Outcome of The National Conference


Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Paul Mamza




All is set they say, for the proposed national conference. The President had succeeded in bulldozing his ways without minding voice of reasoning and intense dissents by about sixty- four members of house of representatives challenging the constitutionality of the proposed political reforms conference. The lack of genuineness of steps taken so far had tendered serious suspicions and the end-result is predictable. The final report like the un-relentless creative histrionics of the Oputa National Reconciliation Committee Recommendations it is likely to suffer ignorance, the old who predominated the membership will re-enact the old tricks of replaying ambiguities that had perpetually held the nation to ransom by offering weak threads of the unity, nerves will be tempted with high temperatures and the national psyche will once again be deadlocked with a fat rap of a hiatus.


These entire instances are stage – managed for a particular purpose. It is only those at the periphery of the true picture of the script writing that are carried away by the disposition of its surface intents. There’s little hope that representations are punctual with the current feelings of an urge for the departure from the many enticements of vanities created by bad leaderships that has been upgraded to statecraft. The proposed national conference can be likened to an express ticket to a logical scandal arching for a victim of rationality and rationalizations. It is another Jamboree of a carnival of wreck of our scarce resources through some profound shenaniganism. Already there are protestations in many quarters that it is as discriminating as the very problems it intends to address.


The nation again is moving in the cycle of its undoing turning more promptitude of elegant undoing. For those that want to hear we are cajoled into the labyrinth of new moral deformation that is an emerging misfortune. Anyone that expects justice in an unjust society like ours today is a day –dreamer. The Borno Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had protested the list of nominees representing the state in the proposed National Conference, said CAN Borno State " As Christians, we constitute about 40 per cent of the total population. Besides we have produced lawyers, engineers, military officers etc. who have made the state proud in the past" and wondered why a Christian adherent is not reflected in the list that is supposed to be all encompassing. The Borno case of uproar is surprising to me, considering the state’s religion- tolerant status since time immemorial and my belief in some of the issue of the newly–born Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s regime that attracted my attention (being an indigene of the state) in offering hopes of reforms. I had avoided the temptation of judging the new regime in Borno State within the logic of giving more time for judgment. But Bormo cannot be a test case for immoral licking of the nation’s sore limbs. Especially with its traditional religious irredentist-free posture of the past, the present contentions as alleged by Borno CAN will definitely put the Sheriff’s administration to a nagging test. There’s no politician no matter hard he tried that will put Borno State on the moral authority of religious contentions.


The Borno case like many others will offer President Obasanjo with the clue of the enemies of state that the many transgressions of circumstance had created if only for the records. At the same time tender the wider contentions of tolerating injustices from the onset. The Borno Government can peep into the previous nominations into similar national conference in order to see how general feelings within the state were carried on without compromising merit.


Just like Borno, Kwara Circle had it’s own protest against the many contradictions of the nominations. In most cases gender, age, religious and tribal spread was ignored, merit was relegated to the background and antecedents of the nominees not considered as a matter of departure from culpritism. The Abia State chapter of ANPP had made bitter public statements about the exclusion of the Igbo race from the ANPP list of nominees.


These examples is just few out of the large discontents amongst the Nigerian populace. This conforms the earlier fears by discerning minds that it will be just a political jamboree that will yield no meaningful result. Nigeria and Nigerians do not need this type of conference – a conference of deletable national consciousness. It is a wrong step at the wrong time and enforced by wrong societal needs of leadership. The proposed national conference is not different from the 2003 national elections both in concepts and approaches – very selective and pre meditated. It is yet another civilian equivalent of a military coup de‘tat. Like military coup, it had sealed the fate of democratic minds. The preponderance of the clan of P.D.P ruling party it made it a P.D.P affair, a one–man show to be executed by his party faithful in the name of national dialogue. If a right name is to be given an offspring in order to carry the trait of his father, the proposed ‘national dialogue’ is nothing but a national monologue; for Obasanjo, of Obasanjo and by Obasanjo. The various tendencies have already been forcing its ways out prematurely. How can rights be fought for, when equal rights are trampled upon at rehearsal stage? More so the so-called representatives are to decide the future of the country? It is a shabby arrangement with all the caricatures of moral reprehensions. No matter how perfect is the constitution if a rule of law is not installed, the imperfections in the system will prevail. Instead of changing document, we desire changing ourselves for moral reformations.


For examples all the solutions to our problems are already in the archives, all the necessary policy mission directions are documented. We only need to retrieve and implement these documents. Without strong will and abide by fundamental laws of the land on the part of leadership, governance will be helpless and hapless. The issue of corruption is central to these fundamental defaults. We can pontificate of issue of the structure of government and governance, the military, the police, sustainable development and environment, elections and variety of issues that are harmful to our corporate existence and good governance, we can even overhaul the entire structure of government and governance but without overhauling our mind sets which is cultured on corruption, we will be chasing shadows and moving in circles. Corruption here does not mean only stealing public funds but not doing the right thing at the right time within the ambit of law and order. We can design all the enabling laws but without people to observe them, makes the law impotent. A non–corrupt politician or leader under democratic setup is one that abide by the fundamental ideals of democracy that encourages justice, fairness, equity and rule of law.

If the proposed national conference is to divert attention and diffuse tension in the land, the conveners should be explicit in their intentions but to guise it’s capitulation around searching for solutions to the multifaceted problem of the nation is to state the obvious a blatant lie.


As the nation awaits the proposed national conference, Daily Sun of Tuesday, 8th February 2005 ran a headline: We are Dying Balewa’s widows cry out. According to the report. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (remember him?) the late prime minister of the nation who sacrificed to the country was in the news that his family is suffering official neglect. With four wives (Now three because one of the wives died after) left behind only a paltry sum of N100,000.00 is approved for them and the money is not even forthcoming. One of the Balewa’s Son (Alhaji Bala) told Daily Sun that "though thing are not easy with us, we thank God for everything. The death of our father is the will of Allah. But we are suffering". How can our system encourage selflessness in leadership when core values are not appreciated and extolled. The total collapse of our value system had nothing to do with visiting talk-shops but revisiting our conscience. Let this conference be a National Political reformation conference and not a National Political reforms conference, so that after the conference, both the convener and convenes will change their attitudes, once and for all. Only then, can we be convinced that there was a conference, for now I am pessimistic about its outcome. I stand to be corrected.



Mamza Writes from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.



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