What in your view will deepen our democracy? Is it true federalism as practised in the US or our variant of presidential system of government? October 18, 2011 18 comments Posted by Youngstars Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website Comments wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 7:29 am infocaleb Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the Future, True federalism will deepen our Democracy if our Leaders and Representative are really having that zeal to be have that strong deeply rooted desire for Positive Change which is the starting poing of Greatness. American of today paid the price needed for them to get to that place how many of our Governors, Senators or Rep members will resign if they are not representing well or ill for the next man to take over and contribute his quota, for our Democracy to be deepen, we should stop put self first and others last but others first and self last. As we celebrate World Day for Democracy let our leaders don’t settle for achieving the good life but ensure they contribute whole heartedly in IGNITING THE CHANGE they wish to see in words, Leadership style, characters and all ramification because it begins with you. Together we rebuild the broken walls of Nigeria Decocracy and make it a centre of attraction. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 7:33 am infocaleb Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the Future, True federalism will deepen our Democracy if our Leaders and Representative are really having that zeal to be have that strong deeply rooted desire for Positive Change which is the starting poing of Greatness. American of today paid the price needed for them to get to that place how many of our Governors, Senators or Rep members will resign if they are not representing well or ill for the next man to take over and contribute his quota, for our Democracy to be deepen, we should stop put self first and others last but others first and self last. As we celebrate World Day for Democracy let our leaders don’t settle for achieving the good life but ensure they contribute whole heartedly to IGNITE CHANGES they wish to see in words, Leadership style, characters and all ramification because it begins with you. Together we rebuild the broken walls of Nigeria Decocracy and make it a centre of attraction. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 8:17 am Adeyera Adebola The present system of democratic governance in Nigeria has its power embeded in the citizen, but one major problem is that most political party has no ideology, yet people still follow based on selfish interest.Despite the various party system, the last election show that the desire of the populace overwhelm the cunny act of maffians.The populace still has the power, all we need is an ideological group, i mean people that can reason together, intellectual brainstorming with an active result irrespective of the platform on which our leaders gain their mandate into position. Our Leaders at Local, State, and Federal level should engage themselves in collective ideology/belief system irrespective of the platform in which they emerge as leader.Virtually nigerian knows the major challenges confronting us as a nation, especially corruption, dilapidate infrastructures and poor standard of Education.we have the solution at our hand.Let us engage ourselves in collective intellectual brainstorming coulpe with action.With this presidential System , we need a meaniful belief system i.e a set of beliefs, values, and opinions that shapes the way a person or a group such as a social class thinks, acts, and understands the world. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 8:56 am Adeyera Adebola The Acts of our Colonian Master through the practise of True federalism has left a bad taste in our mouth due to their selfish act.Thou the practices of federalism system ceased in 1966…..Our major challenges is not the system of governance practised but what we need to bring a change is a transformed belief system which i know can be effected through the presidential system. As a nation, its not the system that matter but effective utilisation of the present system for the purpose of strengthening our unity and development of our nation.What is obtainable is American is different from what we have in Nigeria.Our focus sholud be “how do we meet our social, economic and political needs. What we need now is just an assessment of our present system, identify our strength and weakness in the practice…and thus work on our weakness.Despite the our system of governance, a technocrat made governor in one of the state in Southwest has set a great example for others to follow.His ideology transform the state and the populace enjoy his policies. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 9:23 am Daniel Stephen There is nothing wrong with the system we operate presently the issue is greed on the part of our leaders. If they could shift their mindset from taking to giving, i mean a heart of service it will change things. If they had a mind of service they would not be thinking of stealing money but rather pursue productivity. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 9:24 am Daniel Stephen “All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.” wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 9:57 am Ihidero Victor When Paul Goebbels, the unrepetant Nazi apostle heard culture being discussed in tandem with governance in 1942 he brought out his revolver. Again, when Amilcar Cabral, the revolutionary Guinea Bissauan and Cape Verdean fighter held culture he manipulates it to liberate his peoples from the devilry that epitomized the Portuguese colonial government. Need I, again, shovel up the reality in Imperialist Kenya of the mid1940s to 1950s- where the people were finally defeated by the Britons after they had captured the cultural essence of the fertile Kenya. What were the causes of the World War II and Cold War if not Culture and sytem of government; Culture and economics; and culture and power. Again, why are the Arabs on the streets after the unseating of Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and others? They are demanding for democracy. What kind of democracy I dare ask? Nigeria’s democracy, whether federal or presidential will remain shallow and loose unless we, as a people begin the long walk to domesticate our democracy