Issues seeking attention as the nation celebrates, By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Posted by News Express | 9 August 2018 | 1,557 times

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•Jerome-Mario Utomi

It is a time-honored saying that “the interest subjects take in their leader does not lie in the leader’s physical and intellectual abilities; but, rather in what he can add to their lots in life.”

Standing as a telling proof to the above assertion is the heartening celebration that recently resonated across our nation’s political wavelength, following some human-faced actions taken by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government; a development analysts described as right steps taken in the right direction.  

The signing of the Not-too-young-to-run bill into law, granting financial autonomy to state houses of assembly, declaration of June 12 as democracy day, and the posthumous conferment of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), the greatest honour in the land, on Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, were among the presidential acts.

In reaction to the above, some Nigerians have, as pre-empted, become sympathetic and supportive to the present administration, while affirming President Muhammadu Buhari as no prisoner of any theory, but, a leader guided by reasoning, reality, and equipped with the power to probe ideas before implementation.  

Having scaled this hurdle created by the June 12 debacle, and as part of the effort to completely calm frail ethnic nerves, it will be appreciably gratifying in my views, if the President could urgently yield to the call by Nigerians with discerning minds for the review/possible restructure of the nation, and tackle other multifaceted challenges bedeviling the nation; as a way of consolidating on his newfound “transformational leadership.”

Indeed, it’s a growing concern, that the federal system we practice is invert pyramided and asymmetrically structured. A line of argument that the President had earlier admitted during his January 1, 2018 national broadcast where he, among other things, remarked that “no human law or edifice is perfect. That whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected, according to the changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments.”    

As an incentive, therefore, now that the President has kick-started national renaissance/healing of national wounds, perfecting this imperfect structure/edifice via restructuring of the nation to reflect a true federal system has become not just inevitable but eminently desirable.

To further simplify the process, what the proponents of restructuring are saying, in my view, is that the over-blotting of exclusive list with about 68 items are antithetical to the doctrine of true federalism, as majority of the items contained are too trivial for the Federal Government to handle and should serve the greater good of the people if left in the hands of both the state and local governments. This is the hub of the people’s expectation. It becomes even more inspiring knowing that the template for solving these problems is readily available: the Report of the 2014 National Conference. The holistic implementation of that report is germane to the survival of the nation, which is right now in its most fragile state.

Again, while this celebration of “transformational leadership” is ongoing, it will also necessitate a peep into the global stage to spot the nations that had faced our current situation; how they tackled them, and how successful they had been. For instance, “The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in Islamabad, to conduct joint-research on issues related to terrorism and extremism for informed policy decision-making, to create public awareness, and build a counter-narrative in the country.”  

Looking at commentaries, it’s compellingly glaring that time is auspicious for our nation to adapt, adjust and, possibly, implement the above useful lesson in our ceaseless effort to find a lasting solution to insecurity/terrorism challenge on our shores. Yes! We shall, like other nations, collectively defeat insecurity and terrorism, using informed decisions based on research.

Still, on the celebration of this new-found people-purposed leadership, there is again the need for the President to remember that education is an indispensable means by which a nation can wholesomely achieve a hyper-modern development. It will, therefore, be rewarding if Mr President should dissipate the same political will/strategy of the past weeks to subsidise education, train and retrain our teachers, and find an enduring solution to the perennial underfunding challenge of the sector, which stakeholders believe is majorly occasioned by non-compliance with the United Nation’s budgetary recommendation/allocation on education. Tackling this challenge is important, because any nation that fails to give education the needed attention will sooner than later find itself degenerate into a chaos.   

But most importantly, for President Buhari to uphold this recently earned reputation, it’s crucial that the FG remedies the present blow of inflation and recession, subsidise health, encourage technological innovations. Invest in people and mobilise the talents of a large number of its citizenry whose skills are needed for the economic growth. After all, history indicated that for democracy to survive, a relative level of literacy, a growing middle class, and political institutions that support free speech and human rights is desirable.

Be that as it may, this development of our political space should not in any way cause a dropping spirit among the opposition, as it forms part of an evolving democracy.  Besides, it points to the bigger frame of  reality that 2019 general election will be decided by the quality of strategies public office seekers are able to come up with, and supported by their ability to develop potentials that are politically new; showcase something that is not yet known or in existence, which will establish new political configurations. On the other hand, despite the popularity of Federal Government’s efforts in the past weeks, the government urgently needs to have the fears of the people allayed before 2019 general election, by taking steps to address the issues raised.

Like Kenneth Tuchman, this is a healthy moment for the President to demonstrate that he is a finisher in a society of starters, that he can see something through and get the sense of completion. Acceding to the call for the nation’s restructuring, in my opinion, is an opportunity that the President must not overlook.

•Jerome-Mario Utomi, of, writes via and can also be reached on 08032725574 (SMS)

Source: News Express

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