Un­ortho­dox gov­er­nance: The APC way

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - PANORAMA - By Jerome-mario Utomi

SCAN­DAL in the words of Paul Glenn is a need­less word or deed which does harm to those who hear or ob­serve them, it is the word or deed that oc­ca­sions sin in an­other; it is a bad ex­am­ple. Very in­struc­tive also is the fact that to the per­son scan­dalised, the scan­dal is pas­sive while in the per­son do­ing or say­ing the scan­dalous thing, it is ac­tive. Ru­mi­nat­ing about the re­cent po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in Nige­ria with ref­er­ence to the ill-ad­vised re­lease of the al­leged trea­sury loot­ers iden­ti­ties, this ad­min­is­tra­tion comes flood­ing as a fit­ting ex­am­ple of a ‘scan­dal’ as de­fined above while the na­tion Nige­ria seam­lessly rep­re­sents a scan­dalised lamb. Apart from the asym­met­ri­cal pos­tur­ing of the list which ex­cluded its as­so­ciates that were hith­erto mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion charged with the same of­fence, what is most fright­en­ing is that with this feat, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has amal­ga­mated the ex­ec­u­tive and ju­di­ciary arms of gov­ern­ment by as­sum­ing the po­si­tions of the in­ves­ti­ga­tor, the pros­e­cu­tor, and the judge. What is more, no hope for the fu­ture? Against this back­drop, Nige­ri­ans now nurse a deep-seated fear that his­tory has a way of re­peat­ing it­self, with many won­der­ing why ev­ery­thing about APC as a po­lit­i­cal acro­nym and its gov­ern­ment un­ortho­dox. A state of af­fairs that com­pelled crit­i­cal minds to ques­tion what is in that acro­nym APC that throws any na­tion they as­sume the man­tle of lead­er­ship into con­fu­sion; not just in Nige­ria but in Africa as a con­ti­nent. If you are in doubt of the above claim, wait till you cast a glance at this doc­u­mented ac­count.

In 1985, the All Peo­ples Congress (APC) took over the man­tle of lead­er­ship in Sierra Leone (pre-war days) with Joseph Mo­moh at the helm of af­fairs, just im­me­di­ately, the na­tion came to a halt; the civil ser­vants salaries stopped, the road fell to pieces, the schools dis­in­te­grated, the Na­tional Tele­vi­sion stopped in 1987 when the trans­mit­ter was sold by the mi­nis- ter of in­for­ma­tion. And in 1989, a ra­dio tower that re­layed ra­dio sig­nals out­side Free Town fell down, end­ing trans­mis­sion out­side the cap­i­tal, with weapons pour­ing over the bor­der as gov­ern­ment dis­ap­peared. The econ­omy fi­nally col­lapsed and Sierra Leone kissed calamity. Look­ing at this ac­count in re­la­tion to what is cur­rently hap­pen­ing on our shores, it will ne­ces­si­tate the ques­tion as to whether Nige­ria is headed for Sierra Leone.

Even if an an­swer is pro­vided to the above, it will not at any sig­nif­i­cant level erase the com­mon knowl­edge that this gov­ern­ment lacks the so­lu­tion to the hy­dra-headed so­cioe­co­nomic chal­lenge fac­ing the na­tion; a feel­ing that has in turn cor­roded the good­will the party en­joyed in 2015. Again, Nige­ri­ans are also shell-shocked that such il­le­gal­ity of tag­ging some of her cit­i­zen’s loot­ers with­out go­ing through the con­ven­tional ju­di­cial process is com­ing from a gov­ern­ment that promised the na­tion’s re­ju­ve­na­tion of the econ­omy and hy­per­mod­ern so­ci­ety is in my views, a prag­matic demon­stra­tion of not the rule of law but the will of man.

To the vast ma­jor­ity of Nige­ri­ans, this de­vel­op­ment is un­be­com­ing and un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of a re­spon­si­ble and re­spon­sive gov­ern­ment as sec­tion 36(5) of the 1999 con­sti­tu­tion (as amended) clearly states that ‘ev­ery per­son who is charged with a crim­i­nal of­fense shall be pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til he is proved guilty.’ If this is the po­si­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion, why is the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­sort­ing to self­help by com­ing out with such names that are not yet con­victed by a court of com­pe­tent ju­ris­dic­tion?

This and many other sor­did rea­sons may have in­formed the for­mer Nige­ria Pres­i­dent, Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo clar­ion call to pres­i­dent Buhari not to con­test the 2019 elec­tion as he has per­formed be­low ex­pec­ta­tion. In line with the above, it could also be re­called that Pres­i­dent Buhari ac­cord­ing to re­ports had in March 2015 among other things de­scribed Obasanjo as a coura­geous pa­triot and states­man who tells the truth to the power when he is con­vinced that lead­ers are go­ing wrong. It is my prayer that PMB will heed this truth that is now com­ing from that same coura­geous pa­triot.

Re­gret­tably, the ul­ti­mate re­sult of what the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is do­ing cur­rently is in the womb of the fu­ture. An oc­cur­rence that the re­sult may not be palat­able if the trend is al­lowed to com­plete its ges­ta­tion with­out some­thing dra­matic done to have it aborted.

Again, apart from this rip­ple re­ac­tion that trailed the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s lop­sided ac­tion, there is also an ac­com­pa­ny­ing con­no­ta­tion by the crit­ics of the gov­ern­ment that the de­lib­er­ate ex­clu­sion of APC mem­bers from the list of which ma­jor­ity of them were PDP mem­bers dur­ing that in­glo­ri­ous mo­ment was syn­ony­mous with the Bi­b­li­cal ‘when I see the blood, I will Passover you.’’

In the same to­ken, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s in­abil­ity to keep to the prom­ise made in 2015 that the ad­min­is­tra­tion will cre­ate a cli­mate of opin­ion in the coun­try that will look upon cor­rup­tion in pub­lic of­fices as a threat to the so­ci­ety was an­other rea­son that drew the irk of Nige­ri­ans as the ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­stead, plun­dered and plum­meted the coun­try into more cor­rup­tion while leav­ing our econ­omy to walk in the val­ley of the shadow of death.

Also, look­ing at the cur­rent per­for­mance in­dex, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has elo­quently proved to be pleas­ant talk­ers but in­ept in po­lit­i­cal will to im­ple­ment any pol­icy. They have within this pe­riod, pro­moted cor­rup­tion and made the en­tire brouhaha about cor­rup­tion fight su­per­fi­cial that only ex­ists in the frame, with the vi­sion nei­ther sharp nor the goal clear.

To this end, Nige­ri­ans must there­fore, not al­low them­selves to be con­fused by the cur­rent hap­pen­ings but should look to­wards build­ing the fu­ture that is free of sus­pi­cion, and a na­tion that will be viewed at the world stage as the zone of peace and pros­per­ity come 2019.

Jerome-mar­i­o­livesin­la­gos.

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