rooted in our culture. Every thing as well as words happens within a given cultural context before they are diffused to others. Meanings could be distorted in another cultural context owing to the fact that the totemism of the etymology of democracy may suffer from its adaptors. The US borrowed democracy from the Greeks and have since domesticated it to their culture. Today, they are better of to the Greeks. The same thing passes for Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. That these nations ‘s democracy are deep owes to the richness of the role culture plays in their affairs. Our democracy is still a borrowed property that is begging for an ownership right. The Arabs are protesting because they do not a Western-styled democracy. They want it rooted in Arab nationalism devoid of western hegemonic forces. And this Arabic consciousness is making the West to squirm on their seats. The question to brood over, again, is why? Our democracy can be deepen when we, the peoples of Nigeria are willing to reeducate ourselves and political system in order to unlearn the western style of governance. Nigeria’s brand of democracy needs a definition rooted from within. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 10:05 am Ihidero Victor When Paul Goebbels, the unrepetant Nazi apostle heard culture being discussed in tandem with governance in 1942 he brought out his revolver. Again, when Amilcar Cabral, the revolutionary Guinea Bissauan and Cape Verdean fighter held culture he manipulates it to liberate his peoples from the devilry that epitomized the Portuguese colonial government. Need I, again, shovel up the reality in Imperialist Kenya of the mid1940s to 1950s- where the people were finally defeated by the Britons after they had captured the cultural essence of the fertile Kenya. What were the causes of the World War II and Cold War if not Culture and sytem of government; Culture and economics; and culture and power. Again, why are the Arabs on the streets after the unseating of Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and others? They are demanding for democracy. What kind of democracy I dare ask? Nigeria’s democracy, whether federal or presidential will remain shallow and loose unless we, as a people begin the long walk to domesticate our democracy rooted in our culture. Every thing as well as words happens within a given cultural context before they are diffused to others. Meanings could be distorted in another cultural context owing to the fact that the totemism of the etymology of democracy may suffer from its adaptors. The US borrowed democracy from the Greeks and have since domesticated it to their culture. Today, they are better of to the Greeks. The same thing passes for Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. That these nations ‘s democracy are deep owes to the richness of the role culture plays in their affairs. Our democracy is still a borrowed property that is begging for an ownership right. The Arabs are protesting because they do not need a Western-styled democracy. They want it rooted in Arab nationalism devoid of western hegemonic forces. And this Arabic consciousness is making the West to squirm on their seats. The question to brood over, again, is why? Our democracy can be deepen when we, the peoples of Nigeria are willing to reeducate ourselves and political system in order to unlearn the western style of governance. Nigeria’s brand of democracy needs a definition rooted from within. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 3:31 pm ziko What Nigeria need is true federalism; be it in the US style or whatever name anti-US people would call it. The term federalism has a generally accepted definition is a structure of government whereby several independent states or other forms of geo-political entities come together in an agreement for common defense and other interest. Federalism recognizes a multifaceted society, so it allows various entities remain independent but submit to an agreement to protect one another and allow a federal government to regulate certain areas borne out of necessity of a common union. People keep debating that Nigeria, is a complex society with many tribe, and different political views so therefore federalism cannot serve us well, but I say no, because the US is a much more complex society than ours, one might argue that there is rule of law, so federalism can strive; Nigeria as a state has vowed itself to be a federal state, quoting the 1999 constitution, section 2(1), also section 2 of the same paragraph agree that the Nation will be made up of states and the FCT; it is the promotion of the legal certainty, power regulation between the centre and federating state which is true federalism. Everything has a standard when you talk of variant it means deviating from the standard, no matter what the Arab springs is agitating that the want a democracy not affecting federalism, if you take a close look even at the British democratic system, you still see a sought of federalism in practice; for us to truly appreciate true federalism as practiced in the US, we need to understand or know the benefit of federalism. Assuming it is agreed that we actually practicing a federal system, it will allow that the relationship between democracy and federalism means, there may be different and equal legitimate interest in different quarters and at the federal level, but the constitution is there to settle it. In a true federal structure, there are bound to be power-sharing problems between the centre and the federal units. Such power-sharing problems relates to variety of issues that cut across collection of taxes, local government creation, authority to issues licenses, maintenance of infrastructure like roads and edifices, resource control etc. The problem now at home, is a faulty federal system we currently practiced; it does not allow the federating units to be competent to take decisions in their areas, without any adverse consequences from the decisions taken by the Federal Government. Unfortunately, here in Nigeria, people still see issues of dispute between federal & states or forces in the state as having political undertones whereas the true in test in a federal system is continuously defined and strengthened by the judiciary. The Current debate bordering on true federalism in Nigeria has been the dire need to achieve a bottom-up approach in