CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA
This publication of Constitutional Reform and federalism in Nigeria is at the instance of the first annual colloquium of Ajasin foundation held in Nov. 2000. The colloquium, which has its theme: Towards A Democratic Constitution for Nigeria: Nationalism and the Battle against Graft addressed wide ranges of issues that boarded on the state of the nation under four sub-themes. The colloquin was held to sub stain public debate and to proffer suggestions that could facilate the resolution of the hydra headed political problems that threaten the Nigerians democracy merging the democracy. The colloquium also sought to identify and evaluate the best possible mechanism and or option for a coordinated frame work for a national conference that is relevant to Nigerians peculiar political situation.
The views expressed by participant at the colloquium are reflected in this monograph, to complement the resourceful presentations by eminentpersonalities and expert whose paper provided the leads for engaging deliberation on the board issues of constitutionalism, nationality questions and federation in Nigeria. The papers deal extensively with the thematic issues upon which the plank of their agitations for national conference rested; and make critical diagnose and prognoses on the various national question that have not just become familiar but more often misunderstood, if not distorted.
The restoration of civil governor in Nigerian on the eve of twenty first century was not without some reservation and apprehension justifiably though concerning the direction to which the country was headed soon after the darkest years under military tyranny. The limited space provided for participation in the transition to civil rule programmand the absence of acceptable constitutional framework to mid-wife the process cast serious doubt on the emerging democracy.Consequently,the vacillation of the political leadership after the turnover of power in May 1999a and the obvious lack of commitment to legitimate agitation of the people created frustration and began to manifest in the intensification of ethnic solidarities with increasing activities of ethnic militias.
Although national integration and cohesion had hardly be achieved in the federal system that was foisted on the national at the behest of first military intervention in 1966, the prolongation of military incursion into the political foray no doubt compounded the process of constitution making but also created deep –seated fears and suspicions amongst the diverseethnic nationalities in the country. It was not mere coincidence, therefore, that the popular struggle for democracy was hinged on this issues which approximate the agitation for the convocation of national conference aimed at addressing the inadequacy in the federal structural which essentially requires reforms in the constitution frame work and devolution of powers to conform the ideals of true federalism.
Ajasin foundation considered the lingering political problems confronting the nation very crucial to the consolidation of democracy moreso where the issues have assumed such disquieting prominent in national discourse. The foundation could not have consider anything more appropriate for discussion at that period; accordingly, the first colloquium was dedicated toward locating the most enduring roadmap into Nigerian’s democratic future by addressing the crosscutting issues of federalism and constitutionalism.
This monograph is the first in the series of such publications that would follow subsequent annual colloquium of the Ajasin foundation. Our estimation is that the continues search for the solution to the p4roblem that has been identified by the colloquium would further be bolstered by more dialogues now and in the future. This monograph, no doubt, would complement the existing publications by other individuals and groups on varying issues of constitutionalism and federalism in Nigeria and elsewhere.
If this publication ids found to be relevant and useful in contributing to knowledge about the issues listed for discussions, Ajasin foundation would like to give the credits to genuine lovers of democracy in Nigeria, particularly those who have demonstrated commitment to seeing that democracy survived in Nigerian on the bases of fairness, Justices, equity and human fulfillment.
Secretary to the Board of Trustees
January 2003 Order Book Now
NIGERIA ECONOMY AND THE DEBT BURDEN
In a mope significant sense, Nigerian economy is symptomatic of the problems afflicting the country politically. Following independence in I960, Nigeria economy was ranked amongst the best in the world. So buoyant was the economy in the 70s that a former military head of state once saw the country’s problem simply as how to spend money. However, the fortunes of the economy started taking turn for the worst in the early 80s when the currency began to depreciate.
The perpetration of military rule did not help matters with the intensification of fiscal indiscipline and monetary profligacy that became the major feature of military regimes. Notwithstanding the various bitter pills forced down the throats of the ordinary citizens under the pretext of necessary sacrifices needed to bail out the country from the economic .doldrums, the nation was plunged further into economic abyss. It was therefore not surprising in the early 90s when another military head of state described the ailing economy as defying logic.
One of the critical inadequacies that characterized the downturn in the economy is arguably the ever-increasing debt stock that continued to vitiate the growth of as a result of the waste constituted by debt servicing and or rescheduling. The debt burden had become so serious that the economy could hardly be revamped without finding a solution around the problem of debt pillage by one regime after the other. Closely associated with the debt burden is the cankerworm of corruption whose infestation constitute serious drawback to policy formulation and implementation as well.
