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Social scientist berates framers of Nigeria’s constitution

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Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes has picked holes in the 1999 constitution, saying those who copied the American statute book did it upside down and gifted the country a faulty, unworkable document.

While interacting with booklovers at Committee for Relevant Art (CORA)-inspired Book Trek in Lagos yesterday, the social scientist said that Nigeria’s fault lines emanated from the constitution that fails to allot equal electoral weight to the minorities as the big three – Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani and Igbo – as America did, saying it is the bane of the country’s development.

He criticised the authors of the constitution, saying they were largely ignorant of what they were copying, as they failed to understand the underlying philosophy behind it.

Unlike the American constitution that gives electoral weight to the number of people inhabiting a state, Nigeria’s gives weight to the number of states, he added.

For Ego-Alowes and his recent book, The University-Media Complex, Nigeria’s problem is a failure of scholarship and not leadership, as many variously and wrongly canvass.

Scholarship in Nigeria, he said, is yet to rise to the level where it sets parameters for leadership, noting that a budha (scholar) must necessarily precede a caesar (leader), as all civilised countries of the world did.

“However, in Nigeria and other developing countries, they set caesar before budha and what results is either a dictatorship or a weak leader who cannot galvanise development.

“Our scholars are not producing new knowledge. I have not seen any political scientist who has produced a new knowledge that can make us happy. The issue of resolving the instability of Nigeria’s ship of state rests with the scholars.

The Americans saw what happened in Europe, from where they emigrated, that man is essentially bad in office and power, and created a system that limits him expressing himself fully. The Nigerian believes a leader will be good in office. Is the man himself good?

“A scholar should be too good and comfortable for the leaders. A good scholar should not be embedded in power the way our scholars want to be special assistants, commissioners, ministers to those in power. They should be independent of power, of those in office. A scholar who concedes to power should quit the faculty.”

He tasked scholars to up their ante, saying developments in the world were borne out of ideas.

“We need the ideas expressed as cotton seeds. No civilisation without budha. If you don’t have ideas, borrow from those who have or you are lost. If you don’t have budha, you can’t have a caesar. What you have is a Caligula, a bad caesar.”


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