Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bishop Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, and constitutional lawyer Femi Falana have all expressed their dismay at the country’s current state of affairs, blaming it on a lack of effective leadership.
The three speakers presented their speeches at a colloquium organized in Ado Ekiti to commemorate Afe Babalola’s 60 years as a member of the Bar. The event took place on the Afe Babalola University campus.
The former head of state lamented the fact that many who work within the legal system undermine the rule of law. He cited the National Assembly and its remuneration package as examples of unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
According to Obasanjo, no one would value democracy unless it has a positive impact on the average person’s day-to-day existence. He highlighted that democracy is a process, not a destination and that the style of administration can only be improved if the players respect the constitution and follow its rules precisely.
“Democracy doesn’t mean anything to any man who is hungry, whose life is in danger, or whose property is being destroyed,” he observed. “When a man is hungry, democracy means nothing.” According to him, “the revenue mobilization and fiscal commission are supposed to fix salaries and emoluments of members of the National Assembly in accordance with the Nigerian constitution.” However, they ignored the Constitution in favor of a wage hike for themselves. Even if it is permitted by the Constitution, it is immoral.
Kukah stated in his keynote paper, “The Future of Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria: Imperative of a New Constitutional Order,” that the country’s judicial system is in chaos. He further noted that the nation had its most corrupt time during previous President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Nobody takes pride in being a Nigerian because we are being held hostage, and as a result, our sovereignty is being questioned. We should not assume that we live in a democracy after the mess that the previous administration has left us in. How can you operate a country if you can’t handle its diversity?
Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling, we will have the opportunity to begin rebuilding the country. My goal is to issue an executive order to crack down on people who murder for religious reasons. Every government entity is mandated to provide places of worship for Christians and Muslims. “We must democratize development in order for Nigeria to thrive,” Kukah stated.
Falana, who was a panelist during the discussion, expressed concern that the country has not moved on from its ugly history because the extent of corruption is unprecedented. He stated, “They rob ecological money that was meant for erosion control.” The President is expected to show initiative. I am calling Tinubu to lead a crusade against corruption so that Nigeria can restore its rightful place in the international community.
Former Head of State Yakubu Gowon, former Commonwealth Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku, and Chief Justice of Nigeria Kayode Ariwoola were among the luminaries in attendance.
Babalola stated in his statements that the 1999 Constitution cannot create good government because it is fatally defective and that the only way forward is to pass a new constitution.