The debt issue and the associated problems confronting the economy became the preference of Ajasin foundation for the 2001 colloquium for two reasons: there was the overriding concern for the resuscitation of the economy under a rather fragile transition democracy; and secondly, the need also arose for a conscious non-state engagement of the new democratic leadership so as to generate best options available for steering the country awa\ from the coast of debts acquisition and more importantly from the precipice of economic ruination which would portend far reaching implication for the emerging democracy. No doubt, the fact that these concerns pose imminent danger for the consolidation of democracy influenced the choice of the focus of the second colloquium which had as theme: Engaging the Albatross: National Economy, Debt Burden and Nigeria’s Democratization process.
It is pleasing to note that discussions at the second colloquium attracted attention from cross section of the public and from key players in government as well. The thought-provoking lead paper by Professor Sam Aluko on Nigeria’s debt profile was not just the tonic that set the colloquium in the proper mood for exhaustive and most engaging discourse, it also turned out to be the flame that ignited the reactions which the second colloquium generated afterwards. The papers presented by Dr. Kola Olufemi and Dr. Jolly Nwagbo on the sub-themes of the colloquium also chronicle the perilous route that the debt hangover has led Nigeria as a nation.
The colloquium may not have achieved much in reversing the, accustomed appetite for debt acquisition for now, the foundation is nevertheless confident that continuing debate on debt issue would ultimately get the government to do the right thing or do things right. The foundation is profoundly grateful to the participants for using the colloquium to provoke vigilance concerning the choices facing Nigeria in adopting the appropriate monetary and fiscal measures under the emerging democracy.
This monograph titled Nigerian Economy and the Debt Burden: Lesson
For a stable Democracy contains the summary of the proceedings at the colloquium and more importantly, the papers presented are edited for the benefit of continuing dialogue on the economy. We are convinced that this publication would contribute immensely in providing ample information on Nigeria debt stock and help in shedding lights on issues that would continue to shape Nigeria’s economic fortunes.
Ajasin foundation is encouraged by the unflinching support of Nigerians towards its activities. It is our expectation that the monograph would further promote engaging discussions that may help reshape the economy.
OlajumokeAnifowoshe (Mrs.) Secretary to the Board of Trustees
March 2003 Order Book Now
STATE OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
That education became the focus of the third annual colloquium of Ajasin foundation held in November 2002 was the least that could be done in view of the enormous problems facing the education system in Nigeria. Over the years, education in Nigeria suffered as a result of the neglect which manifest in inadequate funding, inconsistent policy change, lack of infrastructure and disruption of the school system. In the last two decades, institutions of higher learning, in particular, were reduced to theatres of conflict which led to series of industrial disputes and violent clashes involving rival groups on campus.
The foundation considered the ramified problems in the educational system as not only disturbing, but also desirous of serious attention by the stakeholders who need to rub mind and proffer solution to the problems. The colloquium was considered an appropriate forum for engaging deliberations concerning the troubled educational system; hoping that further steps in the form of campaigns or advocacy would be intensified at the end of the deliberations.
It was indeed pleasing to know that the colloquium offered a good number of people the opportunity to make useful contributions on the future of education Nigeria. For Ajasin foundation, what is at stake concerning education is certainly about the future: the future of the present generation, the future of the generation yet unborn,the future of the country.
The choice of the theme of the colloquium: Education and the Future of our Children was therefore deliberate. It has become a matter of utmost important to begin attitudinal change concerning commitment to education and to build mass consciousness towards realizing that education is vital in shaping the future of the citizens who individually and collectively would determine the future of the
Public interest, which the colloquium generated. It was quite assuring that the state of education in Nigeria is of serious concern to the generality of the people. No doubt, this accounted for the large audience at the colloquium which, comprises corporate bodies, civil society organizations, and administrators in the educational sectors, professional bodies in educational institutions and the various stakeholders in the civil society.
The colloquium benefitted from the contributions of notable educationists and experts in the education sector. The keynote speaker at the colloquium was a former federal minister of education while the Special Adviser to the president on Education chaired the opening ceremony. Other resource persons at the colloquium also brought their wealth of experience to bear in stimulating discussions.
This monograph contains the papers presented and summary report of the proceedings at the colloquium. Readers would no doubt find this publication useful in appreciating the enormous challenges that confront the nation in the education sector. We commend this monograph to individuals and groups who are involved, one way
or the other, in the administration of education in Nigeria. We are confident that some of the issues raised at the colloquium and contained in the monograph are pertinent to securing the future of education in Nigeria so that education would continue to be the tool for liberating the individuals as well as building the nation for the challenges of development..
Secretary to the Board of Trustees July 2003 Order Book Now