By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu, Sept. 13, 2020 (NAN) The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has urged socio-political critics to avoid heating up the polity but join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari to proffer pragmatic solutions to the nation’s challenges.
Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the call while addressing journalists in Enugu on Sunday on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s statement titled; “Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over.”
He said that Nigeria needed credible inputs now, and not fueling of crisis by “those who by commission, or omission, planted the reprehensible seeds that were manifesting today in the country.”
He appealed to Obasanjo and other patriots to join Buhari in building pragmatic-consensus solutions by adhering to the imperatives of Utopian Solutions Distancing.
“True! True! Things are hard, no doubt. I wholeheartedly agree with our elder statesman, Chief Obasanjo, that things are tough for us Nigerians; and `ground is not level’.
“But the truth is that the Buhari I know is not happy about the insecurity in the land or happy that Nigeria scored the infamous position of world poverty capital,” Okechukwu said.
According to him, his (Buhari’s) efforts may not be the best. However, he is working round the clock on how best to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“Hence the unprecedented Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution, one of his pragmatic-consensus solution, fixing of physical infrastructure and his effort on releasing monies accruing to local councils and state judiciary nationwide directly,’’ he said.
On what he means by Utopian Solutions Distancing, Okechukwu said., “I sincerely mean that we are in liberal democracy.
“And as such, one appeals to eminent patriots like our revered Chief Obasanjo and the leadership of Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and their clan to as a matter of urgent national importance adhere strictly to the imperative of Utopian Solutions Distancing and cultivate fate in our fledgling democracy.
“One, is it not Utopian to make laws in Nigeria today in isolation of the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution? Methinks the constitution is the grand norm, is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Our constitutional democracy has engrained provisions for periodic elections and subversion of this maxim may set Nigeria on fire,’’ the VON D-G warned.
Okechukwu wondered how we would avert the tipping over when Obasanjo, instead of prodding, persuading and lobbying the National Assembly to do the needful, was hailing the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group for disparaging the same National Assembly’s push toward amending the constitution?
He added that Nigerians elected the members of the national assembly and must at all times persuade and lobby them to do their biddings. Alternatively, Nigerians vote them out in the next election.
When reminded that Obasanjo was saying that it was waste of funds, that previous efforts by the National Assembly to amend the constitution, failed woefully; Okechukwu said,“
The VON D-G, however, maintained that change in democracy throughout history had been incremental and not a quickie; adding: “Democracy is not a revolution, but evolutionary in the real sense, so instead of condemning the National Assembly, we should join in persuading them to do the needful.”
Okechukwu warned that any other option outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution; whether we hate or like any section of the constitution is null and void, and therefore utopian.
He reminded Nigerians that Buhari with Executive Order 10, which is designed as first line charge of funding of the local councils and state judiciary nationwide directly, had incrementally commenced the true devolution of powers.
The APC chieftain expressed optimism that support from governors and the National Assembly would give life to Executive Order 10.
“All Buhari needs today is credible inputs, not fueling of angst; especially by those who by commission or omission corrupted the health of our democracy via questionable elections, 3rd Term gambit and imposition of candidates.
“Chief Obasanjo was at the helm of affairs when Sharia was declared in certain sections of the country against our secularity, and looked the other way. The ignoble seeds he planted yesterday, possibly, are the seeds regrettably manifesting today,’’ he said.
Okechukwu said that the country needed pragmatic-consensus solutions more along class lines not ethno-geopolitical lines to arrive at a true nation-state.
“Therefore, for our elder statesman, Obasanjo to mount the podium and proclaim that, these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country’ is absolutely false,” he said.
Okechukwu also said that aside blame games, it would amount to self-denial or selective amnesia to distant Boko Haram from gross unemployment arising from planless and squander mania of past decades and the mishandling of Sharia declaration.