con­clude that it is only an ex­pert like Idris that can en­lighten his world on the state of the na­tion. In an at­tempt to ful­fill this obli­ga­tion thor­oughly, the au­thor raises such per­ti­nent ques­tions to drive home his com­pre­hen­sive ar­gu­ment about need for jus­tice in Nige­ria.

He stresses the sig­nif­i­cance of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in all forms of re­la­tion­ships, say­ing it is the process of find­ing a way to make two dif­fer­ent views, ideas, facts, etc, ex­ist or be true at the same time. This, ac­cord­ing to him, will only thrive when there is un­der­stand­ing, mu­tual re­spect of dif­fer­ent opin­ions and views, sac­ri­fice, com­pat­i­bil­ity, com­pro­mise, sin­cer­ity, ob­jec­tiv­ity, tol­er­ance, for­give­ness, hu­mil­ity, kind­ness and love.

“Ef­fec­tive rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is the best guar­an­tee that the vi­o­lence of the past will not re­turn. If we can build a new re­la­tion­ship amongst us that is based on re­spect and a real un­der­stand­ing of each other’s needs, fears and as­pi­ra­tions, the habits and pat­terns of co­op­er­a­tion that we then de­velop are the best safe­guards against a re­turn to vi­o­lent di­vi­sion.” (22)

He ob­serves that in het­ero­ge­neous so­ci­ety like Nige­ria, cer­tain prob­lems are vis­i­ble, which in­clude alien­ation, dis­mem­ber­ment and dis­trust; tribal con­flict, re­li­gious con­flict and dis­union. The au­thor says the het­ero­ge­neous sta­tus of the coun­try ex­plains the in­tractable eth­nore­li­gious of their re­li­gious or eth­nic dif­fer­ences. This au­thor must have con­sid­ered the con­se­quences of this dis­as­ter in the fifth and sixth chap­ter of the book. Think­ing aloud, the au­thor imag­ined if Nige­ria’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem can pre­vent fu­ture con­flict, dis­cusses ma­jor con­flicts in Nige­ria’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and the eco­nomic con­se­quences of the con­flict.

In an eth­ni­cally di­vided so­ci­ety like ours, can democ­racy be sus­tained? This per­haps was one of the con­flict­ing is­sues that have given the au­thor a night­mare as can be felt through his writ­ing. The au­thor ad­vises that though in a di­vided so­ci­ety like Nige­ria, peo­ple al­ways try to pro­mote and pro­tect their own in­ter­ests, democ­racy should create an av­enue for the cit­i­zens to feel com­fort­able pro­ject­ing their in­ter­ests along non-eth­nic lines when they choose to do so.

The au­thor also uses the book to an­a­lyt­i­cally ex­plain the rights of com­mon cit­i­zens in the so­ci­ety in­clud­ing the im­pres­sion of Nige­ri­ans about Po­lice Force where the au­thor be­longs. “In Nige­ria, the po­lice force has been typ­i­cally viewed as in­ef­fi­cient and cor­rupt. Far from it, most peo­ple failed to un­der­stand and even ap­pre­ci­ate the chal­lenges fac­ing the po­lice since the po­lice is also a prod­uct of the so­ci­ety…” (121). He how­ever prof­fers so­lu­tion to hu­man right vi­o­la­tion.

Per­haps, all electorate and those vy­ing for any elec­tive po­si­tion in Nige­ria should read Idris’ book as it con­tains rare in­for­ma­tion about good gov­er­nance and cred­i­bil­ity of elec­tion. For in­stance in page 140, he ad­vises thus: “We need lead­ers who are na­tion­al­is­tic and ready to make sac­ri­fice, bridge builders and self­less pa­tri­ots…As an as­pi­rant, you must con­vince the peo­ple that you have the vi­sion, mis­sion and the pas­sion to pro­tect the peo­ple, pre­serve the norms and the val­ues of demo­cratic gov­er­nance and to keep the Amer­i­can dream alive. This should be the Watch­word in Nige­ria; the peo­ple and the lead­ers col­lec­tively have a role to play. Elec­tions are not just about the party, it shouldn’t be all about the eth­nic groups, rather it should be about how to move the coun­try for­ward, cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple to pur­sue their in­di­vid­ual goals and still come back to­gether as one in­di­vis­i­ble Nige­ria.”

Idris, in the last chap­ter, dis­cusses his ideas on po­lice ethics. Among other things, he stresses that po­lice need to be fo­cused, demon­strate courage, should be hon­est, God fear­ing and up­hold spirit of ut­most pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

The book is well re­searched, writ­ten with lu­cid lan­guage, boldly printed and bonded firmly with hard cover. It is a prod­uct of prag­matic ex­pe­ri­ence of an of­fi­cer with re­ferred scholas­tic pedi­gree.

It is rec­om­mended to all politi­cians, cap­tain of in­dus­tries, stu­dents, crit­ics and all well mean­ing Nige­ri­ans for its ex­pres­sive and mon­u­men­tal de­tails.

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