When the great literary Icon, Charles Dickens wrote the book titled the “Great Expectation” many years ago, little did he know that he was also making some political postulations about Africa and Nigeria.
In Africa, there are great expectations from our leaders after the colonial masters was chased out of power in some countries. The Young African rulers predicted brighter future for its citizenry but it is difficult to fulfill such promise especially a situation where some of our African leaders are full of greed, accumulation of wealth and the zeal to continue in office even if they are not projecting the people’s programme.
When a journalist calls Robert Guest wrote the book titled “The Shackled Continent,” he is simply explaining the power, corruption and many undemocratic policies found on the continent of Africa despite the rich mineral resources found in some of the African States.
However, the power shift in Nigeria was done with much interface and negotiations with the colonial masters. The colonization of Africa by both the British and French governments did not have any handout as they simply ruled by self intuition and the desire to please the Queen of England. That is why the British rule in Nigeria was quite different from other Black African Countries. The Lord Lugard marriage of the two separate protectorates without their prior consent was evil indeed.
Right now, Africans are left in their own hands to solve the riddle and drive poverty. Marginalization, diseases, oppression and corruption far among us. On 3 February, 2014, the American government offered to assist Nigeria to help minimize corruption or eradicate it if possible. This is based on the huge financial lost experienced by Nigerian since after Independent, as both the military and our political leaders have failed to give us the gains of democracy.
While slavery is immoral, it is implausible to blame it for all Africa’s modern problems. Notwithstanding, the dreaded South-African Apartheid have a rebirth.
On the modalities, of the proposed National Conference, the Federal Government has within the week approved 492 delegates, representing all shades of opinion and interest groups nationwide. Out of which the President will nominate 46, while all the Governors will nominate 108 delegates. Five major political parties such as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP), and Accord Party (AC) would send 10 delegates comprising two (2) nominees each.
After the Apartheid regime in South Africa, the ANC invoked what is call the policy of positive discrimination, it is believed that government should favour certain ethnic groups, especially those who have been discriminated against in the past. On this note I strongly advocate that the proposed National Conference should be used to reposition Nigeria and remove the smaller ethnic groups from the fangs of the vampiric state we are currently in.
Recently, the Pan Niger Delta Conference (PNDC) organized in Port Harcourt by the cross section of the Niger Delta suggested some of the way out of the Nigeria’s woes and the economic strangulation of those that produce the resources that keep the country blossom but wallow in poverty. Some of the following resolutions were suggested, that the people of Niger Delta welcome the National Conference that the primary aim of the Confab is to restructure Nigeria into a truly federal state where the component units have political autonomy.
That the nomination to the National Conference should be based on ethnic nationalities, that the National Conference should culminate in a new constitution for Nigeria, which should be basis for the conduct of the next general election etc. The questions is, between the divisibility of the country which is of course a “no go area” there is the chance to discuss resource control at the National Conference which is the Great Expectation of the Niger Delta People.
People should not express phobia for the proposed National Conference as far as it will bring the desired justice, however, a one time military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, recently said there is nothing to fear about the conference, even if the country is divided, unfortunately it is the “No go Area”.
On the government angle some of the following decisions have been outline;
The National Conference shall tentatively last for 3 months and shall discuss any subject matter, except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation; therefore the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
Decisions at the National Conference shall be consensus, but where it is not achievable; it shall be by 75% majority.
The National Conference shall advice the Government on the legal framework, legal procedures and options for integrating the decisions and outcomes of the National Conference into the Constitution and Laws of the country.
In conclusion, if all opinions, discussions, ethnic group presentations, individuals and the generality of the decision are respected during and after the conference, Nigeria will be a better place to live.
By Pius Dukor