Opinion: A National Probe For National Reconciliation ProcessFeatured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin Nigeria – In a country beset by series of political and ethno-religious problems like we are currently witnessing in Nigeria it is often recommended to run a full scale National Reconciliation Process to ensure and achieve a “National Unity”. The President Buhari’s administration is currently seemingly concerned with fighting corruption and insurgents. We support that but we advocate rather a full national unity programme and not just revovery of dirty monies. Many Nigerians are witnesses of several governments here and all of them should not claim to be corruption free and such corruption must have led to the types of violence such as kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram, and government officials turning national resources for their personal use. What President Buhari has seen as mere recovery of stolen national wealth is a deep ocean sailing that once entered it has no ending in sight. In fact we have been wondering where President Buhari is going to get up to 36 Federal Ministers that could be described corruption free from within his APC leadership. He may have to turn to less visible people but with fairly clean private lives. It is a tall order for APC and for Mr President, and the Nigeria public is no longer going to remain silent.
There are urgent needs for healing and reconstructing our societies after violent conflicts we have seen in North East, and the silent violence inflicted on the larger society by the political class through their mind bugging stealing. The governor of Edo State was quoted as saying that the Nigeria public would have stoned President Jonathan and his officials if they knew their level of stealing. This is an understatement. The truth is that Nigerians have been raped and robed by elected and appointed officials. We do not at this time know whose sins are worst, Boko Haram, Government Officials, kidnappers, armed robbers, ineptitude presidents. There is a need to look into a process of Reconciliation, move Nigeria forward as well as developing a national unity from there. It is true there is a change in government, but the further truth is that if PDP had been returned through the 2015 presidential election Nigeria might have been on fire by now. This is not a political statement as I don’t belong to any political party and I always vote as the need arises. If we should allow President Buhari to collect money and properties from some and not from others, and end it there, we may lose the opportunity to unite the nation holistically. I rather want a more united and coherent nation, where everyone is free to voice their opinions freely. We need the lost resources but what we can make honestly together henceforth may prove a thousand times more profitable. Overall there is a need for a national unity, reconciliation and reconstruction. People have hated others for the wrong reasons and many others are still treating those who don’t share their beliefs as second class.
Let us use the people who lost their lives, lost their land to boko haram, or became victims of forcefully displacement in the North East. We strongly suggest that government must take a comprehensive approach, or one that provides support programmmes for any class of victims. We should note that a minimalist restitution programme, or one that simply provides a legal mechanism for obtaining restitution, is much less likely to succeed. In evaluating the likelihood of success, we consider whether the program will (1) adequately preserve victim choice while motivating victims to return to their farm lands or to school, (2) provide for the fair and adequate administration of both restitution and return, and (3) enable returning victims to have more secure living conditions than when they were expelled. In particular it is no longer enough to send some children to America to continue their education, our home institutions must be strengthened
and Sambisa Forests must be occupied by investment. A comprehensive community policing must also emerge following the end of Boko Haram or to prevent any of such occurrences.
The second major class of violence inflicted on the society in a very large scale is the stealing of national resources. We need the recovery but simply returning part or all the stolen monies is not enough for a national reconciliation. People must be tired publicly, fairly and a sense of remorse and repentance is needed for both victims and the nation. Nigeria is a nation with a long life where a 4 or maximum of 8 Buhari’s possible administration is only infinitesimal. To further grow a culture of democracy in Nigeria this administration may see itself, or use itself, as a corrective agent rather than been overly partisan. That is both the PDP and APC are equally in need of probes. If a President Buhari can achieve instituting constitutionally a lasting probe culture, recovery process, reconciliation, and build on our fledgling democracy we think he would have been a successful Nigeria President.
Prof R. A. Ipinyomi
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