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Nigeria’s need for ideological reappraisal

By Ayodele Fagbohun


For good, purposeful and sustainable democracy to take root, thrive and flourish in Nigeria, the ongoing ailing and nebulous political experiment which the previous military adventurism foisted on us must be denounced and jettisoned wholesale in all its ramifications.

Our political search for a new, enduring and pragmatic democracy must be anchored and firmly rooted and enchored on clear cut political philosophy or ideology cast on flamboyant rich historical background not only to promote socio-political well being of the country but accelerate national development and material happiness of the people traumatized by long misbegotten ruthless military misrule and oligarchy.

This was the aftermath of the misguided  January 16, 1966 revolution led by major Kaduna Njeokwu and few other young revolutionaries in the Nigeria Army. The revolution and its bright prospect which would have bailed out Nigeria from sheer misrule of both Khaki and civilian politicians were nipped in the bud by purely military adventures in politics.

Alas, the protracted forlorn and pervare military rule benefit of any ideological framework for viable political arrangement for the country constituted profound political nightmare and mirage on steady growth of ideologically oriented political parties which normally guarantees a stable party politics and its ancillary rapid political advancement as practiced in United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) to mention just two notable western democracies.

It is now expedient on the ruling political parties gallivanting for power all over the place to quickly evolve relevant and acceptable political ideologies either socialism or capitalism, two prominent, well known “Ism”, to articulate modus operandi, to restructure the badly arranged corrupt, ruptured federalism willfully foisted on the successive administrations on the eve of military handover.

The military dictatorship and autocracy which handed over a failed constitution steeped in nebulous, violent, impracticable and visionless pseudo federalism must not be regarded as “fait accompli”

The present generation of politicians should be up to the task and call the bluff of our erstwhile military dictators and oppressors; and deploy shout political action and right ideology or political philosophy to change the old, and mocking narratives, and re write the history to conform to best practice of good government world over.

It is imperative for its politicians to bestir themselves from mental inertia and political stupor; and be public spirited, intellectually formidable and imbued with political comprehension and spiritual depth to turn around the socio-economic and political fortunes of the people, and guarantee safety of lives and property throughout the length and breadth of the federation.

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It is sine qua non for the ruling party to develop and declare an ideology or political philosophy as a panacea to all perceived political and economic ills of the society.

Perhaps, political party becomes the most reliable and virile instrument for promoting ideology.

For instance, Democratic socialism, a political philosophy articulated by Obafemi Awolowo of Action Group (AG) of Nigeria, and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) were involved to galvanise populist free education, social welfare programmes and other development schemes which put the Western axis of the country on the frontline of development  and far ahead the rest of Nigeria.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sekon Toure of Guinea popularized different home grown ideologies clothed in personality cult, aura and enigma translated to better the rural dwellers and the entire countryside.

I must emphasize that Kwame Nkrumah fully utilized his political party, Convention People’s Party (CPP) in Ghana in truly mobilizing the entire hoipolloi which engendered grandswell support for his masses-oriented programmes and policies.

No wonder, the masses of the republic of Ghana amost deified Nkrumah as the political redeemer, the “Osaigyefo” of Ghana.

President Julius Nyerere could not be easily forgotten by the toiling masses, the dregs of the society of Tanzania. Nyerere made humble and impactful contribution through his “self help” (Ujumas) policy in transforming a great and vast majority of Tanzanian masses who fervidly applauded him as “Nwalimu” i.e. great teacher or the giver of truth” to the level of hero-worshipping.

Briefly stated, ideology defines goals of public activity as national unity, social transformation and relations with other states. It alerts followers injustices and to qualities in society deserving modifications of eradication, as Nehru’s socialist pattern of society which criticised castelism, social inequality and religious backwardness.

Against this back drop, it is opposite to justapose, reflect on the defining political philosophy and the two universally acclaimed and popular ideologies viz capitalism and socialism viz-a-vis the one which is appropriate to address and redress the socio-political and constitutional anomalies facing the country at this material time.

