Monday, 12 December 2011

Fuel subsidy removal : Nigeria heading toward revolution, leaders of thought warns

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Goodluck Jonathan the Nigerian president insists that subsidy on fuel product has to be removed in the midst of crises in the northern part of Nigeria.
However, this development has created lots of criticism by different union groups in the country. While the vast majority of the people believe fuel subsidy removal will add to different challenges been faced in the over populated country. The Government seems not to see it that way. This is however creating tension in the country, with lots of media war.

As gathered from one of the popular newspaper in Nigeria-Vanguard
SOME leaders of thought in the country, yesterday, reviewed the rising wave of instability and insecurity in the country, government’s insistence on removing fuel subsidy as well as the delay in restructuring the polity and returned a damning verdict: anarchy looms!
The leaders under the banner of National Consensus Group of Project Nigeria, warned that mass revolts were imminent in the country if the state of affairs remained unchanged.
The group’s spokesman, Mr. Wale Okunniyi, said in a statement that except Nigerians took their destinies in their hands by compelling the government to respect their will, the country might be plunged into a surprise extra legal intervention.
He said the eminent leaders’ group driven by senior citizens like Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, Dr Lateef Adegbite, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Labour and civil society leaders among others were disappointed at the present state of affairs in the country orchestrated by system and leadership failure.
Indeed, one of the leaders, Professor Nwabueze, picked holes in the government’s current moves to amend sections of the 1999 Constitution, saying the country needed a brand new code book.
Okunniyi said: “Nigerians must note that the general insecurity in the land, the unabated suicide bombings and pervasive frustrations of the masses, the refusal of the ruling class to open up space for genuine national negotiation as well as the politics of oil subsidy versus minimum wage are all ominous symptoms of deeper structural and governance crisis in the country, which is beyond the present rhetoric of government.
“Given several assessments and consultations we have made on the dangerous state of affairs in the North, Niger Delta, South East, Middle Belt, etc, and on the widening gap of exclusions in governance, the fear of our rulers to allow for a genuine national dialogue and the resultant bottled up anger everywhere, I can bet that, there shall be an organized mass action and a major shaking in the country soon.”
New constitution, not amendment – Nwabueze
Stressing the need for the country to go for a fresh constitution, Nwabueze said most stakeholders in the country were unanimous on the issue. He said: “The question remains, however, as to how this supreme objective is to be accomplished. The answer, of course, is that Nigeria must be re-designed and rebuilt, not re-branded. To rebuild a house, you must re-design the super-structure. If the super-structure is not got right, the edifice must wobble continuously, as Nigeria has been wobbling since it was built by the British colonialists.
“Now, the super-structure of a state, like Nigeria, is its constitution. In the democratic age in which we live today, the generally accepted super-structure for a stable, enduring state, not a wobbly one, is a democratic constitution, otherwise called a people’s constitution. What is a democratic constitution or rather why is a democratic constitution called a People’s Constitution? The answer lies in the meaning of democracy itself. Democracy is a form of government in which the people is everything – the ultimate law-maker; the source of all power; the bestower of the mandate or authority, through  their votes at elections, for the exercise of power by those elected to rule.
“A constitution is not democratic simply because it establishes a democratic form of government. Democratisation rests on a false and weak foundation if a democratic form of government, as enshrined in the constitution, is not in fact the choice of the people expressed by means of a national conference, followed by approval at a referendum or by a Constituent Assembly specially and specifically elected for the purpose.
The practical significance of a democratic constitution in the context of Nigeria, as in the context of the rest of Africa, lies partly in the nature and structure of our society. It is in this respect that Nigeria and Africa differ fundamentally from the U.S. and Europe. Whilst each of the original 13 colonies and, even more so, each of 50 States that make up the United States today, comprises peoples of different languages, races, religions and cultural backgrounds, each of those different peoples does not, by and large, inhabit a separate territorial area as to constitute a separate territorial entity, as is the case in Africa.
The diverse ethnic groups comprised in the state in Africa, the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, the Igbo, the Ijaws, the Urhorobos, the Itsekiris, the Ibibios and other ethnic groups in Nigeria for example, inhabit each a separate territorial area, which constitutes them a separate territorial entity. Creating a nation out of a diversity of peoples each inhabiting a separate territorial area and constituting a separate territorial entity confronts a problem fundamentally different in nature and character from that faced by the Americans since 1787.”

Therefore, any drive in this country towards re-building or re-creating Nigeria would be sheer self-delusion if it did not recognise and preserve something of the existence of the diversity of ethnic groups or if it tried to obliterate them completely. In any drive towards the creation of a nation out of a diversity of ethnic groups existing as separate territorial entities, the existence of such groups should be openly and frankly recognized as a social reality that can no more be wished away or banished than we can disregard our own individuality.

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