On Workers Day, May 1st, not only are workers across the world celebrated for their contributions to the world, but another important initiative, #ThePlatform, which periodically tries to set a minimum standard of what governance should be like takes place.
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Over the years, Covenant Christian Centre, led by Pastor Poju Oyemade, made it a point to invite emerging or incumbent leaders to #ThePlatform to throw more light on their politics or principles of governance.
Speakers from across political, sectoral and ideological divides were invited to speak at the event and their insight and point of views remain crucial in channelling better nationhood. A few quotes from the event are worthy of consideration for a better polity.
“Nigerians cannot claim to want devolution of power and, at the same time, concentrate all efforts and participation on national politics.”
Dr Charles Omole
As a legal expert and constitutional jurist, Omole understands the Catch 22 situation in which the discussion around devolution of powers is caught in.
If the people really want devolution of powers, the people and especially aspiring leaders should begin to de-emphasize political offices at the Federal level and focus instead on grassroots level politics. At that stage, the allure of Federal politics would dwindle at some point.
“A government that is hostile to public opinion runs the risk of only listening to its own voice.”
Bishop Mathew Kukah
Bishop Kukah knows how important free speech is for a democracy to thrive. Constructive criticism of politicians, leaders and administrations will always appear like it is an attack on their fundamental principles.
However, for a good polity to fester and truly devolved power to be manifest, incumbent administrations have to be ready to take feedback to better a lot of the people.
“We need people who understand how 21st-century innovation works to run Nigeria. We need those who will understand how Flutterwave, Kobo 360, Paystack works and proffer the right policies not those who only know how to borrow money.”
Osita Chidoka, from his days as the youngest Corps Marshall of FRSC in Nigeria’s history, a sense of innovation helped him lay a new foundation for the Federal agency.
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Lasting reforms and innovation which enabled him to remodel FRSC from a laggard government department are the same that helped form world-class startup companies such as Flutterwave, Paystack. Devolution of powers will encourage more innovative thinking as each region will have to think for itself.
“People have power but they don’t use it. The governors have powers but have reduced most of their activities to sending someone or going to Abuja.”
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba
Power rests with the people. As a long time activist and ex-New president, Olisa Agbakoba’s struggles to emphasize the power people can wield against an oppressive government.
The power to recall erring legislators and impeach erring public servants remains with the people only if they are so determined to wield it. With the devolution of powers, there will be less pressure on the people to force the hand of government against its own excesses as democracy would have been more decentralised.
“Twitter activists, go local, go to the grassroots. Nigeria needs a citizenry that would consistently and irreverently hold the feet of those in office to fire.”
Gov. Kayode Fayemi
The belief that elective seats can be won with online campaigns is not quite true. Governor Fayemi would know this as he learnt this lesson the hard way when he lost an incumbent gubernatorial seat. He refused to connect with the grassroots.
When power is devolved from the centre, it is easier to hold the feet of political office holders to fire because they are now closer to the locals and the grassroots.
“Even if a country has the best constitution in the world, its efficacy will still depend largely on those whose duty it is to implement its provisions.”
As a former media to late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Adeniyi saw what a constitutional crisis was when Yar’Adua died abroad and a vacuum in leadership was left back home.
Having an updated constitution does not necessarily translate to the people remaining in good behaviour. However, one thing that may be consequent of the devolution of powers is the evolved culture that each region would begin to propagate in their respective domains.
Featured Image Source: @theplatformng – Twitter
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