Between the Nigerian Constitution and Political Reality.


The American Constitution gave an insight as to how to curtail the powers of overbearing Presidents. At no time did that cliché proved truer than in this era of outgoing president Donald Trump who abused everything —but was kept in check by the Constitution of the United States of America. It is that country’s constitution that gave them respite—and reprieve. Otherwise, Donald Trump would have unilaterally subverted the will of the people. In America’s moment of need –or darkest hour, the Constitution came to their rescue. That’s why it is impossible not to dream in that country. In what they called the “American dream”, you could aspire to become anything, provided you have the potentials. Not so in the African continent where a combination of deadly self-contrived factors would not only cast your ambition down but also crush your dreams.  In most African countries you dare not dream, otherwise, you may be imprisoned, beaten, and jailed. On the other hand, you may find your ambition destroyed by strange interpretation of politics with jargons such as “homegrown democracy”, “quota system”, nepotism”, “ethnic consideration” and worse still “body language” of the president. In Togo for example, the Eyadema family has ruled for as long as they like only manipulating the constitution to suit their desire. In Uganda, 45 protesters were recently killed for daring to oppose the 33 years of iron rule of President Yoweri Museveni. In Ivory Coast, Alhassan Qattara has extended his reign into the third term by also juggling the Constitution. In Nigeria, it is the “body language “of the president leaders try to read before taking crucial decisions. So far, this has not yielded the desired incentives as only the privileged seem to profit. From the Executive, the legislature, and the Judiciary, no one dare oppose the body language of the president. This is what has given rise to impunity, nepotism, and the rise of mediocrity in governance. “A lot of people who are supposed to retire are given extended service mostly due to ethnic considerations”, said a source privy with the workings of government. “No one gets appointed anymore into the political office without these considerations”, disclosed the source. How Nigeria came to this bend is unthinkable, but appears to be the norm as a section of the country enjoys more government patronage than the others. “Now we have a situation of insecurity and the whole nation is paying for it”, said the same source who prefers anonymity. “In any security challenge, there is no Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa, and that is what our leaders should always have in mind”, the source added. Nevertheless, until the Constitution is accorded its rightful position, it is doubtful if much could be achieved. The Constitution is there to guide us, not to separate us; if the Constitution is properly administered as it is in the United States, everybody will be satisfied. “Not here where they resort to hate speech—whatever that means—to brand opposition to negative government policies”, the source concludes.