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THE MAGIC WAND THAT SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE IS NOT


BY: CHRIS EDACHE AGBITI, ESQ  
 Published Published March 13th, 2012

The Nigerian intelligentsia never fails to amuse me for always towing bandwagon position each time an issue of national concern is on a front burner. I have always found it quite farcical seeing a number of Nigerians who lay claim to belonging to the intelligentsia subscribing to a position not popularized or arrived at by any process of critical scientific reasoning but by the bare fact of such position or thinking merely wearing, for instance, a tinge of novelty. A little voyage into our recent past will undoubtedly lend credence to the above.

Let me start from the not-too-long-a-distant past of the hey days of the mad rush for company share acquisition, when the refrain on the lips of anyone who thought himself or herself your well-wisher, was to render the unsolicited counsel to buy shares of blue-chip companies and enjoy the exponential growth on the investment within a short period of time. And thus, over night, almost every Nigerian who had a few Naira to spare became a financial advisor on company share acquisition, so much so that the bandwagon effect did not spare holy sanctuaries, as lectures on share acquisition almost became part of the liturgy in our places of worship. Then, came the tsunami of global melt down and subsequently, the Sanusiís bank reform, that helped to expose the rump of the chicken. Now, we all know better.

Enter the late President YaríAdua. At the outset of his administrations, when little was known about the man, many had already gone to town to regale us of how independent minded he was, and it spread like wild fire. Even when the nation almost came to a stand still, consequent upon the presidentís ill health, a section of the intelligentsia could still afford to regale us that the late president was meticulously studying the situation on ground in order to come up with a lasting panacea. Then, death came calling and laid its cold hand on the President, exposing the hidden cabals behind the mask. Now, we know better.

The choice of President Goodluck Jonathan did not escape the bandwagon pontification on how Mr Presidentís name and mien would become the open sesame to the expected El Dorado. Even now, the pontification continues, awaiting the righteous judge of men and circumstance (time) to deliver its final verdict.

And, now, enter once again, the acclaimed elixir called Sovereign National Conference. While it is conceded that the agitation for Sovereign National Conference has been with us for some time now, in recent time, there has been a renewed resonance in the agitation. While the fact cannot be gainsaid that there is nothing wrong for a people to hold regular talk among themselves in a bid to forge ahead, it is however, worrisome to begin to regard such avenue for discussion as an end in itself. For whatever Sovereign National Conference may be worth, it will be quite delusional to think that it is the magic wand we all need to get ourselves out of the systemic decay we have found ourselves.

Pray, as lofty as the idea of the Sovereign National Conference may appear in concept, certain questions beg for answers: by what means would the participants for the conference be selected? Through the same procedure that our so-called elected representatives emerged? Who implements the decisions that may be arrived at by the participant at the conference? The same present government saddled with the responsibility of implementing the plethora of findings of the numerous panels of inquiry and fact-finding committees whose graves litter the shelves of all the government ministries, departments and agencies in our polity?

It is high time we come down to the brass to tell ourselves a few home truths rather joining the bandwagon in the agitation for sovereign national conference: until the hydra headed monster called corruption is fought head on and wrestled to the ground, we will just be creating another playground for the beneficiaries of the existing order to up their antics.

* CHRIS EDACHE AGBITI, ESQ.,

IS OF THE LAW FIRM OF OBLA AND CO.,

BANK OF INDUSTRY BUILDING, ABUJA


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