development. I would say the trouble has been that of corruption and non-existence of sanction, no Nation is trouble or crime free, but with the existence of sanction rights and privileges are protected. What we need to promote our true federalism now, is to have true statesmen mount our existing institutions and ensure sanctions are in place; deliberations and negotiation must be introduced into our constitutional history, that has been lacking; we must shed the existing bitterness generated along political lineages and focus more on how to run an efficient central government and preserve national unity because true federalism does not cut us from our tribe, what it does is not help us not go into lineages; so in true federalism, my identity as Yoruba-Nigeria is protected, allowing free hand for all the diversities that forms the federation. Finally Nigeria truly needs true federalism now to deepen our democracy because in a federal democracy, no one unit in the federation hold the monopoly of truth, it is a system predicted on the faith that interplay between the federating units and the government at the centre will help put public issues/problem to the top; because it is a system that allows divergent views and positions on actions and inactions, of all parties, so these views are considered, acknowledged and addressed within accepted legal framework. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 4:57 pm Samuel Uchenna Okwara Good day my fellow democrats and change agents. This is yet another day in celebrating the youth in democracy and I congratulate us all on our individual and collective achievements so far. I’m so glad to be part of this forum because I know, here lies the opportunity for us to build a nation where the right things will always be done. Yes we can. Yesterday offered us an opportunity to discuss on the ingredients our democracy needs for effective development/ improvement and I must not forget to appreciate the commendation from Mr Fagro. Thus, participation is the key. Today, the question is how can we deepen our democracy? It must be stressed that building an enduring democracy in any country is anchored more on a subsisting culture of tolerance and mutual respect among the competing interests, tendencies, parties and individuals in the political system than on the façade of conducting periodic elections, which are mostly flawed and lack credibility. In fact, it has been argued that more than stressing the conduct of periodic elections, a democracy should, instead, be measured by how much it provides “opportunity for political participation, political equality and the possibility of an alternative government” besides ensuring, ultimately, “widespread habit of tolerance and compromise among members of a community.” Sadly, these variables appear absent in Nigeria’s democracy. Indeed, if recent media reports are anything to go by, Nigeria is apparently confronted with a Herculean challenge in its avowed determination to build an enduring democratic political culture with its army of intolerant and desperate politicians. From across the country, there are disconcerting accounts of unspeakable intolerance ranging from violent conduct of party supporters to bombings, killings, destruction of opposing candidates’ billboards and denial of campaign venues as well as access to government –owned media outfits to opposition parties by some state governors in the ongoing electioneering campaigns leading to the April general elections. For us to deepen our democracy, we must appreciate/ encourage Participatory governance – enabling citizens to engage with governance processes within the state. This provides more direct popular access to policymaking. Deliberative democracy emphasises the quality of deliberation in public participation, aiming to shift democratic governance from bargaining and power play to shared reasoning among equal citizens. Another view is on Empowered participatory governance (EPG). Thisis based on bottom-up participation, careful deliberation of pragmatic issues and institutional design aiming for devolution alongside strong central supervision. Benefits of Empowered Participatory Governance: 1. Effective Problem Solving 2. Equity 3. Broad and Deep Participation -Beyond achieving effective and fair public outcomes, these experiments also attempt to advance the venerable democratic value of engaging ordinary citizens in sustained and meaningful participation. FEDERALISM OR PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT What has the presidential system done for Nigeria, except to promote dictatorship, arrogance, corruption and lack of leadership? One needs to examine the First Republic under Tafawa Balewa, when the regions played a strong role in the balance of power and in the improvement in the lives of the citizens. Although the coup of 1966 justifiably responded to issues of failure in that government, with the benefit of hindsight, anyone would prefer to re-live those problems compared to what the country is suffering today. Under the regional constitution, before dictatorial imposition of unitary rule by the military in 1966, there was healthy competition among the various regions in the fields of agriculture, education, trade and communications. Planning was decentralized and law enforcement agencies were accountable to their local populations. Someone like Tafa Balogun could not amass such wealth, except that all police powers in the whole country have been vested in one individual feeding off of kickbacks and commissions from all the state commands. You want to fight corruption? Presidential rule is the best way to continue corruption and increase it, as government degenerates into “lobbying”. Even the sacked Minister of Education, Fabian Osuji, said it, as reported in Vanguard of 12 April: “Osuji insisted that if the country continued to practice the presidential system of government, money was going to continue to change hands.” What therefore is the reason to keep a presidential system, except to protect the interests of a clique or small group of people who surround the big man and derive all their wealth and power from him–not from the masses, as is supposed to be the case in a democracy? The abusers of power will relinquish that power voluntarily, and the national dialogue does not have an independent voice with which to demand reform. In America the term “federal