30th July, 2010
Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke has attributed the general breakdown of the Nigerian society to the failure of various segments of the society, stressing that Nigerian leaders have completely failed the nation.
Delivering a lecture at the NBA delegatesâ€™ conference in Ibadan on â€˜Imperatives of credible elections in our nascent democracyâ€™,Â he said: â€œWe must acknowledge our collective guilt in other to move the nation forward.â€
According to him, the intellectual class is helpless, frustrated and in disarray, the political class is not accountable and civil society is struggling to galvanise again for serious and sustained political action.
Pointing out that what is considered the peopleâ€™s voice is sometimes the voice of a few loud politicians whose influence is based on crude financial inducement and self-serving sentimentality, he noted that inability of the people to be organaised is an indictment on civil society while the high illiteracy level is an indictment on government.
He further noted that it is a failure on the part of the media for not being objective because the newsmen are caged in the narrow ideological inclinations and contaminated political interest of their owners.
â€œWe may also be failing future generations unless we can rise above ethnic and religious sentiments. We have even failed to address the issue of poverty, â€ he stressed.
The governor condemned the hue and cry about zoning, which he said is detrimental of Nigerians, adding â€œwe have failed to address the issue of poverty and the economy. It is only a few months to the 2011 election. All we hear is North-South divide. All we hear is zoning. Well, we have always zoned, but does that put bread on the table? We have always zoned, did that win us the World Cup? We have always zoned, did that improve our economy? When are we going to rise above primordial permutations and why should zoning be the only item on the political agenda today? Why would respectable people from any part of the country gather, not to discuss the problem of illiteracy and poverty, but to discuss zoning? Why has the ongoing discourse about change and progress been largely ignored? Herein lies our collective failure. Poverty knows no zoning. Disease knows no zoning. Illiteracy, hunger and death do not discriminate by zoning. These are problems all Nigerians experience and share in common.â€
Lamenting that the government has not touched the lives of the people, Imoke stated, â€œSomeday victims of democracy, the children of tomorrow with broken future will rise up in accusation against our generation. Someday, the aborted generation may take us to a court of justice. It will be a celebrated case which will join the intellectual class, the political class, business class and civil society in the suit. We may be cross examined on our roles today. When these charges are read, they may include the neglect of the people; the grievous errors in judgment; of failing to abide by conscience or rule of law. As these charges are read, the exhibits will be the judgments and interpretations of law that we may be celebrating today. The exhibits maybe the millions of Nigerian children who have lost their future, the victims of religious riots, the blood in the streets of Jos, the carnage in Bauchi, the violation of the social contract and betrayal of trust.â€
Imoke highlighted the imperative credible elections in Nigeria to include people-based constitution, enlightened citizenry, accountable leadership, democratic institutions, separation of power, sanctity of elections and credible opposition.
He further lamented the shutting out of the masses in the Nigerian democratic experiment, adding that with the low literacy level, poverty, hunger, lack of credible structured political opposition, weak judiciary, there cannot be democracy in the country.
Responding, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), promised that lawyers would ever remain undaunted defenders of the interest of the people, stressing that lawyers must not fail to provide the necessary leadership at this crucial moment in the course of our march to nationhood.
Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State was represented at the occasion by his deputy,Â Taofeek Arapaja.