One of the lofty gifts that God bestowed upon our country is that of wisdom of the elders. From it (wisdom), reservoir of the knowledge of the past which the elders are custodians of is usually drawn whenever nebulous occasions arise that requireits practical applicability. And this has helped in a number of instances where challenging moments in our national life were overcome through the wisdom of the elders of our land.
However, if the applicability of any wisdom is not properly channeled in a manner that produces societal good, it regrettably can cause more harm than good.
With every sense of respect and reverence for the few northern and southern elders who got together a long time ago and agreed on some form of rotation for Nigeria’s presidency upon which some elders of OhanaezeNdigbo hinged their argument to disqualify any one from pursuing his political ambition, one can respectfully assert that this opinion stands truth on its head.
It’s imperative to note that the political standpoint of elders, regardless of the zones they come from in this country shouldbe seen to be promoting socioeconomic developmentand to also further social cohesion at this point in time that Nigeria desperately needs such positive input in our quest for nationhood. But if the opinion of just a section of elders constantly runs at variance with that of the majority of other elders even within a particular political zone, then all hand must be on deck to ensure that things be put in proper perspective.
As asserted by our respected elders of OhanaezeNdigbo, Governor Bello was still in school when the said rotation agreement was reached, and so shouldn’t argue with it.
Now, let us look at the current percentage of Yahaya Bello generation that was still in school when the supposed agreement took place. All demographic statistics show that the elderly constitutes only 30% of the entire population of Nigeria.
From the youth downward, their population constitutes the remainder of 70% of the population. That is to say that about 70% of the current population component was still in school when the agreement took place.
So, if the youth and the younger component of the Nigerian population that Yahaya Bello represents and who undoubtedly outnumber the paltry 30% population of the elderly was still in school or hadn’t even started school or were not even born as at the time of the agreement, should the opinion of this mass (young people) be treated as inconsequential as far as decision making in Nigeria is concerned?
More over, if our constitution recognizes simple majority to determine the outcome of most stages of all elections in Nigeria, should the voice of70% of the population not be given more prominence with regards to national topical issues over that of 30%?
The essence of this argument is that, as things stand now, a reference to Yahaya Bello in relation to the above statement of some elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a proportional reference to about 70% component of our population, and their opinion cannot be waved aside by the wave of the hand, just like that.
It should also be emphasized here that Nigeria hasn’t fared so well so far with all it’s unconstitutional zoning arrangements.
As known to all and sundry, this subject matter has contributed largely to our retrogression, killed competence, retarded our growth and has encouraged large scale corruption.
Imagine a meeting that was held a long time ago with a resolution that has currently been invalidated by time, events and other demographic considerations being used as an apron string to pull back well-meaning intentions that can engender massive socioeconomic and political development of our nation.
In other words, that age long agreement that had just a few elders in Nigeria in attendance and which was never subjected to any nationwide referendum didn’t take cognizance of the plight of 70% of the current population and therefore should be left in its moribund or inactive state.
Talking about the agreement having overstayed it’s welcome, one ready example that comes to mind is the constitutional provisions that forbids any Nigerian from contesting any elective political position in another State other than his own State of origin. If that same constitution can invalidate its own provision by stating also that once someone has lived in the other State over 10 years, he is eligible to contest any election. That is, 10 years and one is free to contest any elective post.
However, an ordinary unconstitutional agreement that has taken over two decades now is still being held sacrosanct without any provision for a revisit, that’s somehow ridiculous.
Just as it’s obtainable in international relations where references can be made to best practices among civilized nations as law, viewed conversely, practices that haven’t made any useful contributions to the development of international laws are usually jettisoned.
Can anyone boldly say that this rotational phenomenon that usually surfaces in our national discourse every time we want to make serious progress has bettered our lot as a nation thus far? The answer is obviously negative.
Again, there’s another principle in international relations expressed in Latin: Pacta Sunt Servanda. The meaning is that agreement must be kept, or Treaties should be observed. This shows that if a country has agreed to be signatory to any treaty, that country must observe or carry out the dictates of the convention. But a country that is not a party to that agreement can never be compelled to enforce it. The same should apply to interpersonal of intergroup relationship with a country like Nigeria where a generation should be free to abrogate any law or agreement that hasn’t made any meaningful contributions to their nation.
Therefore, let some of these our very respected elders in Ohanaeze Ndigbo organization be reminded that the current 70% of the young population which Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State represents were never, either still in school, or yet to start school or hadn’t even been born as at the time the said agreement took place and so are not bound by its content.
– Solomon Enejoh writes from Abuja.