Coronavirus and the purpose of government

Right from the day they have been sworn into workplace on October 1, 1979, the 5 governors of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the Second Republic introduced the introduction of free training in any respect ranges in addition to free common healthcare for all in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and Bendel states.

This was in achievement of their pledge to the voters as enshrined of their get together’s manifesto. As a younger UPN fanatic at the time, I used to be apprehensive that the UPN governors had taken a quite reckless danger in saying such a sweeping welfarist programme with out first ascertaining the state of the funds they have been inheriting. How have been they positive they might discover the funds to implement the programme?

The campaigns for the 1979 elections that ushered them into energy had been significantly intense and bitter. In competition particularly in the campaigns have been the UPN’s guarantees of free training in any respect ranges and free well being companies for all.

The National Party of Nigeria (NPN), which had the inexperienced revolution in agriculture and mass provision of housing on prime its personal coverage agenda, dismissed the UPN’s guarantees as mere election profitable gimmicks.

But the UPN touted its chief, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s observe report of exemplary efficiency as Premier of the Western Region in the First Republic, his well-known knack for detailed and meticulous planning in addition to the first-class intellectuals that constituted the get together’s suppose tank.

The UPN went on to efficiently implement these programmes in the states below its management. Indeed, in Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande even went additional to outperform the NPN palms down in the space of mass housing provision.

Across the 5 UPN states, faculty enrolment elevated considerably consequently of the free training coverage, which confirmed {that a} want was certainly being met and its purpose served.

Earlier, as Premier of the Western Region, Awolowo’s Action Group (AG) had scaled nice odds to scrupulously and exemplarily implement its programme of free common main training for all youngsters of faculty going age, free medical remedy for all youngsters as much as the age of 18, one hospital for every of the twenty-four Administrative Divisions in the Region which didn’t already possess one and higher wages for the working class amongst others.

In his enthralling autobiography, Awolowo graphically spelt out the iron will and extraordinary self-discipline liable for the Western Region government’s coverage audaciousness and its excessive stage of success in implementing them. Let me quote him at some size: “Apart from administrative impediments, we did acknowledge that there have been additionally monetary hurdles of a mountainous top to be overcome.

But we have been decided to blast our means by way of all of them, and compel the pressure of any hostile circumstance to serve our will.

We had put in lengthy and exhausting preparation to fulfill the problem of the new structure; we had advanced elaborate plans which, with such modification as inside information of governmental information and figures would possibly dictate, have been able to be launched at a second’s discover; and what’s extra, we had an abiding, flaming religion in the soundness and reasonableness of our plans”.

As a consequence of the very bold social welfare programmes for the lots, which that they had dedicated themselves to actualize if elected, Chief Awolowo in the First Republic and the UPN governors in the Second Republic needed to impose on themselves the highest requirements of self self-discipline and fiscal prudence in workplace.

With such far reaching objectives to be met, there was no room for frivolous expenditure of government funds. In saying and committing to implementing the complete welfare programmes of their get together, these visionary leaders burned the bridges behind them after crossing the river.

They had no alternative however to swim or sink. For them, there was simply no different to success. Is it not stated that in case you purpose for the stars, you’ll at the very least attain the moon?

What has been manifestly lacking in governance in the over twenty years of this democratic dispensation is the setting of objectives of a sufficiently bold nature that may process the ingenuity, mind, will and capability for self-discipline of leaders in any respect ranges of government.

More than ever earlier than, the raging Coronavirus pandemic presents to us a chance to take very critically the lone voice of famend human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who has relentlessly canvassed the concrete actualization in any respect ranges of the complete socio-economic rights enshrined in the 1999 structure.

There are those that have made the largely analytically worthless argument that the 1999 structure is a doc predicated on falsehood as a result of it claims to be a product of “We the individuals”, which it purportedly shouldn’t be.

This viewpoint would dismiss wholesale the extant structure as if the good governance we need is a perform of semantics and authorized technicalities.

Yet the structure, regardless of its simple defects, comprises many sturdy factors and doesn’t in any means impede productive and efficient governance if the requisite visionary, dedicated and purpose oriented management is accessible.

Can anybody even for an occasion think about that an Obafemi Awolowo, Lateef Jakande, Michael Okpara, Ahmadu Bello, Bola Ige or Balarabe Musa, to call just a few, wouldn’t make an excellent success of governance at any stage if working below this structure?

Chapter 11 of this structure, which makes a complete provision for the socio-economic welfare of the Nigerian individuals from the cradle to the grave, is one of the most progressive, humanist, even revolutionary, insertions in any structure in the world throughout time and area. It is a doc of which all Nigerians ought to justifiably be very interval.

Expounding on this portion of the structure in his e book, ‘Nigerian Law of Socio-Economic Rights’, Falana writes, “However, in response to the common demand for the institution of a welfare state when the nation witnessed oil growth in the 1970s, the Constitution Drafting Committee arrange by the federal government in 1975 advisable the inclusion of Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution.

The advice was accepted by the federal government which included them in chapter 11 of the 1979 Constitution. Similar provisions have been enshrined in the 1999 Constitution”.

Now, what precisely does this pivotal part of the structure enshrine as the purpose of government? In the phrases of Falana in his e book, “The provisions of the basic aims cowl socioeconomic rights similar to the proper to safety and welfare, proper to political participation, proper to training, proper to well being, proper to surroundings, proper to safe enough means of livelihood together with appropriate and enough shelter, appropriate and enough meals, cheap minimal residing wage, old-age care and pensions, unemployment or sick advantages and welfare of the disabled and different weak individuals”.

But why have such ennobling ideas and objectives not pushed governance in Nigeria particularly on this dispensation? Falana hits the nail on the head, “However, the ruling class has ensured that whereas civil and political rights assured in chapter 4 of the Constitution are justiciable, the jurisdiction of the courts is totally ousted with respect to the enforcement of socioeconomic rights.

This concept of non-justiciability has restricted the entry of victims of socioeconomic rights abuse to efficient cures”.

There are those that will argue that it’s inconceivable for government to seek out the assets to fund such expansive welfare programmes. No due to Coronavirus, such postulations have been rendered out of date.

Governments throughout the world, not excluding the most ideologically conservative ones, are all of a sudden discovering humongous quantities of assets to stimulate their economies, help failing sectors in addition to offering monetary succor to the poor and weak.

Virtually all international locations now understand that having giant numbers of people who find themselves poor, jobless; homeless or residing in slums and overcrowded shanties; hungry and malnourished or sick and unable to afford healthcare; constitutes a grave hazard to the very existence of complete societies.

Making Chapter 11 of the Nigerian Constitution justiciable will assist redefine and rediscover the important purpose of government. It will assist be sure that aspirants to public workplace are now not motivated by the need for pleasure and the straightforward life.

Rather, they are going to be compelled to process and self-discipline themselves to the uttermost to actualize the excessive purpose for which government exists. It is the positive technique to curbing wastage in governance and rampant corruption in excessive workplace as all assets must be channeled to fulfill the constitutionally enforceable obligations of government to the individuals. Above all, it is going to compel the elimination of these structural impediments to each element half of the federation being economically viable and productive entities.

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