The Sun News

Nigeria needs a new constitution, not amendment (2)

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MARTIN Fischer rightly theorised that evolution is individual while devolution is collective. On this note, we continue and conclude our discourse on the above subject matter while we beam our searchlight on the recent face-off between the EFCC and the AGF; thereafter, we continue with our discourse on the Accord Concondiale: the Continuous search for Nigeria’s elusive unity and indivisibility (part 9), where we will X-ray the life and times of great Nigerian icons like SAMUEL LÁDÒKÈ AKÍNTOLÁ, MOSES MAJEKODUNMI and ABUBAKAR TAFAWA BALEWA

Dire need for devolution of  power

This concept of devolution of power is intended to meet the agitations for “true federalism”, “fiscal federalism”, restructuring”, etc. By whatever name called, the truth is that the main reason for the political, economic, social, ethnic and religious tensions besetting and confronting Nigeria is that too much power is concentrated at the centre, as represented by the Exclusive Legislative List. The earlier we stopped postponing the evil day, devolving power from the centre to the federating units, the better for our beleaguered contraption called a nation.

To solve this problem, power must immediately devolve from the behemoth Federal Government to the states, so that the Federal Government will concern itself with a few items, like national currency, foreign affairs, national defence, ammunition and explosives, aviation, drugs and poisons, customs and excise duties, creation of states, citizenship, naturalisation and aliens, diplomatic, consular and trade representation, exchange control and export duties, nuclear energy,  passports and visas, etc. Devolution of power naturally entails devolution of financial resources, so as to pave way for fiscal federalism and enhance the capacity of states to function effectively as federating units. However, from the way and manner the voting on the issue of devolution of powers failed to scale through our ethnically-conscious National Assembly, it is highly unlikely that the agitation for devolution of powers as being clamored by Nigerians is anywhere near what the proponents of devolution of power like myself will find acceptable.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has recently blamed sentiments (hate speeches and distrust) from parts of the country for the rejection of devolution of power clause in the ongoing 1999 Constitution’s review by lawmakers.

Saraki was of the opinion that, if the voting on the amendments had come much earlier before agitations for restructuring and inciting remarks from some Nigerians, it would have scaled through.

With due respect to Saraki’s views on the Senate’s rejection of devolution of power, there is no better time than now to restructure Nigeria and decentralise power to the federating units. Nigerian leaders should stop postponing the evil day. When the market is on fire, even the blind, lame, deaf and dumb will know from the heat generated. We cannot continue to live in self-denial and pretend that all is well. He who brings a maggot-infested piece of firewood into his home should not complain when he is visited by an army of lizards and frogs.

EFCC vs AGF face-off: When the tail wags the dog

I am not surprised that the EFCC has scornfully and disdainfully refused to forward to the Attorney-General of the Federation the outcome of investigations of high-profile corruption cases with the recommendations thereon. The EFCC has since become an island onto itself, no doubt, a country within a country, like the Papacy, which is recognised by the UN, is a nation within Italy, another nation. It has since behaved, acted and lived above the laws of the land, contrary to its motto, “No one is above the law.” Like witches and wizards whose activities are shrouded in eerie secrecy in covens, the EFCC has carried on without accounting and answering to anyone. It does not obey legislative queries or resolutions of the bicameral National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives). It defies court orders with imperious impunity and ridicule. Now, it has carried the battle to the remaining third arm of government, the very Executive, of which it actually forms a part and parcel. To continue to defy the AGF, the EFCC must first amend the 1999 Constitution to enable it usurp and appropriate the powers of the AGF clearly spelt out in Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution. This section donates to the AGF absolute powers to institute, take over or discontinue any criminal proceedings in Nigeria, subject to certain constitutional imperatives, which do not, however, concern the EFCC. The EFCC, which is clearly under the supervisory jurisdiction of the office of the AGF, does not possess such powers. This government has turned everything upside down. It is so pitiable! The EFCC, in an unholy alliance with the power-drunk, dictatorial and unpretentious PACAC (Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption), has since usurped the powers of the AGF under the Constitution. The EFCC is, therefore, not only breaching Section 10 of the EFCC Regulations, 2010, but is actually subverting the Nigerian Constitution in a most flagrant manner. This is impunity in its naked form, and crass constitutional aberration, both of which signpost the worst forms of corruption. Where do we go from here, now that the falcon can no longer hear the falconer and mere anarchy has been loosen upon the world? Nigeria is in a big governance mess, tottering to no identifiable destination, with no one appearing to be in charge.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been away abroad on medical vacation for about 92 days, over three months at a stretch. While I continue to pray and wish him quick recovery, I feel insulted when some grovellers and bootlickers say it does not matter; that he can rule forever, even as a lame duck President from abroad. These historical revisionists do not see anything wrong in a weakened Presidency, in an obviously tentative and frightened Acting President, who cannot take major and fundamental decisions because he looks over his shoulders. They would rather have Nigeria on tenterhooks, gasping for existential oxygen, rather than advise their infallible god and deity to honorably resign and take care of his tasked health, since power is only exercised by the living. They do this not out of genuine love for PMB, or out of altruism for a shattered, battered and scattered nation, but for their individual and collective self-aggrandisement. They want to hold on to the reins of power at all cost. Oh, power, sweet, sweet but ephemeral power, when will you stop being an unreasonable aphrodisiac, an unrepentant intoxicant? Just when will you force madness to vacate its seat and permit sanity and reason to resume their rightful place? I weep for Nigeria, my beloved motherland.

