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By Dagogo Erekosima Innovate Africa Project Network www.AfricanInnovationProject.com
K. Without going into the elements of regional biases. I prefer to borrow Abraham Lincoln's "government of the people. Who is "We the People”? The preamble of the constitution of the United States starts with. Chief M. Abiola. power brokers and the who is responsible for what. for the people" as an acceptable and workable definition of what we think of when we say democracy. .O. Democracy is a brittle framework typically undergirded by: • • • • • • • • Homogeneity of ideology (largely) Homogeneity of culture or institutional "memory" Agreed upon rules of engagement (institutionalized "rule of law") Societies with clearly articulated rules for personal advancement Separation of Powers in Governance structures Freedom of Speech and it's resulting freedom of media Independence of the Judiciary Subjugation of military and police powers completely under civilian authority If you accept my premises above. The difficult history of "Nigerian-ness" must be articulated and resolved in the public sphere as the foundation of democratic institutionalization. Nigerians survived the dark period following that pivotal event and are currently going through the trials of a nascent democracy. and upon his return to Nigeria. where our focus should be as Africans with a deep concern for the welfare of the nations of Africa. was eventually thrown into jail. larger socio-cultural re-engineering must take place that solves "Labor pains" of Nigeria and other countries of Sub-saharan africa. "…We the people of the United States in Order to form a more perfect union. was annulled by the military dictator then in power. the definition of who constitutes the de facto Nigerian is under contest. The meaning of Democracy Leaving the academics and political scientists to debate the minutiae of definitions. by the people. was forced into an exile of sorts. I would like to communicate my thoughts on the meaning of democracy. what happens when democracy loses its meaning. Nigeria's freest and fairest elections by most accounts.. who was almost universally believed to be the winner of that election.. and the more important work of nationbuilding without which no democracy can long endure (in my humble opinion). In that spirit.Introduction On this day 16 years ago." In Nigeria. where he eventually died in very suspicious circumstances. I'd like to point out to everyone with the reach of this little platform. then it doesn't take much to see that for Nigerian democracy to preserve its tenuous legitimacy and gain a stronger foundation.
the major western powers gathered in Berlin to negotiate and resolve their partitioning of Africa. many of the nations of Africa had little cultural or linguistic cohesion. Africa was carved into 50 or so hodgepodge countries (more like "territories") with scant regard for the indigenous nations. The socio-economic turbulence that many see as caused by ethnicism or racism. The Problem of Nigeria's "Birth Logic" In 1884. Any chance to craft one in the aftermath of independence was dashed by the parting play of the colonial powers. Growing up in Nigeria like I did. very little of our primary or secondary education was dedicated to studying our colonial and post-colonial history in any real and meaningful way. Macro-economists often include labor mobility as one of the most important factors in the dynamic responsiveness of an economy.Consider the submission of the thoughts below as my contribution In honor of the millions of hopeful Nigerians who lined up to cast a ballot on that June 12th. distrust and the occasional eruptions of sectarian-tinged violence mean that vast swaths of the populace do not feel safe in the midst of their fellow Nigerians. No credible ideological underpinning to support either it's existence. or even its name. 1993. at the invitation of German Chancellor (and Grand strategist) Otto Von Bismarck. The sectarian conflicts of Nigeria's early history are still considered too polarizing to be explored. and the post colonial period of newly independent African states took place during a period in which big power grand strategy as played out in the Cold war alignments had more to do with politics and economic development on the continent than any consideration of the welfare of her peoples. we are really witnessing the first true opportunity for the long dreamed African renaissance. actually have deeper causes... When looked at in this way. Unlike the largely self-determined (or at least structurally evolving) "birth logic" of many countries of the world. Any imaginary architect drawing plans for Nigeria's emergence on the world economic stage would quickly run into this internal socio-cultural barrier to the . While these were fascinating and uplifting accounts. but actually a symptom of geo-political currents that African peoples had little to no control over. and most of the implications of ongoing fear. economic viability of these units or any other such thing. nor any culturally informed roles in the logic of their creation.only a superficial look at some ancient African kingdoms and personalities like Queen Amina of Zaria and Atanda Musa of Ghana among others. The negative implications of such dynamics are far-reaching. they hardly constitute the kind of orientation base that young Nigerians need to craft the sort of nation-hood that will be required for the future of Nigeria. The colonial period of African history certainly was not intended as a prequel to self-determined African rule. A country like Nigeria has no identifying cultural myth to bind it together. Rampant ethnic bias and prejudice in Nigeria is not a root cause as many suppose.
