Unless a Sovereign National Conference is convened, the question of Nigeria’s existence and the national identity would continue to be a puzzle with no solutions.
This was the opinion of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi while delivering a lecture on “That the Business of State may be a serious Business: Towards a new paradigm in Public Governance in Nigeria” at the Pan-African University, Lagos on Tuesday.
Dr. Fayemi who recalled the exchange of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa on the question of shunning the differences among the nationalities that make up Nigeria stated that the existence of Nigeria beyond the present time remains a decision that would be made by Nigerians at a sovereign national conference where everyone would table their interest and aspiration for debate.
The Governor asserted that the national dialogue is the only means to guarantee lasting peace and the common good.
“You will all recall a famous exchange between two of our founding fathers. One asked that we should forget our differences to be able to build a strong and united country, while the other insisted that we cannot build a strong and united country without recognising our difference. The truth about how to save Nigeria and create a new paradigm for public governance lies between the two statements. Whether Nigerians will continue in perpetuity to recognise their differences or forget them forever must be left to the collective decisions of Nigerians”, he said.
While speaking on the mixed feelings of Nigerians on the 1914 amalgamation, the Governor said that many Nigerians would be happy to remain so if they are considered as citizens, not subjects, whose consents are regularly sought on the composition of the Nigerian state which would guarantee “the protection and projection of the common interest of its citizens”.
Fayemi opined that unless the Nigerian state is recomposed to derive its legitimacy from the people, all efforts at sustaining it would be to no avail; adding that the lack of political vision at the centre and the various ethnic crises and security challenges among others call for the need for Nigeria to be recreated.
He added that there seems to be no difference at the national level between the colonial era and the post-colonial era despite being run by Nigerians; saying that the post-colonial governance is still “alien and predatory” like the colonial system.
On reconsidering public governance and the business of the Nigerian State, the Governor identified political leadership, the bureaucracy and public communication as elements that are critical to public governance.
According to him, the quality, vision, patriotism and the competence of the political leadership are critical to the transformation of the African state and the sustenance of good public governance.
Governor Fayemi stressed that at the centre of delivering the good to the people lies the civil service which is the engine room of any government, and this accounts for the premium placed on the civil service by his administration in Ekiti state.
Last modified: October 3, 2012