Opinion

Constitutionalism as bulwark against ‘Rogue’ politicians (1)

Daily news items of President Trump’s madness over his loss of the Presidential election and his supporters’ neurotic schemes to turn USA upside down including destroying capital have excited Nigerians.

Matters concerning the United States are of deep concern to Nigerians. Why such matters concerning the USA excite public interest in Nigeria is difficult to explain except if such could be explained on the position of USA as a world power.

But there are other world powers such as Britain, China, France and Russia. During the United States’ presidential election in 2008 where Barrack Obama, an Afro-American was running for U.S. Presidency on the platform of the Democratic Party, Nigerians seized the moment to even dance more than American dancers and weep more than the bereaved as constituted in Americans in support of Obama.

It was even taken a notch higher when quasi-governmental group was formed under the chairmanship of Ms Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke to organise an appeal fund for the support of Obama’s presidential campaign.

It was a timely warning that such unsolicited assistance would even damage Obama’s chances in the electoral processes that forced these government ‘pikins’ from continuing in their chosen path of perfidy. Also when Donald Trump was campaigning for the first time, many Nigerians as moral supporters without the votes lined themselves for Trump and Hilary Clinton. Even when Trump won and called Nigeria a “shithole” and its president “lifeless” his supporters in Nigeria kept growing.

It was during Trump’s second term bid against Senator Joe Biden that the polarization of Nigeria by the cacophony of the contestants’ supporters became marked and deeply entrenched especially in the social media.

Why is this ‘American Wonder’ so enchanting to Nigerians? Why are Nigerians so fascinated about America and its ways, powers and glories? Yes, some Nigerians have learnt that America is the foremost, or even the sole super-power in the comity of nations and its culture, especially the pop-culture (music, films, fashion, etc.), the games (lawn tennis, basketball, rugby, tracks and other field events, professional boxing and wrestling, etc.) hold enthralling spell over Nigerians.

But few Nigerians bother to ask how the United States became and continues to be what it is today; the best and nothing but the best? Nobody cares to make that vital inquiry. And Nigerians are sold to the enthralling magic of the United States without understanding the substance or reason why U.S. is, and remains what it is; a nation of freedom and perpetual renewal and change.

As the French statesman and philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville stated in his book, Democracy in America, being a study he undertook to research the making of America and how it came to be what it was, and still is now, and the learned nobleman came to the irrefutable finding and conclusion that change remains the constant phenomenon in America as the state and society engage in perpetual experimentations and only what has not entered human mind is not tried out. The Western educated Nigerians love to make comparison between the United States and Nigeria without considering their respective backgrounds.

Nigeria is a ‘rogue’ neo-colonial state created by Britain and still superintended by it and as such the World Order grants Britain the right of managing it as “its area of influence.” In counterpoise, the United States was a colony of Britain but its people led by knowledgeable leaders did not allow Britain to create a state for it by managing its decolonizing process which would have berthed that 13 colonies as an amalgamated neo-colonial state as was the case with Nigeria between 1914 and 1960.

The United States was created by the great men of ideas who distilled knowledge from historical sources from classical Greek city states, Roman Empire, British constitutional history, American Indians communities’ governance structures, and its colonial constitutional development especially its democratic culture of Township Council system and State Assembly which were the bedrock of American democratic development. Nigeria was created by Britain by deploying its imperial subterfuge, archaic monarchical and feudal principles of conquest, racial supremacy and subjugation.

Considering these differing constitutional development paradigms how anyone can hope for the establishment of what the concerned Nigerian intellectuals love to call “strong institutions” beats imaginations.

What institutions are those that would be strong in the prevailing Nigeria’s political and constitutional development? Is it the Nigeria state forcibly imposed or the National Assembly that emanated and grew from a “mere debating society” embodied in the Lagos Legislative Council and together with the Lugardian Executive Commandery which Governor Hugh Clifford called an “untramelled autocracy without a counterpart anywhere else in British West Africa” or the Judiciary that grew from the Native Court System, the very bedrock of corruption or the armed forces that grew from Lugard’s Royal Niger Company constabulary used to conquer and subjugate Nigerian ethnic nationalities and communities under British colonial sovereignty?

So, which institution is that would grow and become “strong institution” in Nigeria? The day Nigerians stopped talking glibly about their country and its history perhaps, that will mark the beginning of the Nigeria renaissance into political and constitutional rebirth. Nigerians are appalled by the shenanigans of President Trump in rubbishing the U.S. electoral system just because he lost the election.

President Trump’s action remains unprecedented in American history. It was only during the Bush/Al Gore Presidential Election where Florida, President Bush’s state was alleged to have indulged in electoral practices that the U.S. electoral system was called to question but the parties quickly got over it to save the system unnecessary embarrassments. Trump’s first coming when he defeated Hilary Clinton in the Electoral College to clinch the presidency, even while Hillary Clinton have won the popular vote presaged today’s madness as it was alleged that Trump allowed external powers especially Russia to interfere with the electoral system.

The current electoral heist that President Trump has been trying to be foisted on USA has been largely defeated through the good sense, civic duty and loyalty of Americans and the fidelity of the courts and the political and electoral system to the constitution.

Not even the Republican Party of President Trump including his Presidential Executive branch has buckled under the weight of presidential pressures and they have remained faithful to the constitution by not sabotaging the popular mandate given to Senator Joe Biden. Many appointed political presidential aides have resigned their positions instead of betraying the United States.

All these cannot happen in Nigeria because the culture to sustain such good conduct is lacking as the system is bereft of the ruling ideas and institutions. So it is not possible to have this great United States experience in Nigeria because the culture and praxis are virtually absent. Nobody needs a prophet to state the obvious fact that Nigeria will never grow to a point where the law is supreme instead of the primitive ‘bigman’ who seizes the state and its institutions and turns them into his private instruments to realize his personal agenda and group interests without any consequences befalling him now or in the future.

The Nigerian head of state or president is designed to wield all the powers of medieval King of England before the Magna Carta and the Constitutional reforms that followed the Glorious Revolutions of 1788 when the monarch was divested of all real powers and left to luxuriate in forms, symbols and ceremonies.

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