The Director, Diaspora Centre, University of Abuja, Professor Mabel Evwierhoma has said that Nigeria is not a failed state as being portrayed by many citizens in view of the current challenges.
She, however, called for a review of the Nigerian Constitution with the view to enshrining referendum for any federating units to freely opt-out of the union without bloodletting.
But the Overseer of Charismatic Renewal Ministries (CRM), Dr Cosmas Ilechukwu, said Nigeria has no future without political and physical restructuring.
The duo spoke at the 10th Annual Independence Lecture series with the theme: “Social Contract and Leadership in Nigeria: Experience and Prospects,” held in Abuja during the weekend. The event was organised by The Change We Need Nigeria Initiative (TCWNNI).
Prof Evwierhoma, in her presentation at the event, argued that Nigeria has all the indices of a sovereign state and could not be considered to be a failed state, “as it is self-governing, does not require international intervention for its administration or governance.”
While stressing that Nigeria remains a going concern, she said what is required was a government of unification to truss together the variegated political, cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious peoples north and south of the River Niger on the basis of justice and equity.
On review of the 1999 Constitution, Evwierhoma, said: “It should state clearly that the federating units are free to opt-out of the union without bloodletting. A call for referendum if need be, is needed to prevent the lack of allegiance to the nation through incessant calls for its split.
Ilechukwu, who is the Convener of the annual lecture, in his remark said the clamour for restructuring by Nigerians should be taken seriously by the government, saying there was no future for the country without restructuring.
He expressed fears that the country has gradually but consistently been tending towards the “state of nature” where the maintenance of the common good of the people does not receive adequate attention.
He said: “Nigeria’s appalling and unenviable ranking as the third most terrorised country in the world after Iran and Afghanistan is worrisome.
“In 2017, Nigeria’s Boko Haram was fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world. Nigeria is the 14th in the Global Crime Index. These include unaccountable incidents of armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, cultism and other social vices through which hundreds of lives are lost weekly.
“On stands to wonder if we have not inadvertently joined the league of the so-called fragile state?” he said.
The CRM Overseer noted that to entrench the social contract paradigm in Nigeria would require a populace with a robust interest in knowing how they are being governed and are inquisitive about the rationale behind the actions or inaction of the leaders.
He called on Nigerians to challenge impunity and insist that their demands be looked into, saying “people should not be afraid of government, government should be afraid of the people”.
Ilechukwu said it was unfortunate that the reality of democratic experience in Nigeria “is that our leaders ride roughshod over us because our politics is not yet defined by popular choice but by a powerful coterie who play god for the rest us”.
He said that “social contract furnishes the fundamental principle for legitimisation of any government.’’
He said the core thesis of the social contract theory was that government exists at the behest of the people for the protection and promotion of the general well-being of the people.
Ikechukwu said that the constitution contains the tenets of social contract theory, which if paid attention to, would ensure common good for the people.