When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty, By Opeyemi Timothy Oyeleke

The Nigerian society is very vast, large and homogeneous in nature. It consists of numerous ethnic and tribal groups, languages, culture, customs and traditions, etc. Each regions, states, local governments, town, cities, villages and communities have their distinctive peculiarities. The solution to Area A is probably not effectively applicable to Area B. Thus, this left us with the mindset of not using the answer to question A to justify question B. If that should be the case, Nigerian government should be conscious of the fact that when solving issues pertaining to their society, “relative solution” should be put into place as regards the targeted area or communities as the case may be. We cannot solve a problem without identifying its root or source.

For us to provide solutions, we must first recognise the issue confronting that particular society else, our solution will be faulty and fruitless. States in Nigeria has unique problem affecting her and the Federal Government should take cognizance of this fact because this will help them to solve all possible issues befalling the nation as a whole.

It is worthy of note that over the years, Nigerian leaders claim to know and understand that, they’ve located the source, but we are yet to see the outcome of their claimed discovery despite all resolutions and submissions being made in all national conferences being held. Though they might have discovered it, but the question is why they are yet to implement their possible solution? Or do they lack the political will?

We have been battling with the issue of insecurity for years, lives are being lost and properties are being confiscated.

Thus, the victims would be left with sincere condolences, advocacy for fortitude to bear the lost subsequently, people mourn, discussion follows and with time people forget about it and the vicious circle continues. Security is very cogent to any society. In fact, no one will perform as they should in a land where security is not assured and guaranteed. The brutal massacre and killing of people in every segment of the country are so incredulous and preposterous; the attack of herdsmen in every segment of the federation which, for example, led to the death ofAfenifere chieftain, Fasoranti’s daughter; several lives lost in Abuja on Christmas day and on New Year’s day 2018, killings in the Northern, Eastern and North-western states etc. This dents the effort, commitment, and dedication of the Federal Government on the issue of security.

Unemployment has now become a normal phenomenon in the country; millions of students every year graduate from higher institutions without securing a job. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and National Population Commission (NPS) in 2018, the youth constitute at least 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population. Yet, no job opportunities for them; out of the Nigerian population of 80 million, representing 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population, 64 per cent of them are unemployed while 1.6 million of those working are underemployed; or can we say graduates working under the bridge are employed? Employment is not just having a paid work but a situation where your work is adding value to the economic performances of the country.

The little ones available are being politicised: it would never be announced and published openly that there is job opportunities in public companies like Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Ports PLC, etc. Recruitment is now based on favoritism (undue favour), tribalism, and ethnocentrism, which are lending credence to the ineffectiveness of some sectors, companies and organisations in the country. Money that is meant for public usage, for example, infrastructural development, provision of social services and construction of good roads are being siphoned into their personal accounts, mismanaged and misappropriated. Underfunding or poor funding of crucial sectors and institutions (for example, education sector, health-care sector, paramilitary agencies, etc), stimulation of importation of goods and restrictions of exportation of goods which render our local products useless, dependency on one major source of income, oil and gas since 1970s. Many industries have been shut down as a result of unstable power supply, etc. After independence, we hoped for a good and better Nigeria after many years of slavery and exploitation by the colonial folks, since leaders will be elected among the people. But it’s been so cantankerous that our dreams are being sabotaged, our representatives suddenly became a giant whale that abort hopes of good catch, giant hawks that cut short and cut off lofty visions and aspirations and a Saber-toothed tiger that scarily frustrates, oppresses, and molests the lower class citizens, divert nation’s wealth and share national cake among themselves.

The recent #RevolutionNow march spearheaded by Omoyele Sowore, according to him, was aimed at bringing about a new Nigeria; eradicating bad governance that could not dance to the tune of its citizens and solve the problem confronting the nation for years. According to the facilitators of the #RevolutionNow, the march was of three phases, which is to end the anti-people economic policies, end the special privileges given to the ruling class and return the political power and nation’s wealth to the hands of the working class respectively. However, this brought about discrepancies of opinion among legal practitioners. Maybe, the protests are lawful or unlawful and between and among individuals; maybe, it is purposeful or purposeless and maybe that’s what Nigeria needs at the moment. The question is: Do we take to cognizance of the factors put into consideration before this group arrived at their hard-line position?

Succinctly, in brevity, it is very glaring that the “intention” of the protest was what Nigeria needs to get to her desired and promising future; years have been wasted. The truth of the matter is that the instigation of the #RevolutionNowmarch will keep the government on its toes; make them accountable, responsive, and alive to their duties, and gives them a sense of responsibility to those that have elected them into respective public offices, since over the years government are not responding to the demands of the citizens.