government” is usually understood to refer exclusively to the national government based in Washington. This, however, is not an accurate interpretation of the term as it excludes the role played by other aspects of government concerned with the federalist structure. Federalism can be seen a compromise between the extreme concentration of power and a loose confederation of independent states for governing a variety of people usually in a large expanse of territory. Federalism has the virtue of retaining local pride, traditions and power, while allowing a central government that can handle common problems. (1) It ensures that government remains close to the people because the state government argue that they are more in tune with the daily needs and aspirations of people especially relevant to small and isolated places. (2) It encourages development of the nation in a decentralized and regional manner and allows for unique and innovative methods for attacking social, economic and political problems. (3) It provides a barrier to the dominance of the majority. Federalism is the method by which the diverse population is better represented in the democracy. The national government makes many important decisions that impact our daily lives; however, there are some issues on which the opinion of the American public varies widely. In a federal system, the states should be responsible for making policies that involve social, family, and moral/religious issues. This is one of the most important advantages of a federal system. The decentralization of the government allows the desires and needs of smaller groups of people to be acknowledged and fulfilled at the local level. God Bless Nigeria! (SUO) wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 5:07 pm Samuel Uchenna Okwara Less I forget, another way we can deepen our democracy is via exponging corruption as a practice. For democracy to survive in Nigeria, the fight against corruption must be sincere. Corruption is bribery, abuse of power, privilege and trust. As Kofi Annan the UN secretary general has said: Corruption undermines democracy, and the rule of law. It leads to human rights violation, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organized crime and terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. Nigeria has good people. We are rich in human and mineral resources. However, mismanagement of 21 resources, under utilization of manpower has been the bane of our nation. We must build effective accountability, especially in government. Institutions must be strengthened. Politicians and bureaucrats must be accountable to the people. Professional bodies such as the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Nigeria Institute of Surveyors (NIS), etc., should make sure that their members who occupy public offices are accountable. The federal government has embarked on anti-corruption crusades. Government has also instituted due process in public expenditure in order to reduce corruption in public procurement and measures to ensure transparency in our extractive industries. The National Assembly has co-operated with the Executive by enacting enabling Laws. Despite obvious political bias on the part of the anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) some successes have been recorded. More needs to be done to significantly reduce corruption, and restore public confidence in government. God bless you and Nigeria too! SUO! wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 5:54 pm Abiodun Ajayi Fellow change agent, i therefore urge us to be consistence in making sure that this true democracy and federalism is well implement by our leader. And i think it is high time we mobilize ourselves for this change and stand up for what is right and just like the philosophy of Gani Fawehinmi, he quote when you are standing for what is right don’t ever think you are standing alone. Yes we need true democracy and i hope we are the leader of today who will epitomize and make this great nation great again. It begins with us. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 5:59 pm Abiodun Ajayi I still strongly believe that if patriotic young people emerge corruption, lack of electricity, unemployment, lack of quality education will become the thing of the past. Lets stand in oneness and unity to clamor for this change. Lets act and overwhelm stagnancy. look at issue of the former speaker of the house of representatives what are they doing about it, then what is there about true democracy or federalism. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 6:54 pm davingson …Nigeria is one of the countries of the world, that runs non free Democracy…. Our Democracy is not yet free due to the numerous illegalities found in our Democratic state. The system of governance, to a large extent is not our problem. There is no system of governance that can function effectively when its Sanction System is weak. In Nigeria, we have a Constitution which serves as a nation guide, but there is NO PROPER SANCTION SCHEME. In our nation today, it is only the peasantries and few disloyalists that gets equal sanction to their offences. So, Democracy will not survive very well in such an environment. I still suggest we remain in Presidential system of government. However, Democracy in Nigeria can only be deepen if the stipulations of our Constitution is followed to the letter. Were any defaulter is properly penalized…. Davingson wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 8:45 pm eghosa kings A federal system of government is one that divides the powers of government between the national (federal) government and state and local governments.But here in Nigeria we are practicing a centralized system of government whereby the resources of the nation is being controlled by the federal government. Economically, infra structurally, educationally, and all other social amenities.We have to rely on the federal government because we believe that they have power to provide this things. The state and the local government have to solemnly depend on the federal government to pay salaries and to meet other of it development prospect under it jurisdiction, This has resulted to long infrastructural decay in the nation caused with the little share the state and local government get from the national wealth, after paying salaries, others are left at the mercy of security vote, paying of