Thursday, 23 May 2013
ACF ‘Road Map’ Warns Leaders Of ‘Evil Elements’ In Northern Nigeria
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has submitted a road map report to Northern State Governors, warning of a “deadly cyclone” in which “evil elements are feeding on each other,” and holding back progress in the region.
The written paper SaharaReporters obtained in Minna, Niger State yesterday was submitted to Niger State Governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.
ACF Chairman Alhaji Aliko Mohammed said “Our analysis showed that we are already in the vortex of a deadly cyclone in which the evil elements feed on and are aggravated by each other – in the same way that corruption feeds on poor governance to grow even though we all know that poor governance is the mother and father of corruption. Before I hand them over to you, Your Excellency, permit me the indulgence to read out the half page Executive Summary of our presentation. And it goes like this:
That security is the first law of nature and of the state. Nothing can be achieved without it. It must therefore be our first priority to maintain security and peace. That good leadership and responsible followership are indispensable to national security and peace. To achieve both, justice and liberty must be given to everyone within our society.
“That we must evolve a civil and plural society which adequately accommodates our ethnic and lingo-cultural differences; through consciously directed efforts. That we have to drastically reduce the level of poverty and misery of the people. That we have to establish mechanisms that enforce rules, penalize wrong doing in every activity, particularly corruption within and outside government, guarantee a free and democratic society with justice to individuals, religions and all ethnic groups.”
It also kicked against single term tenure. “ACF has already submitted a memorandum to the National Assembly in which we had argued that the current structure of the country be retained because there is no such thing as true federalism that is universal. And that is why no two federal systems are identical. All the federal systems have their own peculiarities resulting from their circumstances of birth. For example, while the thirteen American colonies came together to form USA, in the case of Nigeria the central government has been creating federating units.
“It is on this basis that ACF submitted that nothing is wrong with the current structure of the country. All that is required is appropriate balance of the central authority with state-level power. Consequently, the question of constitutional recognition for the six geopolitical zones cannot arise.
“Democracy may differ in form, but when it comes to its elements of liberty, justice and common decency, democracy is about the same and universal. That may explain why the presidential system is a success in America, the parliamentary system has done well in Britain while a combination of the two has succeeded in France. The problem of Nigerian democracy has little to do with the form of government than with the politicians who seek to redefine the three elements of democracy in the same manner with those who wish to reinvent the wheel or redefine the truth and evil. All that is required to deliver on the promise of democracy is for politicians to practice its elements through political parties that offer clear choice to the electorate as alternative platforms.
“Those who submit that the country needs a “people’s constitution” may well be reminded that however good a law may be, its usefulness to society is almost always a question of how well it is executed. That may explain why the less than three page American constitution with 27 amendments in over 200 years has delivered more than that of Nigeria which is a big book observed more in the breach.
“It is the position of ACF that given the inadequacy of funds for socio-economic development, any creation of additional states may be counter productive and so should be kept on hold lest they the expensive bureaucracies they come with, end up becoming mere cost and effort centres at the expense of real development.
“The Forum is not against application of principles of derivation for revenue sharing provided the aim is to reward efforts and compensate for degradation of environment. But off shore exploration of oil does not meet any of these requirements. And that is why its proceeds should not feature in the calculation for derivation.
“Since the term indigene and settler are not in the constitution, but have been forced in practice into the polity with dire consequences on peaceful coexistence, national security and on unity of the country, it has become necessary to define who is an indigene. Towards this end, ACF has submitted that all those born in a place are automatic indigenes of the places of their birth provided they do not hold dual indigeneship. This is because nobody chooses where he is born. Such is the universal practice.
“Nigerian democracy is not matured enough for state police which is subject to abuse by state governments against national unity. What is more, the states are not financially viable enough to manage state police. All Nigeria needs is improvement on the number and quality of the Nigerian Police for performance.
“ACF is not favourably disposed to single tenure because it does not contain motivation as an instrument of management of human affairs. In single tenure, there are no incentives or reward that can motivate towards excellent performance. Therefore, single term may be counter productive. And if the desire is to curb abuse of incumbency, then efforts should be directed at curbing in such abuse and not to kill motivation as an important ingredient of managing human affairs. The country can consider the model applied in Chile and other countries, which allows multiple tenures that are not consecutive. Bangladesh goes under a Care-Taker government whenever it conducts elections.”