Sunday, 12 March 2017

Security, good governance and democracy in Africa.

                     By Bayo Ogunmupe
     This is a massive, paperback book from a seasoned technocrat. The author, Dr Dan Mou is an expert on public policy analysis. He is worth being listened to by politicians and public servants. Published by the famous Author House Publishers of Bloomington in Indiana, United States in 2016; National Security, Good Governance and Democracy in Africa is a book worth the reading by anyone passionate about Nigeria's prosperity. The book demonstrates that National security and good governance are opposite sides of the same coin.
     As good governance improves and develops society, national security also improves the well-being of the people. The challenges to national security become lesser and lesser as society grows prosperous and peaceful. in this book, Dr Mou avers that for most of Africa, security and good governance are not happening fast enough. Mou avows  that poor governance is leading African youth into self help, which includes, violence, kidnapping, militancy and migration. Which is why African youth are migrating through the Mediterranean sea into Europe and over land into more prosperous nations of Eastern and Southern Africa.
     Thus, the issues of national security and good governance have become complicated by militancy, kidnapping and rural and urban migration. The book is in four parts; has 24 chapters; eight appendices and additional readings. With a bibliography running into 30 pages, the book has 860 pages. Other issues covered by the book includes human rights, social integration, international trade and foreign policy. Herewith is a repository of many workable schemes and suggestions masterminded by a research guru on public policy. Such schemes as the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and the Amnesty Programme for the development of the Niger Delta region.
     The entire eight appendices comprising hundreds of pages contain the quantum of Mou's suggestions. He shows that the problems of poor national security and bad governance in our democracy arise more in the context  of periods of weak leadership and weak institutions. All of these determine the posture and state of our national security, good governance and democracy. Moreover, under harsh economic conditions, more challenges tend to surface. This is because a deepening economic crisis generates more social conflicts based on social cleavages. The cleavages comprise divisions based on class, ethnicity, religion, language, race and gender. Each set attempts to capture the state and use state authority and power to favour their exclusive interests.This affects the autonomy of the state, its policies and their impact on the people at large.
     In concluding Mou's take on economic revival, we are delving on his many memoranda on how to quickly revamp the Nigerian economy. A memorandum on that was submitted to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha in 1993. Among his suggestions to Abacha was the cancellation of Ibrahim Babangida's Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Though SAP was not designed as a long term economic plan, it was mistakenly allowed to outstay its welcome.
     At that time, the Nigerian economy faced major distortions with unviable parastatals squandering scarce public resources on questionable projects. In domestic affairs, SAP promoted initiatives from private entrepreneurs, local sourcing of raw materials. But the political consequences of SAP had been negative. The removal of subsidy on consumer goods increased poverty. Which was why he proposed the abrogation of SAP and the abrogation of foreign exchange as was managed by the Babangida administration.
     According to Mou, printing naira notes will cause a revaluation of the currency. He also advocated the dissolution of the National Planning Commission and the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Economy. With the continued poor performance of the economy up till date, it is difficult to say that the planning commission has lived up to our expectation of providing useful advice to the government on the economy.
     In chapters 2, 3 and 4, Mou discussed Human Rights. But the locus of his thoughts is on the modernization of the Nigerian civil service, waging war on corruption and deregulating the workforce as the lasting solution to the minimum wage debacle. In that regard, Mou has used the appendices as the journal of record of his suggestions to Nigeria's heads of state from Babangida to Umaru Yar Adua. His memorandum on the Civil Service and war on corruption led to his friendship with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
       Mou's advice on deregulation he borrowed from the Administration of President Franklin Roosevelt of the USA. The policy started during the great depression in the U.S. There, the private and public sector workers  could not be paid; their wages were not sustainable because of the depression. To tap the vast energies of the people, the policy makers decided that workers should be fully deregulated such that any worker is free to have two or more jobs. It also allows workers in their free time, to do anything that is economically viable, provided it is legal; to earn more money  and improve their individual welfare. Thus, the jobs an individual holds is entirely dependent on his energy, marketability and his need for more income.
     This policy shifts the burden of family prosperity from government. Dependence on government will also reduce. Mou's second memorandum to Obasanjo with input from Rose Abang Wushishi, a retired assistant inspector general of police, produced the EFCC. The original proposal was titled: National Economic and Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency. In part three, Mou gave conditions of how to institutionalize and sustain democracy in Nigeria. Methods of sustaining democracy through effective conflict resolution mechanism occupies chapter eight. He he traces sources of conflict boundary dispute over land; the federal civil service; the Presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 
      Inherent in our society are allocations by government which tend to be unequal in the perception of the people; whether real or imagined. Therefore, legitimacy is pursued in order to avoid conflict and disintegration in our society. That was why the Federal Character clause was inserted into the Nigerian Constitution. They provided provisions for resolving the issues of marginalization, pluralism and justice. Marginalization introduces such issues as true federalism, resource control and ethic domination. Accordingly, the 1991 Nigerian Population Census gave 53.19 percent to Northern Nigeria and 46.80 percent to Southern Nigeria.
       In terms of the federal character clause, it implies that every thing in Nigeria must be divided in like manner for justice and equity. In other words, justice and fair play must prevail in order for peace to reign. Sadly, the causes of conflict were spawn by colonialism. Contact with the West started from the South. It took decades before it reached Northern Nigeria. This is why the South had a head start in Western education. At that time, the Hausa and the Fulani ethnic groups were in contact with Eastern and Arabic civilization. Had Arabic language been adopted as our lingua franca at independence, Southerners would today have been considered uneducated. The lesson therefore, is not to trivialize the issue of marginalization. The answer is to seek solutions to the prevailing inequality in the land.
       Certainly Mou has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria. He had his first degree in Political Science from the University of Ibadan. He had his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the USA. He specialized in public policy analysis. After teaching politics briefly at the University of Jos, he joined the Presidency in 1989. After  stints as director, drug control; secretary, National Poverty Eradication Programme and director, Ministry of Defence, He ended his service as adviser to the National Security Advisers to three consecutive Nigerian governments. He is married with children.

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