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HomeNewsNBA, THE YOUTHS AND THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA By Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Notary...

NBA, THE YOUTHS AND THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA By Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Notary Public

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By Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Notary Public

The two major political parties , APC and PDP having come up with their flag bearers to contest the 2023 Presidential race to the Aso Rock Villa, the question that need to be asked, is whether the salvation this country still lie with either of the two political parties? The two parties having laughed to the banks with about N43 Billion realized from the sale of nomination forms to their presidential aspirants now seem to be ready for the great electoral battle. In a country where many Nigerians are finding it difficult to afford their daily three square meals, raising N100, 000 million each by those looking for the presidency under APC was not stressful exercise. Peter Obi had earlier pulled out of PDP prior to the party’s presidential primary having seen the hand writing on the wall that the presidential ticket was meant to pick by the highest bidder. While many people are commending Mr. Obi for taking the bold step to exit from the PDP and joining the Labour Party (LP) where he is now the flag bearer of the party, my own reaction to his exit was:

“This really shows the kind of politicians we have in this country. In the first place I never expect the like of Peter Obi to leave APGA, the party under which he was a Governor for 8 years. He should have stayed on to build that party but a typical Nigerian politician will do otherwise. There was a story of a politician in Senegal that was in opposition for close to 3 decades but eventually became the President of that country under the opposition. In such a country, the politicians know that politics is about great ideology and not about jumping from one party to another like a monkey.”

There has not been any difference between the APC and the PDP. Many of those who are members of the APC today were members of the PDP yesterday and vice versa. The two major political parties have been benefiting from the absence of a strong political party that has the capacity to wrest and take over power from them. When you add the earlier 16 years of PDP in power to that of almost 8 years of that of the APC what you have on the ground is grand failure in terms of security, economic, education and welfare of Nigerians to mention but few. There is this big talk in certain circle that the like of Peter Obi of the Labour Party has the magic wand to turn Nigerian economy round. The Labour party is not a new phenomenon in the Nigeria’s political history. It was that same party that initially threw up the likes of Adam Oshiomole and Olusegun Mimiko as Governors of their respective states before their nomadic flight to the APC and PDP respectively. This is another fact that Nigeria as a nation has been breeding unprincipled politicians. I do not see how a country like ours will develop in the hand of the politicians that are not principled and lack great political vision and ideology.

We now live in a country where virtually all those on government payroll whether in politics, ministries, civil service including judiciaries want themselves to be succeeded by their children and relatives. The recent primaries conducted by the two major political parties are clear evidence to this fact where politicians and the children have been made the flag bearers of the various political parties. Those politicians that offered bribes to delegates in different forms and lost out in the primaries are now using banditry as threat to recover their money. Those that have been in politics for decades continue to re-circle themselves in government. If it may be asked, to what extent have they served the interest of generality of Nigerians?

Positive future and transformation of this country lie in the hands of the patriotic and responsible youths. Remember the great role played by the youths in liberating this country from the colonialists. I do not see the reason why the contemporary responsible youths in this country cannot wake up from their slumber and tactically liberate this country from the present day money bag politicians that lack the ideology to make this country a paradise for the Nigerians. We have a country that is abundantly blessed with enormous natural resource but unfortunately not having the leaders with capacity to transform them to the nation’s advantage. From the political experiment that has just been witnessed in the two major political parties’ primaries , the message is now that no matter how brilliant or competent any citizen of this country may be, if he or she is not a millionaire, he or she cannot dare aspire to be President of this country or a Governor of any state. The lesson we are being taught now is if a brainless politician is able to put down millions of Naira to obtain nomination form, he stands a better chance to become a flag bearer for an elective position including that of President or Governor over the rest of us. By the time you begin to have such characters as leaders in this country, what hope for the so-called giant of Africa?

This is more the reason why the patriotic and responsible youths in this country regardless of tribal or religious affiliation must wake up to their responsibility. The tactic should be to form a new and strong political party or merge together some of the existing political parties as a political organization built on great ideology with serious campaign from the grassroots level. The problem with many of the Nigerian youths is that they are pessimistic and do not believe in themselves. There are those holding the view that since the money bag politicians have taken over the political arena, it will be very difficult to chase them out power. Such view is self-defeatism. If some political parties could merge to form APC and chased PDP out of power in 2015, why are the Nigerian youths afraid of travelling along the same road to electorally chase out those who are not performing out of power?

The mobilization of the people must be about appealing to their conscience and asking rhetorical questions. This country attained independent in 1960 and since then where has it been today economically when compare with other countries in different parts of the world with whom she gained independence with around the same time? Where is Nigeria today, agriculturally, industrially and educationally? These are some of the questions that must continue be asked. Does it make sense that Nigerian citizens that were and are being trained here to become doctors and leaving the country emass to make their service available to other countries in different parts of the world rather than staying to develop their fatherland? When you have government that refuses to live up to its responsibility and attend to the welfare of her citizens, what do you expect?