political offices holder and little percent is giving to capital project. In last several years many people including state government have agitated for Nigeria to revert to the true federalism as obtain when the three regions manage their own affair to a great extent. In Nigeria the central government (federal government) can summon any of the state government at will, cos he has the power or maybe they belong to the same political parties, but in the USA which Nigeria seems to copy, the president cannot order the government of Nevada or any other state to come to Washington just as the colossal sum being waste on state offices at Abuja are unpardonable. In Nigeria the government are crying out on the stifling central government that get so much allocation that is used to the disadvantages of the state. In a true federalism no state should need to crawl to the president for it entitlement. Nigeria ‘federalism a joke , but not the funny variety. Nigeria once thrived and held great promises under strong regional government led by (chief Awolowo) in the west, (Dr Azikiwe in the east and sardaua in th north). Each region mapped it’s course and put priority in the areas it consider important held back by a confused federal system that want those among whom was a minister of education who lashed out at the wed quest of education. Nigeria can co-exist peacefully, but the kind of unity that unitary as far as government from is concerned, a federation with an all-knowing president whose omniscience is rooted in controlling vast sums of money to deploy for whipping state and local government into complacency, is not accept and he unity the system Forster is a unity of graveyard. The starting point of true federalism is the review of the 1999 constitution and putting in place a mechanism that will ensure genuine participation of all stakeholder in the process.Nigeria is far fetch from true federalism that has resulted in an over bearing center with beggarly and weak federating unit this can’t urge well for a comprehensive & sustainable good governance & ensuring democracy. Nigeria today run a centralize security system that impedes the gathering of intelligence & control of crime it is only through the institutionalization of local community & communal means of apprehending & managing such that security can be guaranteed. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 9:54 pm Abidemi Oderinlo Until Democracy is viewed as a true system for the representation of the people and not just noise at the polling booth, the battle with bad governance will never be over. Whether it’s from top to bottom or vice versa with respect to federalism, as long as the democratic system remains illiberal, the rule of law will not be respect or adhered to neither will the constitution be more than just mere documentation. To address, every unit of our democracy, beginning with the people must practice what they demand from the government they institutionalize with their votes. Before we can complain about the roads, we must first of all keep the tiny gutters free from our refuse and waste that constantly block the drains in other to ensure that it is not worsen by water that gets lodge on the road from blocked drainage. We must be honest in our daily dealings and be transparent in our affairs in other to justify our demand of this things from the leadership we install through our votes or those that get there by ridging… The truth is that the leaders we have are from within us, and they are a representation of who we are. If we want change then we must change, and the effective way to see this change is to be the change we want to see. it begins with me, it begins with you.. The US type of federalism will proffer more inudiating change only if we make it work at all level, the present system we have will even be good if only things are done the right way, but in the long run, i will go with true federalism, our system is too central and thus call for real overhauling or a total change. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 10:58 pm fagro The Owelle, Nnamdi Azikiwe was the first President of Nigeria while Tafawa Balewa was the first prime Minister. That was in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic. By the time we for no good reason abandoned what the parliamentary system represented. it was obvious that it was not a well debated issue. It was premised on sentiments. The USA was the world”s super power and we were the super power in Africa. Why shouldn’t we be like them seemed the pressing issue. The problem really is not the system adopted but the failure to adopt some home grown modification with it. In a friendly pontification, a friend of mine once mused at the possibility of having our political leaders take oath of offices before a shrine and of course that means the day they contravene what the constitution represents they are done for. It’s not the system in summary but the persons behind the system. An accountable system like that with instance punishment would deepen our democracy. Perhaps. Perhaps not. wrote on October 19th, 2011 at 8:54 am Nwarie, Ihechi Iheanyichukwu Nigeria should have its own variant of democracy. Our democracy should be suitable for our cultural and religious diversity. True Federalism as practiced in the US is quite good, but we have to make it more adaptable to our own condition here. What we need in the first place is constitutional amendment. It is no longer arguable that the 1999 constitution is grossly inadequate to carry our democracy to greater heights. We need a people-oriented constitution that will address the needs of the people. This constitution has to take into consideration all the diversities in the nation with a view to harnessing them for good. Key issues that need amendment in the constitution include: Tenure of elected officials especially the President and the Governors, Immunity clause, Number of States in each Geo-political zone, Autonomy of States, Resource control, Strengthening of anti graft agencies among others. The above issues are very germane in entrenching a formidable democracy that will be an example to other African Nations and indeed the entire world. I believe we can get there. It’s a duty that lies with all of us, both those in power and we the followers, to show strong determination in building a lasting democracy for our dear nation. God bless Nigeria.