News Analysis

Rebuilding The Nation’s Value System

Recently, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made an assertion that the country’s desire and pursuit of economic growth and sustainable development can be achieved through the adoption of merit as a national value.

Professor Osinbajo explained that merit is crucial in an economically viable system as it rewards talent and enterprise and drive sustainable growth.

He noted that as essential as federal character is to create balance which must be based on merit, such that if an office is reserve for a particular zone, that zone should be able to produce the best candidate.

The principle of federal character is enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria for such laudable reasons as inclusion, representation, sense of belonging and balance in the polity.  

In section fourteen subsection three of the 1999 constitution ‘the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria.

Also, to promote national unity and command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states, ethnic or other sectional groups in the government or any of its agencies.

The constitution as well empowers the federal character commission to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media, and political posts at all levels of government.  

As the constitution stipulates, any government that violates this necessary provision has not only broken the law, but also betray their respective oaths of office.

With this principle, there is no zone, state or local government that cannot offer quality human resource for any public office.

Federal character principle serves as a uniting force in a multi-ethnic, multi -religious country.

One of the hindrances to its effectiveness is that people saddle with the responsibility of selecting or recruiting does so for motives that have little to do with a transparent and excellent discharge of duty.

Merit is the least considered in terms of integrity and competence, when choosing persons for public office.

As the vice president rightly noted, the country could only make progress if the right people are put in the right position of authority.

It is however regrettable that even as public officials know and say the right thing, they do not march their action with words.

This is evident in the appointment of people into public office when a section of a country takes the majority of the post leaving the other sections to fight for the rest.

Diversity in a polity can be strength, or a weakness, depending on how it is managed by those entrusted with the affairs of the state.

Fortified with the constitutional provision, there should be no reason for any government to fail to act for inclusiveness, balance and stability in the political and administrative setup for the country of multi ethnic people.

If the federal character commission act is transparently implemented, it will foster equity and give a sense of belonging among the constituent groups in the country and improve trust, cooperation and development.

When all aforementioned are put in place, it would build people’s confidence in government and enhance stability, peace and national development.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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