Ahead of the February 14 presidential election, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has called on political parties to centre their campaign on the big issue, saying that corruption, power generation, developing non- oil revenue sources, job creation among others, which many see as big issues are not so.
He said the big issue is creating a new national order, a new political structure that will help the country avert a looming danger.
Agbakoba said this in a letter he addressed to the national chairmen of the two leading political parties: the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Adamu Mu’azu, and John Odigie-Oyegun respectively and made available to journalists during a press conference in Lagos yesterday. The letter reads in part: “The 2015 elections will be critical to the future of Nigeria as a nation.
I doubt that we have all the fundamentals in place for credible elections to hold. The political space is super-charged. As far as I can see, there are no real political issues coming out of the election campaigns. “Neither party has presented any core issues in this campaign. We need to see big issues in this campaign.
I know that many assume that the big issues are corruption, power generation, developing non- oil revenue sources, job creation etc. These are no doubt important issues but for me and I hopefully speak the minds of many concerned Nigerians, the big issue is creating a National Order.
According to him, “Nigeria is a nation with diverse ethnic groups. A national order is urgently needed to manage our diversity. It is my view that Nigeria can only resolve the existing conflagration of diversity if we ask and seek answers to the questions posed by the late Bola Ige, when he said: ‘There are two basic questions that must be answered by all of us Nigerians.
One, do we want to remain as one country? Two, if the answer is yes, under what conditions?’ I respectfully suggest that Ige’s questions are well framed as the issues we need to resolve to create a national order.”
Agbakoba said that it was in this light that his predecessor as NBA president, late Aka-Bashorun, articulated Nigerians collective disappointment by calling for a Sovereign National Conference far back as the 1980s, adding: “It is regrettable however, that all national conferences organized to discuss Nigeria’s national order have been unsuccessful.”
Continuing, the human right activist reminisces: “The European Order, created after an exhausting war by the Treaty of Westphalia, which brought to an end the 80 years war between Spain and the Dutch and the German phase of the 30 years’ war, as well as the Conference of Vienna, created to avoid the scramble for Africa, which “ordered” the partition of Africa; the Japanese Order created by the Meiji restoration, a political and social revolution between 1866 and 1869, which ended the power reign of the Tokugawa Shogun and returned Emperor Meiji to a central position in Japanese politics, among others, he said a national order is important and critical to political stability in Nigeria.
Agbakoba said: “The current Order of the United Kingdom was created by the Good Friday Agreement, a major development in the Northern Ireland Peace Process. So, my advice is to meditate deeply on establishing a national order.
This task falls on your presidential candidates. Nigeria cannot aspire to its national goals without defining its national order. The analogy of a billionaire polygamist who will not have peace unless he creates a Family Order aptly illustrates the Nigerian dilemma.
It is obvious that Nigeria with all its abundant resources will not have peace and stability unless and until it creates a National Order.”