A student intending to write on “how not to run modern states” will find current the Nigeria as an open expo. Nigeria is a wonky system. It has never been this bad.
The eggheads who propounded the theories of “Separation of powers” “Checks and Balances” and the “Rule of Law” did not vision a country like Nigeria.
The intentions of the noble scholars were noble. Alas! Their labours seem to be in vain in our clime.
Students could recite these theories and frisk them in an out. Theses on them could fly from the four cardinal points and the students could even bag the ultimate grades. Deep down in them, they know that in reality, they have not adhered. They are mere lips expressions……mere academic exercises. Where on earth is there a bigger rascality? Where is that country where the head of the executive arm carries on with the type of impunity that we have around us?
To ensure a smooth flow of the various arms of government, the constitution unambiguously outlined the role and functions of each arm. Those who put the laws in black and white obviously envisaged a clash, hence the checks and balances. The constitution is also very loud on the consequences. As in what should happen to anyone who decides to break the law by abusing the laid down procedures. The Rule of law as propounded by A.V Dicey is not rocket science. “The law is no respecter of persons. Everyone is equal before the law” If anyone decides to act with impunity should he or she escape with no bite from the law? It ought not to be so.
Over the years, the exact opposite has been our second skin. Most elites are lawless. They break the laws and get away with it. The law has become like the cobwebs that are always swift in picking the weak and very weak in picking the strong. This is one of the reasons we are still a nation of jokers.
Though Nigeria has always been so, one think that the era of change was going to return the country to a tabula rasa…..to a clean slate where all will be equal before the law, where the arms of govt will respect the constitution and work for the ultimate good of country and countrymen and ensure that deviants are punished.
The pushers and promoters of change have turned out to be fiercest slaughterers of sanity. The executive sports in disobeying valid court orders, the Attorney general refused to educate his principal that an order from a judge, even if the drunk is supposed to be obeyed until the contrary is ordered by a higher court. Is that how to run a country?
The constitution eloquently states that no money SHALL be spent outside appropriation. The Legislative arm is vested with the powers to appropriate. What have we seen? An executive that has no regards for the arm that supposed to directs or approves its spending. On the other hand, the legislative arm that supposed to sanction the executive is helpless. It is beclouded by politics, party and ethnic affiliations. So, the impunity continues.
What have we not seen? Those who lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan when he refused to sanction Ms Aruma Oteh as directed by the 7th National Assembly now see nothing wrong with president Buhari trampling on due process. There is no place for “anticipatory approval ” in the constitution. If the president of Nigeria spent almost 500 Million USD without following due process, it is gross misconduct that supposed to land the president in big trouble. Alas! it is being treated as a party affair.
The Senate has the powers to summon any public officer for purpose of investigation or…….
It summoned the inspector general of police and he shunned it. The same Senate recently lamented to the president that the major reason why the 2018 budget is not progressing rapidly is that most of his appointees are not cooperating with the various committees. They flatly refused to appear before them to defend their spendings and proposals. Who runs a country like that?
Prof. Itse Sagay, Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali had all rubbished the Senate. The citizens that ought to align with the constitution to make the executive to end this impunity and rascality are either aloof or partisan. Can we grow like this?
The ground has long shifted beneath strong men. Ideas and strong institutions now rule the world. The Executive, legislature and the judiciary must be independent. The separation of powers, checks and balances and the rule of law ensure that none of the arms steps on the other. They should be adhered to. Its high time we axed these notorieties, impurities and impunity. Let there be a turnaround. Let sanity prevails now or we all see our country becoming a banana republic. The executive especially should appreciate the fact that in Democracy, might and impunity are better kept perpetually in abeyance. Let rascality and the rascals in govt dissolve forever. The citizens should also discard aloofness and partisanship. A sane society will be for the betterment of all. If we continue like this as a country and as a people, Armageddon and cataclysm are going to come upon our dear country. Then, it will be too late to patch the tube.
Comr. Oscar Okhifo is a public Affairs commentator based in Abuja.