The leadership of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law has always maintained that the best way to measure or assess the records or performances of public governance in Nigeria carried out by successive and present Federal and State Governments, whether military, civilian or diarchy, since the country’s independence in 1960, is to embark on factual, realistic and comparative assessment of Nigeria with its peers in South America, Asia, Middle East and some African countries. Such comparative governance assessors must also be grounded with what modern public governance is all about or its core essence.
By Nigeria’s peers in South America, Asia and its Southeast, Middle East and its gulf region, and some African countries; they are those countries that got their independences in the same era or decade with Nigeria or those that shared same or lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National Product (GNP) as well as parity or lower income per capita with Nigeria in the 60s and 70s. Some of those countries include Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Omar, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, Botswana, Ghana, Angola, South Africa, etc.
Most importantly, the assessors must fully be grasped and grounded with the core pillars or foundations of modern governance which are rested on facilitation at all times of greatest happiness to the greatest number of citizens through provision, delivery and maintenance of key public infrastructures and tangible and intangible social developments and services (i.e. security, safety, welfare, health, education, jobs, leisure and recreation, protection of citizens’ core values such as ethnic identities, religion and right of existence); human rights and rule of law (i.e. equality and non discrimination before the law, supremacy of the constitution or mother law and respect and protection of citizens’ constitutional rights/liberties); equitable and non dominant allocation of the public or collective resources, public institutions and appointments or public offices; total absence of three hydra headed monsters, namely: physical or direct, structural and cultural violence; and above all, promotion and institutionalization of public and individual moral decency in public governance and among the elected and appointed public office holders in the country or any part thereof.
Totality of these is called international best practices in modern public governance. It must be remembered and pointed out clearly too that modern public governance was parented by Social Contract, designed by modern thinkers for the purpose of earthly and humanly tame or control the wickedness of human beings against fellow human beings and the environment so as not to make life and the living short, nasty, brutish, dominant and dictatorial. These explain why the Social Contract or public governance and its dos and don’ts were put in place by modern thinkers.
The Social Contract, it must be emphasized, was inspired by the Holy Book’s instruction- do to others what you will want them do to you and refrain from doing to them what you will not do to them. The historical Social Contract is dated back to several centuries and became globally popular and recognized in 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century ADs. It was particularly popularized by the great philosophical works of the trio of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704) and Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778); resulting to 1689 enactment of British Bill of Rights, 1776 American Independence declaration and 1789 French Declaration of the Right of Man and the Citizens, etc.
To Jean Jacques Rousseau, man was indeed born free, but everywhere in chains. For Thomas Hobbes, the happiness of man in a society has been gripped by fear of violent death in the hands of another. The two great philosophers favored a society in which the society and its people were sovereign and free leading to a community where a group of free individuals agree for the sake of their common (social contract) good and protection to form institutions to govern themselves. John Locke added more popularity to the greatness of Social Contract.
In his 1690 famous book called the Second Treatise of Civil Government, John Locke saw and called for a situation where a free, equal and independent people agreed to be governed in return for certain secure enjoyment for their individual rights, which the courts and police powers of a government can enforce leading to every free individual having a moral right to be protected from arbitrary interference by government or other individuals, of his or her sacred rights. These reinforce the legal philosophy of man’s equality in dignity and rights and inevitable justifications for their protection by a limited government.
It is therefore important to inform that it is from the great philosophical work of John Locke that a leading American independence campaigner, Thomas Jefferson, who later became the third President of the United States (1743-1826), took his country’s independence declaration’s speech of July 6, 1776. The most popular part of the speech says and we quote:
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men (and women) are created equal and endowed with certain natural and inalienable rights, and most important being of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And to protect these rights, men set up government whose authority rests on their consent. And whenever a government ceases to do what it has been set up for, its citizens have a right to change it or its order and put in place a new government or a new order that will provide for their safety and happiness”.
Following from the foregoing therefore, it is extremely important for those conscientious Nigerians and Nigeria’s regional and international counterparts to at all times have the above grand or fundamental governance measurement or assessment yardsticks at hands before venturing into performance assessment of any central or unit (State) government in Nigeria particularly the present Buhari Administration that has marked two years in office.
It is also very important for assessors to always ask and find answers to: what is Nigeria’s present state of public health, education, safety, security, citizens’ welfare and protection, economy, electricity power, employment, provision and maintenance of key public infrastructures, in comparison with those of Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Omar, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, Botswana, Ghana, Angola, South Africa?
Others are what is Nigeria’s state of industry and its policy, agriculture, foreign direct investments, inter ethnic and religious protection and coexistence, human rights, rule of law and access to justice, public and individual moral decency, all in comparison with those of Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Omar, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, Botswana, Ghana, Angola, South Africa?
The rest of such mandatory questions required of credible assessors of public governance in Nigeria of the Buhari’s Presidency are what are the citizens’ living and practical attitudes towards the present governance of Nigeria? Are there high rates of rural-urban drift or migration, brain drain, human capital and material flights, internal conflict related and non conflict related or starvation/hunger forced citizens’ displacements? Are there steady increases or decreases of citizens’ militancy and restiveness? Are there high increases or decreases in arms and militancy proliferations in Nigeria? Is there rampancy of direct or physical, structural and cultural violence in Nigeria, and if yes, what are the attitudes of the present central government towards them? Are these direct, structural and cultural violence created or sponsored by government? Which section or ethnic nationality or nationalities or religious bodies are targeted or made age long victims of the three hydra headed monster violence and why?
