“Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil; we’ve doubled our renewable energy; we’ve led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.”–Obama
Sometimes I wish Nigeria could communicate more of the performance of its leaders in both federal and state levels. We spend far too much time talking about what we will do as government than what we have done. It’s a constantly shifting target. The people need hope that comes from a sense that progress is being made. If all we see and hear are excuses rather than hope, the people will despair. We breed suspicion in the public as a result of lack of disclosure and accountability, which is counter productive. For example why is it difficult to account for how much monies of suspicious sources have been discovered by our corruption agencies and how much of that do we have judgement for in the court of law?
Any organization that does not have a plan communicated to members in a way they understand, and monitors performance against expectation will eventually fail. Nations are not different. My question is, what known performance indicators are our governments’ performance measured against? Are we measuring them with a different indicator from what they are measuring themselves with? Should there not be a mechanism for expectation congruence and management? Performance must be evaluated against committed expectations and communicated in a way that the citizens or beneficiaries of relevant performance will understand and accept. Can Nigerians be told what they should expect to see as outcomes from the various initiatives of governments?
“It’s that spirit — a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might — that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression; that allowed us to build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but built on principles — the rule of law, human rights, freedom of religion, and speech, and assembly, and an independent press.–Obama
Indeed which of these underlined principles of the rule of law, human rights, freedom of religion, and speech, and assembly, and an independent press, do we enjoy or are we deliberately cultivating, working towards by our actions within all our territories? Freedom requires that people tolerate or rather accommodate each other’s beliefs. We cannot change people’s beliefs by repression, suppression or persecution. Change is value driven; the people must see the value. Also, the rule of law requires patience with and cumulative improvements on the mechanisms that assure that the citizen and the government will respect the process. Certainly, the process may not always yield the desired outcomes, it may for example let off people that the public have concluded to be criminals for lack of evidence or as a result of lack of competence on the part of the prosecutors. When a process does not deliver on its design, then a review to improve it is required, not the use of extra judicial tactics.
We indeed demand our freedoms, within the rule of law.
“Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service.”–Obama
Let us all get involved in our politics in one way or the other. We must increase electoral participation by encouraging registration in political parties and voting for elections. We need to remove systematically, anything in our politics that deprive our best and upright from participating in politics. We should register in the political parties of our choice to participate in what goes on there. Don’t think your presence will not matter or influence the process outcome. Just join and encourage your friends and relations to join as well. Get into the delegates list and choose your party candidates. Like with most process, patience is required for cultures to change. It was Isaac Newton who said “everything continues in a state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless an external influence or force is applied”.
In reality your participation is just that influence or stimulus required for change to begin.
“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning. With our participation, and with the choices that we make, and the alliances that we forge, whether or not we stand up for our freedoms and whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law.”–Obama
We must insist on the constitution at all times. A criminal is a criminal only because the constitution says so. There is no Yoruba, Hausa, or Fulani criminality. Let’s not allow tribal biases becloud constitutional provisions and definitions. It is the document that upholds the articles of our association as a people. As a people our aspirations may vary, our understanding may be different, one thing we have in common though is our constitution. We must respect it and ensure that through legislative processes we make relevant adjustments to it that represents our changing values and priorities.
We must note that a process where the minority has no voice is designed to eventually fail or leave the minority imprisoned without a voice. Equity for the good of us all is crucial. A constitution must also provide for the weak in our midst and for the challenged. It must give our children and our women rights. This is the spirit of brotherhood, one for all and all for one by which great societies are built. We will not take advantage of the unintended meaning included in our constitution but will emphasis the spirit of our resolve to live together as one nation at all times.
It is the citizen that gives the Nigerian constitution its power. We must stand for the basic principles no matter how frustrating it is to defend them. We must choose the rule of law over violence or jungle justice even if a “suspected” treasury looter is caught.