Nigerian intellectuals and civil society leaders, under the umbrella of the New Fabian Society of the Concerned Professionals, have suggested to the National Assembly to consider invoking the doctrine of necessity to birth “new leaders and refocus the agenda of the country” in the light of mounting security and economic challenges.
The leaders who made the suggestion in a statement made available to our correspondents at the weekend, expressed frustration with the security situation in Nigeria, noting that the country is already in a state of war, with people being slaughtered like chicken on a daily basis, even as unemployment, inflation and growing poverty in the land, have combined to cripple the nation.
According to them, therefore, time has come for the National Assembly to perhaps invoke that doctrine of necessity, to introduce a government of National Unity that could provide a war chest of wisdom that can “lead us to a new Nigeria.”
The leaders in the statement jointly signed by Prof Pat Utomi, Prof Anthony Kila, Femi Falana (SAN), Tola Mobolurin, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Dr Muiz Banire(SAN), Dr Isawa Dogo, Joe Atueyi, Bisi Olowoyo, Tola Mobolurin, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Dr Usman Bugaje and Dr Isawa Dogo, lamented that the country was already crippled, and time to raise the white flag and seek help from other countries has come.
“Our country is crippled. Our compatriots are being slaughtered like chickens all over the country. Insecurity has become the most interrogated phenomenon of our time and the result is clear for all to see.
“Food inflation is way over 20% and the people are starving because Terrorists and Bandits have made a visit to the farm grave risk to their lives. Meanwhile Tariffs and Taxes are going up and incomes are collapsing even as inflation is rising and unemployment soars into record territory.
“Funding budgets have become a nightmare. Given Crude Oil price decline and the mismanagement of petrol pricing, refining, importation and distribution the States are being threatened that FAAC Account meetings to share revenue may be put on hold.
“The lack of imagination in public finance management which keeps out monetization of assets and external sector stimulation of the circular flows of income in Nigeria, further worsens the budget crisis. The stress and tension on the streets are so palpable you could slice the air with a blunt Knife.”
The leaders noted that Nigeria is already in a real state of emergency, noting that it is evident that the Robert Kaplan prediction of a coming anarchy has arrived.
According to them, “A real emergency, whether declared or not, exists. It can be felt in refusal of many to travel even short distances and in the daily shedding of innocent blood across the country.
“Change is imperative with an urgency of yesterday, far more hurriedly than an urgency of now.
“It seems the Robert Kaplan prediction of a coming anarchy has come.”
Continuing, the leaders declared that the time for bravado is over, and that, “We should raise the white flag of surrender, not to the forces of evil that threaten our way of life but to humble pie. We must tell the world that we need help.
“We must shout from the rooftops to the world that they need to come to our aid now or risk the cost of coming late as they did in Rwanda and lose more lives trying to flush out the undesirable in the interest of human solidarity in this our interconnected world, belatedly as was the case in Iraq.
“We support the call of Professor Wole Soyinka to seek external assistance ASAP to prevent Nigeria from getting on a “one chance” transport on the road to Somalia.
“Beyond pleading for help we have some home truths to admit to ourselves and some serious conversations to engage with on a way forward. Have we reached the point where the legislature can turn to the idea of a Doctrne of necessity to create new leaders and refocus the agenda of the country. Yes we have. Perhaps we should invoke that doctrine of necessity to introduce a government of National Unity.
“They say we cannot afford a civil war but Nigeria is at war already. A government of National unity, just like General Yakubu Gowon put together in 1967, in the wake of the last civil war, will provide a war chest of wisdom that can lead us to a new Nigeria.
“People in public life have been seen as largely driven by self-love and the pursuit of gain without pain. Most of the things we should have done or failed to do that have got us where we are, derive from corruption, nepotism, and disregard for merit and accountability. We must confront them all now. Consequence must not be ignored.
“Now the results have come in, collapse stirs us in the face.
“The commissioner for Security matters in Kaduna State Samuel Akuwan provides some of the evidence of how current conditions check off most boxes on the failed states index. Providing data on the current conditions in the state he said 323 people had been killed and 949 kidnapped in 3 months. Few of the many civil wars in the world throw up such grim statistics of death. But it gets worse.
“Three years earlier the then Governor of Borno state Kashim Shetima said Boko Haram had killed more than 100,000 people and displaced more two million people.
“It is pertinent to note that the IMF has indicated that Nigeria rank160 out of 166 on the 2030 MDGs and that we need to be growing GDP at 14% per annum when we are afraid of another recession, which is quarter on quarter negative growth.
“These are all grave enough conditions for extraordinary measures to halt our rush towards state failure.
“As if the foregoing are not enough the people on the street feel despair and investors are unwilling to commit until they have a sense of a halt in the drift and the setting of a new course
“Can we commit to changing the conduct that brought us to this sorry pass?” they inquired.
“Can the crisis of values that has brought collapse to our door steps be reversed?
“With our reality as a true existential threat we must move from emotional rationalizations of our past behavior to recognizing that we have created our troubles.
“Talk may not be cheap as often suggested but now is a time for ACTION . None can afford to look on like bystanders.
‘We call on Thought Leaders across the land, Traditional Leaders, Religious Icons Elders of the nation in groups of past leaders to rise in one accord to demand change right now.”