Thursday, May 6, 2010

Of Strong Individuals,Weak Institutions; Yar'Adua as a Metaphor

The only thing that is sure, is change. When a specie, or process , resists change: it's tenure is ended by nature: it dies out. 
We have ,over the years, consistently missed opportunities to change at critical crossroads in our nation's development.

While one cannot rejoice that a man has died, we need to ask this question: Did we learn anything from Yar'Adua's illness? Sadly, I believe, we did not. His illness was not as epochal, or novel, as man's landing on the moon, or the the discovery of the Americas.  In the two events the explorers did not know what they would meet. With Yar'Adua's incapacitation,we had a blueprint of the road ahead, and how to navigate it. But we chose to be blind to the prescriptions of the Constitution.

An organization becomes great when every member knows his place in it, and obeys the rules of engagement in every situation.

Some would argue that it was an event, that had never happened to us before,true:but were there prescriptions for dealing with it in the Constitution? Yes there were. What happened to us has happened to others before. 

In 2006 Ariel Sharon,the then Prime Minister of Israel, suffered a stroke,and became comatose, there was no debate over who was to takeover, Ehud Olmert ,his deputy, was sworn in immediately.That is an example of a process that works. In not swearing in Jonathan as president we missed a great opportunity to grow, and come of age. The sad thing is that is that if this event occurs again in future we would not know what to do, because we have never done it before.

We need to begin to build strong institutions, if we want to develop as a nation.  Strong institutions are the infrastructure upon which strong nations are built. What we have now are strong men and weak institutions. It is a reversal of the natural order; the tail cannot wag the dog.There is no other way, we cannot hide behind the usual platitudes of 'home grown democracy' or 'peculiar situation': they are just reasons people give to subvert the system.

Collectively, we must demand that the arbitrariness that is synonymous with government should stop.Political office holders should not be able to just spend public money as if it is their own personal wealth, they must not be allowed to run the country the way they feel,they swore an oath to uphold,and defend the Constitution,let us hold them to it.

In our own areas of 'jurisdiction',we must insist on procedures being followed. We must forcefully demand, with determination, that that all levels of government discharge their duties, and obligations, to us.This will not come easily, there will be resistance, but the force of our determination must match,and surpass, their resistance. This is the only option we have, for us to survive.

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