Permit me to now return to our discourse on ACCORD CONCONDIALE: THE CONTINUOUS SEARCH FOR NIGERIA’S ELUSIVE UNITY AND INDIVISIBILITY (PART 9).

Samuel Ládòkè Akíntolá (continues and concluded)

Eventually, Akintola was restored to power (though he had lost the legal battle with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council then Nigeria’s highest court) as Premier in 1963. In the general election of 1965, Akintola won his position as Premier, not as member of the Action Group party, but as the leader of a newly formed party called Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), which was in an alliance with the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), which then controlled the federal government.

Akintola was brutally assassinated in Ibadan, the capital of Western Region, on the day of Nigeria’s first military coup of January 15, 1966. This coup terminated the First Republic. This was the “Young Majors’ Coup”, or the “coup of the January boys”, which resulted in the assassination of many leading politicians, including Sir Ahmadu Bello.

Akintola was married to Chief (Mrs.) Faderera Akintola and had five children, two of whom were later to become finance ministers in the Third Republic, Chief Yomi Akintola and Chief (Dr.) Bimbo Akintola. Chief Yomi Akintola also served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Hungary and Samuel Akintola’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Dupe Akintola, was Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Jamaica. His fourth child, Chief Victor Ladipo Akintola, dedicated much of his life to ensuring the continued accurate accounting of Samuel Akintola’s contributions to Nigeria’s position on the world stage. He published many works, including a biography that highlighted his father’s love for his country and lifelong commitment to its progression (“Akintola: The Man and the Legend”). His youngest child, Tokunbo Akintola, was the first black boy at Eton College and features prominently in the best-selling book by Dilibe Onyeama, Nigger at Eton.

A number of institutions, including Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, were established in both the Oloye’s hometown and other Nigerian cities as a means of remembering him posthumously. He sure was a great Nigerian.

Moses Majekodunmi

Moses’ beginnings and imperishable strides

Moses (August 17, 1916 – April 11, 2012) was a Nigerian gynaecologist and obstetrician born in Abeokuta. He was also Minister of Health in the Nigerian First Republic. He studied at Abeokuta Grammar School, and St. Gregory’s College, Lagos, before proceeding to the University of Dublin, where he earned a degree in Anatomy and Physiology in 1936. He also earned a first class degree in Bacteriology and Clinical Medicine in 1940.

In Ireland, he worked as in-house physician at the National Children’s Hospital and the Rotunda Hospital from 1941 to 1942. In 1943, he joined the Federal Government Medical Service as a doctor and established his medical practice. He played key roles in the establishment of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and also founded Saint Nicholas Hospital in Lagos, which opened in March 1968; he died at the same hospital where he was the chairman. He was the personal physician to the then Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

Majekodunmi was elected into the Nigerian Senate in 1960. He was appointed sole administrator of Western Region in June 1962, after a political crisis in the region, holding office in place of the then Premier, Samuel Akintola, until December of that year.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE (December 1912 – January 15, 1966), was a Nigerian politician and the first Prime Minister of an independent Nigeria. Originally a trained teacher, he became a vocal leader for northern interests as one of the few educated northern Nigerians of his time. He was also an international statesman, widely respected across the African continent as one of the leaders who encouraged the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Nicknamed the “Golden Voice of Africa” because of his untrammeled oratory, he stands as a true national hero.

Early life and career

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, born late in 1912 in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi, was the son of a District Head in the Bauchi Divisional District of Lere. According to family oral history, Balewa’s paternal grandfather, Isa, was murdered in front of his family by his rival’s agents. Isa’s widow then took her infant son to Bauchi, where the Madaki of Bauchi took her in. He was his father’s only child. The name of his birthplace was appended to Abubakar’s name (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa). Tafawa Balewa village takes its name from two corrupted Fulani words: “Tafari” (rock) and Baleri (black).

 

To be continued

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