Nigeria stranded in the desert, says Femi Falana

Buhari obeyed Court orders as military leader, fails to do so in democracy – Falana

With the 2019 general elections fast approaching, human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana has said Nigeria and Nigerians are currently stranded in the desert.

Mr. Falana stated that Nigerians are stranded in the desert on what choice to make between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

“The Minister of Information and the spokesperson for the Buhari administration, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has cautioned Nigerians not to make the mistake of returning to Egypt by voting for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).“Although the Minister did not say whether the All Progressive Congress (APC) is actually taking the Nigerian people to the Promised Land it is indisputable that we are currently stranded in the desert,” he said.

Falana made this statement on Wednesday in Lagos as Guest Speaker at the 19th Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture themed: Nigeria’s unity – matters arising.In his lecture, speaking on restructuring, especially the recent debate between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Falana said those who cornered the nation’s commonwealth should not be involved in the issue.“A leading PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has become one of the leading proponents of restructuring. But his support for restructuring has not addressed the crucial issue of the redistribution of the national wealth.

“After all, in his capacity as the nation’s vice-president and chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, Alhaji Abubakar presided over the restructuring of the nation’s economy through the liquidation of public assets and the privatization of the commanding height of the economy.“The nation cannot be seriously restructured without equitable redistribution of wealth. Therefore, those who have cornered our commonwealth should not be allowed to talk of restructuring in vacuo,” he said.

TNG reports Falana went further to say the country has always been restructured by the ruling class and that the current structure was imposed by the fiat of military dictators, which he said cannot be sustained.“No doubt, the country is ripe for restructuring or power devolution but it cannot guarantee unity and political stability without the democratization of powers and equitable redistribution of the commonwealth along egalitarian lines.

“In other words, the campaign for restructuring should encompass the decentralization and democratization of political and economic powers which have been privatized by all factions of the ruling class,” Falana said.He said Nigerians must demand an end to a policy that allows political office holders and civil servants who constitute less than one percent of the population to continue to allocate 70 percent of the country’s resources to themselves.

“If the federal government could withdraw $12.4 billion from the foreign reserves to pay questionable external debts and subsidize the local bourgeoisie with intervention funds running to trillions of naira it cannot turn round to complain of lack of fund to fix collapsed social infrastructures, education, health transportation and agriculture and create jobs for our army of unemployed youths.

“The recovery of the stolen wealth of the nation from foreign and local thieves should be a collective battle while the fund recovered from corrupt public officers and their privies is spent on job creation and fixing of hospitals and schools as well as the provision of other social services.

“Out of despondency and disenchantment with the political system some groups of young men and women have demanded for the pakistanisation of the country. However, the majority of members of the ruling class have insisted on restructuring as a basis for the corporate existence of the country.

“Religious groups have recommended prayers as the panacea to the myriad of problems plaguing the nation. On its own part the Buhari regime has identified corruption as the root cause of the nation’s underdevelopment.“While the working class and the masses are left out of the debate the ruling class parties and the retired army officers who wield enormous influence in them have kicked against any form of power devolution. Since these propositions are being canvassed to cover up the real cause of the underdevelopment of the country we shall address them seriatim.

“Restructuring without the equitable redistribution of the commonwealth will not promote unity or political stability,” Falana said.

The human rights activist said he is convinced that the programmes and manifestoes of the ruling party and the mainstream opposition political parties cannot take Nigeria to the Promised Land.“I am going to challenge the Nigerian people to take their destiny in their own hands by organizing themselves to demand for the actualization of the fundamental objectives and directive principles set out in Chapter two of the Constitution,” he said.

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