a hyper-competitive world that more and more will belong to the creative. Nigerian populations that are invested in today could conceivably be among the world leaders in 40 to 80 years. And I believe this precisely because of the Nigerian experience.given what we are. once remarked. the entrepreneurial and creative energy generated from that unprecedented diversity that can be unleashed if the proper investments and reforms in education are instituted in this window of time. A highly respected western linguist and scholar. do not realize that the primary strategic advantage of Nigeria over the next 100 years will not be its oil and gas but its peoples. Crafting a National Epic.. energy and dynamism of Nigeria is due to the richness of its indigenous cultures and the diversity of its people. innovative and dynamic economies. In the ultra-competitive global landscape being predicted for the next 100 years. Nigerian leaders typically have not paid enough attention to this particularly troubling aspect of Nigerian life. it would be well advised to build a self-concept based upon an earnest appraisal of its natural advantages and a clearly articulated aspirational goal. As long as individual access to political power means personal appropriation of public resources. In a world which Thomas Friedman declared as flat. we almost have no recourse but to build on what we could be. that Nigeria "Is a marvel of ethno-linguistic diversity". upon finding out that I hailed from Nigeria's Niger delta region. Identity and Ideology When a country cannot look to its past to provide it with an ideological bedrock on which to build its self-concept. Nigerian diversity could become a competitive advantage (I will explore this further) if Nigerian leadership resolves to institutionalize broader access to resources such that Nigerian ethnic diversity becomes a more peaceable and equitable one. I had never a phrase like that before and it took me a while before I began to understand the implications of that statement. Since the faulty logic of our birth as a nation does not afford us the privilege of building a national epic based on what we have been. The vibrance.nation's economic potential. I think one of the most unfortunate ironies of Nigerian life is that many Nigerians.. that happy dream is unlikely to become a reality. It wouldn't be safe. including many in governmental roles. People simply do not move and mingle as freely through every area of the polity. There's no reason why "What we are collectively determined to be" cannot be as strong a galvanizer of patriotic dutifulness and civic mindedness as "What we have been". These ideas can be combined to create a new national self-concept. Reforming educational curricula to reflect these ideas could conceivably do more than any national . Recent announcements of "Nigerian Re-branding" notwithstanding.
along with a rolling amnesty of the already guilty. Subject major issues at like major project awards and political appointments to a public review process. Create institutionalized processes for guiding the formation and dissolution of such efforts would be a very effective start. arguably the richest and most powerful nation in the world at the time. After all. 3. Institutionalize the reduction of executive powers at all sub-national levels. persistent and purposeful communication articulating visions for the physical and economic welfare of its citizens. Throughout Nigerian governance. contract allocation and politcal appointment processes. Corruption can be substantially reduced in Nigeria only through legislative reform that prioritizes transparency in resource allocation. Education combined with robust. In other words. in favor of an empowered civil service structure. no matter how unfair that reality may be. Rather. 5. On The Culture of Corruption And Legal Reform The pervasive culture of corruption in public life cannot be resolved through any direct means. eradicate unilateral decision-making by the governor. The continual establishment and dissolution of public enterprises and parastatals also often set back efforts from previous administrations while providing cover for the looting of public resources. the problem of over-centralized power forces incentive frameworks that are just invitations for abuse. the vast majority of American's give George Washington the credit for the survival of the United States at its beginning. 2. There's no consensus that the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during the previous civilian administration. the systemic compromises that undergird the instances of corruption have to be tackled. 4. Civil service reforms at the state and national levels that: 1. rather than the persistent and skillful diplomacy of Benjamin Franklin who was able to secure the support of France. or the president. Pragmatism demands this. or its various investigations have been accomplished in good faith.service programs imposed from the top. Create checks and balances in the allocation of projects and disbursal of public funds over a certain amount. Streamline Nigeria's judicial practices in favor a more decisive and straightforward process. . It may also be appropriate to retro-actively craft an appropriate national epic (or myth) out of any component ethnic cultural tradition.
