• Friday, March 01, 2024
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PMB & APC: Nigeria is a plural society!


According to Van Den Berghe (1964: 2), a society is pluralistic to the extent that it is structurally segmented and culturally diverse. In more operational terms, pluralism is characterised by the relative absence of value consensus; the relative rigidity and clarity of group definition; the relative presence of conflict, or, at least, of lack of integration and complementarity between various parts of the social system; the segmentary and specific character of the relationship, and the relative existence of sheer institutional duplication (as opposed to functional differentiation or specialisation) between the various segments of the society’.

While the above definition is not specifically for Nigeria, it is abundantly clear that it aptly describes our dear nation as truly a very plural society. As this is the case, it then suggests that the governance system and approach that best suits Nigeria will be that used for a plural society as is the case in other plural societies like India, USA, UK and many others. It should be a governance system that is sensitive to the conflicts arising from structural segmentation, cultural differences and lack of value consensus inherent in a plural society.

With such insights, the governance system will be focussed on how to govern society (Nigeria) through a framework of strategic integration and inclusion. If effectively applied, it will instigate and sustain a culture of ‘competition for development’ as compared to fierce ‘competition for power’ by the component parts of a plural society. The latter is normally the case in situations where a strategic and inclusive governance system is lacking. The development, stability and growth of any plural society is therefore primarily dependent on the governance system in place. It is what determines key governance and development outcomes such as rule of law, regulatory quality, poverty, insecurity, corruption, unemployment and many others.

 It is a public knowledge that there is a deep absence and insensitivity to the plurality of Nigeria by PMB and his government

But the question is which approach is APC, PMB and his government using to govern Nigeria formally and informally? While formally refers to the provisions of the constitution, informally refers to the actions and inactions of the president that are not strictly provided for in the constitution but utilised in the governance of the country. From all evidence and submissions from different parts of Nigeria, it is a public knowledge that there is a deep absence and insensitivity to the plurality of Nigeria by PMB and his government.

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While there are constitutional provisions such as the Federal Character principle, it has largely been practised in breach since the famous 95% versus 5% PMB statement in 2015. Unfortunately, the more Nigerians warn about the negativities of the approach, the more PMB perpetuates and practices it with a bewildering insensitivity to the consequences of his actions and inactions. Six years after, Nigeria is profoundly divided, arguably ruined and described in many quarters as a failed or failing state caused principally by very avoidable actions and inactions of poor leadership.

For any society to function and prosper, social trust or capital must be strongly cultivated, proactively practised and sustained particularly for a plural society like Nigeria. When the required social trust is not created or decimated, no amount of formulated and enforced economic policies will do the magic. The economy will be characterised by increasing poverty, insecurity, unemployment and other negative characteristics of a failed or failing society. This is where our dear country is as at today! Will there be a change as we enter the last two years of PMB presidency, I earnestly pray even though with very high doubts!

While we hope for the best in the remaining two years, what is even more important is to avoid a repetition of such an approach from 2023 when a new government comes in. A starting point will be to say no to the same scheming, interests and sentiments of division, nepotism, hatred and marginalization used in 2015 elections. With what has happened since 2015 it is very clear and important that we need to be very careful with the views and influences of some people we earlier believed are dictated by their deep patriotism and interest for one inclusive and equitable Nigeria.

With little or no remorse of their contributions, influences, actions and inactions to the quagmire we have now, they are back in their trade, gradually manipulating and persuading us on what 2023 elections will look like. While some are already matching presidential and vice-presidential candidates, others who even claim to be servants of God are directing us on who we should follow irrespective of the past behaviours or suitability of the possible candidates(s). Evidently behaving like ‘servants of man’, they are unconcerned of how inequitable and unconscionable such a move will be to the unity and peace of the country.

Lamentably, as they continue to manipulate Nigerians with their perception that we are very gullible, a discerning mind will notice that their main aim is the promotion and pursuit of their own personal or sectional interest even if it means the permanent exclusion of some sections of the country from the leadership of Nigeria. They, however, forget that man proposes but God disposes and as EndSARS protests clearly demonstrated, no one will be exempt from the consequences of a deeply inequitable society.

It is important that these merchants of division and marginalization who are mainly inclined to stretch the differences of our pluralism to achieve their selfish interest appreciate that Nigeria of 2021 is not the same as Nigeria of 2015. Nigeria is at a tipping point and all those helping to push it over the cliff need to realise, think and assimilate all the possible consequences of their actions and inactions. One of which will be the probable absence of a nation to which they can continue to manipulate and divide! Anything short of a well-distributed, equitable and balanced governance system is a support for the possible disintegration of the country!

Dr Ngwu, is an Economist/Associate Professor of Strategy, Risk Management & Corporate Governance, Lagos Business School and a Member, Expert Network, World Economic Forum. E-mail- [email protected],