When talking about the youths and the future of this country, where or how does the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), a professional body come in? The NBA comes in as an illustration of the issue at hand. NBA is a professional association with National body now known as National Executive Committee and National Executive Council. It also has not less than 100 branches throughout the country. The National Executive Committee and Branches’ Executive Committees are often elected through very competitive elections every two years. This year 2022 is another election year to electronically elect new National Executive Committee already fixed for the month July. Prior to the introduction of electronic voting in the NBA at the National level, the situation was not different from what had happened in the just concluded APC and PDP primaries to pick their Presidential Flag bearers through the delegate system where the highest bidders would carry the day. When it was discovered that the delegate system was not serving the interest of the majority of the NBA members nationwide, there began a serious agitation that the delegate system where the branches’ chairmen were the godfathers who solely chose the delegates for the national election must be discarded to give way to electronic voting where every lawyer that pays his or her Bar Practicing Fee (BPF) will be eligible to vote and have a say in the election of the members of the National Executive Committee including the NBA President. Although the electronic system is yet to be absolutely free from being controversial, but the truth is that it has gone a very long way to checkmate the fraud and policy of the highest bidders carrying the day.

One of the great advantages of e-voting today is that right in your bedroom, you can vote for any candidate of your choice. Under the discarded NBA delegate system , a lawyer without big title (SAN) could hardly be NBA President but the situation has changed under e-voting in recent time and most lawyers in Nigeria have now know the difference between the leadership with big title and leadership without big title. It is for this reason that the political parties in Nigeria must continue to be pressurized to embrace e-voting in the selection of their flag bearers that will compete in the general election. Allowing the political parties to continue with the present fraudulent delegate system will lead to the political parties producing money bag politicians and unworthy candidates to contest for the position of leadership whereas the brilliant and competent candidates will continue to be at the receiving end for their inability to raise Millions of Naira to obtain nomination forms as was recently done by the APC and PDP.

I was one of those not taken by surprise by the outcome of the APC and PDP Presidential Primaries where the highest bidders eventually carried the day and my immediate response was that : “I suggest it is time to introducing ‘NBA e-voting’ into the political parties in picking their flagbearer instead of the fraudulent delegate system” As usual the response to this by some people was pessimistic that such suggestion may not be possible in the political parties or workable generally because of the epileptic power supply in Nigeria, the position which I disagreed with and that if the political parties can keep the register of their members, I wonder why such is not possible to introduce for all their members to have a say in the election of their parties’ flagbearers rather than still retaining the fraudulent delegate system. To make this a reality, the agitation just have to start and if it is eventually accepted, no party member will need to be afraid that bandits will be sent after him for voting according to his or her conscience having collected the “bribe” he or she was offered to compromise his or her conscience.

The revolution for the brighter future of this country is a venture that every patriotic Nigerian must be involved particularly the responsible youths. All professionals particularly the lawyers and journalists have a great role to play in this voyage. Since lawyers and journalists were in the forefront in the struggle to chase away the colonialists to attain independence as well as the military junta to attain the constitutional democracy, the cold war against the present set of money bag politician will not be a difficult one if Nigerians are really determined. Campaign for this great revolution must be made to start from the grassroots, from villages to villages, towns to towns and from cities to cities. With what this country is blessed with, Nigerians deserve the best form of welfarism. Nigeria as a nation needs youths that will take after the likes of our great pre-independent Nationalists that liberate the country from the colonialists.

Nigeria needs patriotic and responsible youths that will follow the footsteps of the like of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), a great lawyer and Indian nationalist who developed the principle of non-violent civil disobedience with which he eventually gained independence for his country. Through his revolutionary activities, he was able to inspire many world leaders including Africans in the struggle for the independence of their countries. If you are well familiar with history, you would have come across a personality such as Thomas Paine (1737-1809), an English born writer and radical who featured prominently in the American Revolution. In 1776 he wrote a pamphlet titled: “Common Sense” where he called on the Americans to declare independence. Thereafter he wrote another pamphlet called “The Crisis”. When he returned to England, he wrote in 1792 the book “The Rights of Man” where he defended the French Revolution. His book titled “The Age of Man” of 1795 became very controversial. The struggle and revolution of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) against the apartheid in South Africa will not be easily forgotten in history as he was imprisoned for many years and on his released he eventually became the first black President in South Africa. These were great men of history that patriotic and responsible Nigerian youths will learn from if they really desire a better country that must be liberated from the money bag politicians.

NOTE: Anyone is at liberty to disagree with my above submissions as I will surely appreciate a balanced, fair and objective rebuttal.


12th June 2022

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