The constitutions of practically all western country confirm that capitalist ideology is the ownership by a few of the factors of production of these societies.

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On the other hand, socialism has been to develop on the basis of self-reliance, proletarian and scientific planning.

Socialism accelerated development, since the profits accrued by the productive forces in the society go into national coffers. These funds are chanelled to free education, free medical care, low-cost housing, etc.

Under capitalism, such funds and profits go into private hands, thereby enabling a tiny   infinitesimal minority to indulge in criminal luxury, ostentatious living, while the masses, the producers of the profits, are left to wallow in misery squalor, disease, superstition and abject poverty.

Since attainment of political independence in October 1, 1960, our politicians inherited an economy dictated by the whims, caprices and pleasure of British imperialism which was brazen capitalist-oriented, pure and simple.

The politicians at the helm-of-affairs were benefit of correct ideological orientation and gross incapacity  to manage and run independent and sovereign government. There at the helm were buccaneers who pillaged the economy, the life wire of any nation to the detriment of the nation and without giving respite for the producers, toiling masses for the comfort of those few political and social vermins.

It is high time Nigeria as a sovereign nation, was extricated from the strangle hold of the neo-colonialists who are now commissioned agents and proxies of the ex-colonial master. Over the years, those neo-colonialists have profiteered immeasurably and munificently on our national wealth and resources leaving the rest of the country hovers of wood and drawers of water.

As a result of this naked self interest, painlessness and wicked inter play of capitalism, which is the basis of policy of laissez faire in government business, the increasingly growing population of have-nots and toiling masses are stinkingly impoverished, dejected and enlisted into an army of restive youth, against the state.

To avert the cataclysm and imminent  collapse of Nigeria as an indivisible and indissoluble political entity, the federal government led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu should aggressively pursue socialism –inclined political ideology and philosophy premised on practice of true federalism, no matter whose horse is gored. The political will must be there right now or never!

According to Professor Akin Oyebade, a renown Professor of law and acclaimed political scientists, socialism has been to develop on the basis of self reliance, proletarian internationalism and scientific planning. Suffice to say, that imperialist wars, plunder, slave trade and gun-boat diplomacy are not inherent in socialist development.

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It is very pertinent to reiterate that federalism is the only basis on which the entire country, given its diversity and pluralism, could be effectively organized and governed on the formulae of linguistic affinity.

According to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “The organization of the country into constituent states should be on a linguistic basis; provided however that (i) no one or two sates shall be so large in size and population as to be able to overrule the other states and bend the will of the federal government to their own and (ii) no other state shall be so small as to be unable to maintain inn its independence within the sphere of functions allotted to it”

It stands to reason therefore that men and women of proven integrity imbued with right ideological and political philosophy, honesty, courage, public spiritedness and comprehensions must of necessity be at the helm to skillfully run the affairs of the great country at this crucial juncture of our nationhood.

The fears of mutual  ethnic mistrust, suspicion and undue rivalries will be permanently obliterated and stamped out in the public life of the country, thereby giving fillip and momentum to greater cause of national integration, unity and progress devoid of corruption.

To lend further credence that federation is the panacea for unity and progress of Nigeria, as a multi-racial, ethnic and religious nation, professor K.C Wheare, an eminent jurist and erudite scholar of international repute, candidly expressed constitutional view as follows:-

“Indeed, it is usually a matter of surprise that union is possible at all, amongst the communities which differ in language, race, religion or nation.”

This is food for through, to be pondered upon amongst the irredeemable ethnic irredentists who are congenitally chauvinistic to have a rethink on how we can ignominiously work out a suitable federal constitution for the United States of Nigeria as a virile resilient sovereign nation for the unborn generations like the United States of America (US)

This is the ultimate goal for all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora! So, may it be oh! God!!

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