you shouldn't rule the people. as well as the barring of officials from holding office unless they liquidate or otherwise repatriate their assets into the domestic system. . and punishment of abuses. is the separation of the military in class and condition in the course of Nigerian public life. Introduction of separation protocols that restrict police power and activity to very clear roles and responsibilities. The suggestions I make in #5 above are a necessary pre-requisite for the successful reform of the Police force. 8. On So-called Military Adventurism I find it entertainingly depressing that whenever the military and their interventions into the Nigerian political landscape are mentioned. the discourse seems to limit itself either to individual actors and power brokers. Reverse the data scarcity that is endemic to Nigerian society. with implementation of a "carrot and stick" approach to police discipline that includes public reviews of pay. A final blow to the corruption culture can be struck by the <b>inclusion of an African leadership and Public Ethics curriculum</b> as early as primary school and compulsory up to University level. 9. If such committees and campaigns are installed on the backs of the above prescriptions. If Nigerian students should be educated in Leadership and Ethics. A new law restricting holders of political office to Nigerian banks. The logic being that if you are not willing to build a stable system or conduct yourself in a manner that doesn't fundamentally endanger your personal wealth. 7. Nigerian soldiers should be doubly exposed to these same ideas. Nigerian businesses and Nigerian assets. Reform law enforcement policies and practices. Lack of wisdom in leadership. Guarantee members of the media the ability to act as another watchdog and stakeholder in the welfare of the Nigerian people. These are the sort of steps that can affect Nigerian government and society more systemically and fundamentally than any Anti-Corruption Committee or Campaign. that communicates the high public price Nigeria pays for seemingly harmless acts of private larceny. This would remove the escape hatch that criminally minded politicians leave open for themselves. disease and poverty levels. they have a far better chance of success. or the idea of whether the "military should or should not take over "! More important than these sorts of considerations. The education of what it means to be a democratic society should most persistently be taught within the martial ranks.6. and lack of outrage in followership is the direct result of information scarcity that muddles and conceals the devastating numbers in infant mortality and unnecessary deaths.
This is the hallmark of a professional army. The Niger Delta. Such a plan would draw the fuel out of any insurgency movement and erase all pretense of credibility to any who continue in that path. Some Thoughts On Nigerian Democracy The culture of autocratic democracy that has been practiced in Nigeria must end as quickly as possible to avoid any unwelcome intervention into the affairs of the Nigerian state. Decisive. It would also communicate a new brand of Nigerian government to all Nigerians in a much more powerful way than any Nigerian rebranding campaign ever could. and are not representative of any other person. visionary leadership will be required for Nigeria to maintain the economic gains of the last decade and preserve the feeble democracy that has been established. A democracy that looks and acts as despotically and as criminally as an unwanted dictatorship will not long endure. This information contained in this report reflects the views of one man. Nigeria's oil producing region. A concerted effort at developing the Niger Delta would not only bring a lasting and sustainable peace to the region. A tendency toward collective amnesia by the country's leadership would be disastrous for an estimated 150 million people. needs nothing less than an Abuja-style Marshall Plan for its development. group or affiliation related to the Innovate Africa Project Network. The decentralization of power as a feature of Nigerian polity is ultimately the greatest protection against the opportunism and adventurism of any individual military actor or even power block. The Innovate Africa Project Network is a strategic innovation lab dedicated to building support and capacity for entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation throughout Africa. but would also enable Nigerian economic development into the farthest reaches of the Maiduguri. .
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