The level of the rationalisation of injustice is skyrocketing in the country. When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes a duty. When the reason for the law ceases, law ceases. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matters to us – Martin Luther King. A public office-holder would be guilty of embezzlement of the societal fund, yet would be granted bail in the court of law. But, if one of the masses is caught while stealing just a N1,000 note, the court order for his sentence. This is a sad commentary on the so-called “rights permitted civilian government.” Injustice to one is injustice to all, and everyone is a victim of this high-handedness. Court that is meant to be the last hope of a common man has become the best hope of the corrupt rich and influential man. For we to know how bad things are in the country: How can public institutions that are meant to protect and safeguard the will, interest and demands of the citizen be used to act otherwise, contrary to the purpose for which they were created? Imagine, under a supposed democratic government, those the masses used their power to elect are giving orders to public institutions to arrest citizens for expressing their grievances, dissatisfaction and discontentment. Leadership of the country under a supposed umbrella of a democratic setting, which is however, contrary to Chapter 4 and chapter 5 of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

This is for us all to know the state of things in the country. Many are being detained in their custody. These detentions are unlawful and also grave violations to the writ of habeas corpus. The Federal Government need to be reminded that the apprehension of Omoyele Sowore, the convener of “#RevolutionNow protest” and some other concerned citizens will not stop Nigerians from agitating for good governance, because that is what we want

Lots have been said by individuals and groups advocating and clamouring for good governance. Some are of the opinion that restructuring is a better way out while some believe that secession is the way out. The way forward is that the FG should deem it fit to regionalise the police force. That is, to create formidable State and Local Government security agencies, police force, disciplinarian forces, etc. This, however, tends to secure and protect more lives and properties in the country. Also, representatives at the lowest level of government should be carried along; that is the local government council, traditional rulers and community leaders in order for them to disseminate valid information and report to the FG. In case of any crises, chaos or civil unrest, the sub-unit of government cannot handle, so they can intervene. With this, the country will be more protected, since they are agencies in all segments of the federation. Moreover, the personnel’s should be properly trained, adequately funded and should not be used for an egoistic interest so as to fulfill its purposes.

Employment opportunities should be created by the government; the total number of graduates in search of job in Nigeria is more than many countries population in the world. Youths engage in lots of negative activities as result of unemployment, because economic need is the most fundamental need of man and, man by nature must eat to live and survive and must work to acquire basic necessities of life. The detrimental effect of unemployment will cause criminal activities to appreciate, not to depreciate, in the absence of growth and development. However, the country should also promote locally-made products and also invest more in it. The estimated population of Netherlands is14.06 million, a country whose population is less than the population of Lagos State, subsidise mostly agriculture-related industries; yet is one of the richest countries of the European Union (EU) and they are feeding many nations of the world. The Federal Government should invest largely on agriculture also. Since the discovery and exploration of oil in 1956 and also subsequent joining of OPEC in 1971, Nigeria forgot their heritage (agriculture), and oil and gas constitute at least 50 per cent of her source of income. We seem to forget that majority of the things this generation is enjoying is from the investment of agriculture before the 1970s, when we were operating a regional government and each region subsisted on locally-made products. For example, in the Western Region focused on cocoa and coffee. Thus, this stimulates the establishment of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in 1962, Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) on October 31, 1956, Free Education in 1955, and establishment of Cocoa Industry in Ibadan, etc. In the Eastern Region, palm oil was the major source of income and exchange to the extent that Malaysia came to Nigeria to obtain palm seedlings. These investments, however, lead to establishments like University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1955 and cement factory, etc. In the Northern Region, groundnut, cotton, mining, hides and skin which led to the establishment of Ahmadu Bello University in October 4, 1962, etc. In the Mid-western Region, rubber was the means of generating revenue; they make latex and other things with the rubber production and subsequently a lot of remarkable achievements.

The consequences of we neglecting our heritage expose our economy to external influences, especially by the industrialised countries; including IMF and World Bank through policy prescriptions that are inimical for our economy, lack or absence of industrial base for the country, food insecurity, over reliance on importation of consumable goods, such as rice. Farming has been pictured to be a malicious, disgusting and unfashionable profession. For example, if a Nigeria student is asked if he/she wants to become a farmer: we will hardly find a few to confidently raise their hands. We are also blessed with land. Therefore, we should invest in what we have. This, in return, will increase the well-being of the people as well as the productivity of the country, thereby increasing the GDP and GNP.

Each sub-unit of the country should primarily depend on their internally-generated revenue, not allocation from the superior authorities. Federal allocation should be an additional and supporting source for special purposes, for example, luxurious capital projects, and not payment of salaries, because as a worker, your labour should fetch you wages and salaries. This will facilitate and enhance rapid growth at the lowest rung of government to the highest, and the yardstick for measurement should be from the local government to the national government.

We should not forget our differences but recognise and understand it. A son of nobody should be able to become somebody without anybody; people should be recruited into respective posts or offices based on technical competence, abilities, capabilities and potentialities, among others; opportunities should be given to all, based on meritocracy; not on regional sentiment or religion. The well-being of the people should be primary to Nigerian government, not otherwise. I believe that the best in us is still to come and the government should aim for better governance. Regardless of the party at the helms of affairs, there should be continuity in governance. That is, the act of continuing from where the former administration stopped, and not destroying what had been done. Now is the time for a better change in the country.

•Oyeleke writes from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife.

Source News Express

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