Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Human Rights Lawyer, Dr. Sam Amadi, has warned that the way the Nigeria is presently going, it runs the risk of collapsing if it not immediately restructured.
Consequently, Amadi has called for a radical reinvention and institutionalisation of the country as a modern democratic state based on concept of citizenship.
Delivering the First Distinguished Public Lecture of Paul University, Awka, Anambra state with the title: The Constitution, Federal Structure and Governance Challenges in Nigeria, Dr Amadi noted that Nigeria was today at a very difficult time and witnessing the most severe crisis of multidimensional nature.
He said, “Terrorism has made life not worth living. Many could argue that there seems to be no difference anymore between living in Nigeria today and living in Afghanistan as bombs rip through parks and bus-stops, markets and churches and mosques, and kill hundreds. Nigerians believe that their country is much more corrupt than the Transparency International Index may suggest.
“Corruption is now the mode of public and social interaction. The words of Time Magazine writer who said that Nigeria’s leaders are not distinguishable from its criminals and corruption is not an aberration, but a normal mode of governance are not totally off-the-mark.
“Waste in government has led to more poverty and the politics is trapped in stasis. My conclusion is that this dark moment in our history provides a convenient opportunity to break with the past and reestablish the Nigerian state on the new concept of democratic citizenship and its ancillary ideas.
Dr. Amadi who is also a governorship aspirant in Imo State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) said that Nigeria was trapped in yesterday that was defined by undue focus on ethnicity and religious identity and one defined by ceremonial rather than functional leadership.
According to him, “Leadership in Nigeria has always been plagued by the commitment of Nigerian leaders to expropriate the commonwealth for their personal interest. Leadership in Nigeria has always been largely about contest for opportunity to appropriate the resources of the state. This characteristic is underwritten by both the values that defined the conception and establishment of the Nigerian state and its institutional adaptation.
“The crisis of leadership in Nigeria is worsened by the scourge of religious fundamentalism that is fostered by the lack of culture and practice of rule of law and the absence of commitment to protect the rights of citizenship. The effect of these social and political pathologies is that the Nigerian state faces severe crisis of collapse.”
Furthermore, Amadi said, “The political auguries about Nigeria look dismal. The political parties are yet to rise up to the challenge of clear and decisive departure from the politics of the past.
“The political parties look more like platforms for aggregating resources to attack the Nigerian state and loot its resources rather than ideological movements to save Nigeria from destructive crises. None of the political parties are thinking outside the box to create a Nigeria that will not be amenable to raping and plundering of its resources.
“These parties are always reluctant to move away from unprofitable focus on seeing Nigeria as a loose amalgamation of ethnic and religious groups rather than as a modern democratic state defined by inviolable commitment to cater for the social, economic and political well-being of every citizen.
“The Future Nigeria must be rooted in a social framework that enables the nation to solve its social and economic problems and remain stable. It must be rooted in a set of values, rules and institutions that enable the country to compete with the rest of the world in a fast changing global economy. We must be a nation that survives in the future because we have built ourselves to last.
“My basic conclusion is that the problem with Nigeria is that the basic logic and structure of its governance is neo-feudal, theocratic and aristocratic instead of being democratic and secular, and its salvation requires a radical reinvention and institutionalization as a modern democratic state based on an enriched and lived concept of citizenship.
“Nigeria was ill-defined during the transition from colonial rule to independence. The country’s institutions created in that period were of such character as does not make it a democratic modern state.
“The political development in Nigeria, whether conceived as development of state institutions or the practices of public leadership, has reinforced those pathologies that arise from this ill-definition and malformation.
“The wrong concept at the heart of the failure of leadership in Nigeria is neo-feudal in character. It is the insistence on building the Nigerian nation on the basis privilege and exemptions from the universal requirements of civic democratic nation-state.