Is the present central government a truly democratic government or a diarchy or militarized civil space? What are the present composition and sharing formulae of the present central government in Nigeria as they concern public resources, institutions and appointments? Are they equitably or fairly composed or shared among the country’s six geopolitical zones and in accordance with Section 14 (3) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution? Is Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution being protected, upheld and respected at all times and non-selectively by the present central government?
How far have the present government in Nigeria gone in obedience to court orders and pronouncements? Have more innocent citizens being killed extra judicially by the present government or murdered by government oiled armed opposition groups and criminal citizens than any other government in Nigeria since 1960 or even since 1999? Has the present government in Nigeria promoted, defended and protected the constitutional, regional and international rights of the Nigerian citizens as mandated by the Constitution, regional and international law enactments willingly accepted and adopted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
How many Nigerian citizens are happy today under the present central government? Has the present central government ensured greatest happiness to greatest number of Nigerian citizens through its governance policies, directions, pronouncements, conducts, projects execution and provision and delivery of social services, tangible and intangible democracy dividends including key public infrastructures? Does Nigeria really have a democratic government under the present central government or a diarchic, kleptomania, mafiaso, alarmist and deceitful government?
What is the morality and integrity placement of the public office holders of the present central government in Nigeria particularly its executive public office holders, in credible comparison with their counterparts in Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Omar, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, Botswana, Ghana, Angola, South Africa? Is it not correct to say that the present central government in Nigeria is a government composed of and operated by the doyens of corruption?
That is to say that the two years in office of the central government of Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari is nothing but first of the firsts in failed governance records and measurements since Nigeria and its annexed ethnic nationalities regained its independence from the British led western colonial masters and mistresses on 1st October 1960 as well as since its return to civilian rule on 29th May 1999, which is 17yrs today. It is very important to point out that the assessment of any tenured civilian government is properly done or started at its beginning or foundational stage; which is also why every democratic government is mandatorily made to pass a fundamental test of input (foundation) and output (outcome) legitimacy.
It is saddening and disastrous that the present central Government of Muhammadu Buhari cannot be correctly measured or rated in any way as it concerns international best practices in matters of public governance and its fundamentals. As a matter of fact, its failure is a triple digit one. For instance, the Buhari Administration brought gangsterism and mafiocracy into public central governance in Nigeria and have them gravely institutionalized. It parades the largest number of doyens of corruption, yet it claims to be "fighting corruption".
Corruption under the Buhari Administration has also given birth to a twin in the persons of legitimized or codified and open source corruption. It budgets and squanders N500M in each of the last two budget seasons on "Aso Rock Computers" and we have kept wondering what type and quantity of computers that are installed in Aso Rock every year that gulps N500M and made annually replaceable. This is also owing to the fact that e-governance or e-public service; just like e-security and e-intelligence is the cheapest form of conducting governance or securization affairs in the world. The N1billion (N500M for each of the two years) "spent on Aso Rock computers" in two years can comfortably build 20 modern public secondary schools for the educationally denied Alamajaris (Alamajarai) of the north at N50M each.
The Buhari Administration is also the most indebted Federal Government in Nigeria and has borrowed and misapplied more than other any past federal government in Nigeria. To its disastrous credit, it has borrowed over $20 billion since its inception in mid 2015 and another $20 billion is already penciled down for borrowing between now and end of the forthcoming 2018 fiscal or budget period. The huge loans have no miniature or minutest positive impact on the generality of Nigerians in terms of power energy, economy, health, education, industrialization, direct foreign investments, income per capita, security, safety and welfare and provision and delivery of social services and other tangible and intangible democracy dividends including key infrastructures to Nigerians.
The human rights records of the Buhari Administration are nothing to write home about and worst in the history of non civil war Nigeria since 1960. This is in spite of the Government’s assemblage of most of the country's leading human rights activists who have now become defenders of human rights abuses and abusers. More innocent and unarmed Nigerians totaling over 11,200 have been killed extra judicially or murdered or tortured under the past two years of Buhari Administration. This is far more than those killed under any other government in Nigeria since 1960 and even 1999.
The Buhari Administration has also grossly bastardized Nigeria’s democratic civil space and militarized same in the form of diarchy style of government. The Administration is the most misleading and lying government in the history of Nigeria. Its foreign direct investments profile and performance is at ground zero with allied industrialization policy, economic growth and development negatively immeasurable.
The joblessness and unemployment level under the Administration has soared irremediably. The rates of brain drain, human and material capital flights, rural-urban drift or migration and urban refugees have reached an alarming stage and the number of Nigerians moving illegally and legally to overseas is roundly alarming and deafening.
The health, education, shelter and recreation and other social development sectors and policies under the Buhari Administration are in tatters; likewise security sector and policies which are confusing, misdirected, misleading, awkward and militantly frightening. Counter Boko Haram insurgency operations have become a conduit pipe through which billions of dollars worth of secured loans are diverted and pocketed with their allied lies and falsehoods capable of competing triumphantly in the Olympic Games of falsehood and propaganda.
Leading government corruption practitioners and other regime criminal citizens in the Administration are protected and given corruption and criminal sanction waivers. As matter of fact, the beginning of wisdom for any doyen of corruption in present Nigeria is his or her express identification with the Buhari Administration in the form of "defection to APC".
Conclusively speaking, it will take a calendar of months to talk and discuss inexhaustibly about the Buhari's Government basket-loads of failure in governance. Which is why we said before that the best way to describe the present central government in the country is that it is "first of the firsts in failed public governance records or measurements in Nigeria since 1960"
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: + 2348180771506
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
Ndidiamaka C. Bernard, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program
Mobile Line: +2348067557308