Sunday, 3 July 2016

IS THERE ANY REWARD FOR PATRIOTISM? ~ BARRISTER DR. JIMOH IBRAHIM, CFR

Barrister Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR
This present time in Nigeria will be well remembered as one time the government treated corruption as an epidemic that can destroy our nation. It is getting to the point where our moving forward as a nation will be determined by how much we can fight corruption. The evidence of state failure is empirical in Nigeria.

If government does not fight corruption, the only option left is for the society to fight it. For instance the Roscoe Pound Sociobiological Jurisprudence supports the fact that at some time, the society can take laws into its hands. At that point, perhaps it may be too late for government intervention. No society is totally corruption-free in the entire universe.

All that responsible governments are doing is bringing it to the barest minimum with efforts such as clear laws, good judicial system, good leadership praxis, as well as moral and legal legitimacy of the people creating support for good governance. In any event, government cannot fight corruption alone. The support of the people is important.

The need for good investigation of every allegation is also important to the success of good judgment. The platform for patriotism requires equity and fair play. What drives patriotism is fairness in distribution of power and security for tomorrow. Citizens need to have a sense of belonging, of common identity and the assurances of dignity of life, the rule of law and democratic values

They need to be assured that government cares for their security, freedom of association and their right to own property. Patriotism is lost when there is no guarantee of physical and economic security and where there is no freedom of expression, when display of power has no respect for human dignity and right to justice. We do not pray to lose patriotism for the reason that the cost of ensuring compliance with law and order may not be too far from the cost of being out of existence.

In countries where there is low value or concern for patriotism, government spends a lot of money and economic resources on compliance with law and order. And more often than not, government praxis in such situations entails some element of brutality. The command structure seems to have little respect for the institution of justice and the judiciary. It looks like a hostile environment. Attention is more on stability of the value system. In most cases, this needs time investment.

On the other hand, if patriotism is high in any country, attention is concentrated on making the economy good. Low patriotism countries are characterised by lack of strategy, absence of structures capable of delivering patriotism, no clear system, no clear style (it may be autocracy in democracy, oligarchy in democracy, or mediocrity in democracy). In short, anything goes. In such a country, shared value is lost and the demand for secession is high. A transformational change campaign will sell if there is love for country. Such campaign is usually the last stage between change and otherwise.

What can hold the country together is concentrating efforts on increasing the level of patriotism, perhaps at the cost of building the economy. If the price is high, then let’s start to be patriotic so that we can get to the economy on time. It is gradually looking like we cannot enjoy economic benefits in a society that has lost all values. The burden of pains is on the common man. In countries where success has been recorded, the value system on which patriotism hangs is the blood that drives it.

The responsibility of ensuring that patriotism is at a high level is that of every government and this is easily discharged when government values, on equal terms, the equality of every subject, when it can be said that in one country, everyone is on the same platform of equity and social justice. Ensuring legitimacy requires that justice is dispensed without fear and that beyond the protection of the rights of individuals, is the right to own property.

The moral parameters of legitimacy are further guaranteed when the wellbeing of the society is taken as a basic objective of government. The price to pay for patriotism is the provision of basic infrastructural facilities such as basic health delivery, employment generation and empirical evidence of transparency, and empathy in the handling of public affairs. Any government that is in short supply of all these will find it difficult to promote patriotism or increase her level of legitimacy in the society.

The need to ensure observance of and compliance with the provisions of the constitution is important to democratic values and the rule of law. What is more, the preamble of the Constitution of Nigeria states that: “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding, and to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people.”

Every leader has sworn to the protection of the Constitution, to uphold its provisions. There is no provision to rule Nigeria as the spirit of the leader directs, but in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The need to increase the bar on patriotism is the responsibility of all and we must all be ready to ensure that we all protect the integrity of our nation. (National Mirror)