In what could easily pass as a blanket dismissal of governance since Nigeria got her independence and a futuristic insight into what the country needs to do to stem the rot, Arc (Obong) Victor Attah, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, has concluded that even heavenly angels would fail if they attempt to govern Nigeria under the current system of government currently in place.
Speaking last week in a virtual Public Policy Dialogue put together by Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment (RISE), Attah was responding to a question put to him by Mr. Pascal Odibo, Head of Strategy for To Build A Nation, (TBAN), who co-moderated the dialogue with Mr. Udeme Etukeyen of RISE.
“How do you strengthen an institution? I keep hearing that. It was in our presence and Udeme spoke about it, that there was an onslaught on the judiciary, a major onslaught on the judiciary. Homes were broken, under a guise that there was some corruption. And that brought fear, a certain grip on the judiciary. And men of goodwill, some kept quiet. Some spoke. But it was clear to me at that time that this was a signal of what was waiting ahead of us. So sir I am asking; as a senior citizen what would you suggest represents a critical, credible way to hold the system accountable, irrespective… so that those that hold powers of the institution become uncomfortable” Odibo asked.
It was Attah’s contention however that the system was incapable of offering the kind of change he thinks Odibo envisages.
“This system is powerless to change what you have just described. That is really the sense in what I am trying to say. I made a statement the other day, the way it was quoted it sounded like I was being… where I said even if you bring angels to come and administer Nigeria today I don’t think they would succeed because the system as it stands now, being used now, makes it impossible for the kind of strengthening you are talking about. If what happened in America had happened in Nigeria, perhaps Trump would be President of Nigeria today. But within the current system that you have, you cannot strengthen it to a point where it would do its job as is expected to. So you need an institutional change and time is a luxury. We do not have the time. It must be now.