Nigeria Confronting The Siege

Undoubtably, twenty years (i'e two decades) presents to any organisation, no less ours, a veritable opportunity.to reflect on its 3ourney so far in relation to the circumstances of its formation ab initioithe dominant factors that conspired within the time frame in determining its present state and status against the backdrop of its set objectives. It surely strengthens its resoive to consoiidate on the gains made while drawing from the experiences over such long period'

It is in realisation of this opportunity that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the CDHR at its meeting in May zoog elected to document in this book the various dimensions and ramifications to the challenges of nation building from the stand poirrt of u human rights advocacy group like ours' The philosophy ilehind this and thJ choice of contributors were carefully aimed at locating the key constitutive tenor of these challenges with a view to sti"mulating a frank discourse around the core issues that are thrown up and presently constitute obstacles in our collective efforts to ittain socioleconomic justice and political emancipation.

 

This way, it is the considered view of the National Executive Commiitee (NEC) that the critica! mass of the Nigerian population, most of whom remain woeful victims of the present 'inept leadership, will appreciate better, the perculiarities of our challenges as a nation and possibly strengthen their resolve to rise to the occasion by mobilising their energy towards challenging the status quo through a thoroughly designed strategy of intervention in all affairs of the state

The cDHR has arrvays been in the vanguard of articulating the Views  of Nigerians through documentation, the provenance of which is easitl'traceable to our traditionai strategy for civic

engagentent,

on this score however, the organisation has identified persons of great ideological convictions]insights and knowredge to probe further into those areas of concern iithe hope that our twentieth anniversary will, once more, provide the needed platform to lead the way in the renewed efforts of Nigerians to reinvent our country by charting a new course that is purposeful,"result-oriented and sufficiently formidable to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Accordingly, this book brings together an array of thoroughl y researched papers by personi [most of whom are members) who were commissioned by the CDHR to deal with some of the thematic issues that the organisation considered germane in the interpiay of forces in the search for nationhood."The papers in this book have not been reproduced in the order of their relevance or preference. Rather, they have been minimally edited and re- arranged according to their thematic similarities and the need to meet the exigencies of the book titled "NIGERIA CONFRONTING THE SIEGE

Dr..AkpO Mudiaga-Odje, ^a thoroughly bred, legal practitioner,creditably acquited himielf as he sirowcased his tremendous insights and practical knowredge of the xiger Delta c.ises aeating in extenso with the recurrent issues of tie Niger til ..gior. His paper is clinicar on the diagnosis of alr the issues involved and magisterial in tackling thJ solutions around them. As a prominent Niger Dertan and environmentar activist, his paper LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN I{IGERIA AND THE TRUE FACE OF NIGER DELTA graphically provides the nexus between the quality and content of leadership in Nigeriaand the character of the Niger Delta crises.

Professor Akin Ibidapo Obe, an associate professor of law in the University of Lagos, took a scholarly appraisal of the status of the Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ECOSCO) in relation to its protection and enforcement in Nigeria. Prof. Obe identified the constraints as they stand today and what benefits would accrue to the Nigerian people if andwhen theybecome justifiable. His paper - THE PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ECONOMTC, SOCTAL AND CULTURAL (ECOSCO) RIGHTS IN NIGBRIA: AN APPRAISAL draws serious attention to the present unsatisfactory status of the ECOSCO rights and bemoan the lack of political will on the part of the government of Nigeria to make it enforceable.

Our own Comrade Femi Falana still on the same thematic area of concern went a step beyond bemoaning the present status of the ECOSCO rights. In his untiring effort to identify new grounds in our collective search to deepen the gains of contemporary struggle, Mr. Falana introduced a new vista of hope by insisting that it might not be totally correct for us (including lawyers) to fastidiously hold the view that rights under Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not justicieable in Nigeria today.

In his paper titled TOWARDS THE JUSTICIABILITY OF RIGHTS UNDER CHAPTER TWO OF THE L999 CONSTITUION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, Mr. Falana, in keeping with his progressive philosophy of law practice and activism, strongly advocated that with the pockets of successes alreadyrecorded, such as the Child's Rights Laws operational in some states of the federation, the battle should be shifted towards strengthening the campaign for a holistic constitutional reform that wil'i secure'the full enforcement of Ecosco rights and arrest government,s reluctance and abdication of responsibility in this regard.

Both comrades sylester odion-Akhaine and Tunde Oladunjoye, (members of the CDHR), had the opportunity to provide the historic account of the organisatior; it, for-ation, progress made and challenges faced and examined the role of the organisation in the democratic struggle in Nigeria.

while comrade Tunde oladunjoye documented the specific incidents of rights violations and deprivations, himself a victim of such numerous abuses, he recounted the unpleasant experiences of other comrades whose cases he monitored closely not just as a human rights activist but reported as a journalist.

Dr. sylvester odion-Akhaine, the renowned schoiar focused on the perculiarity of cDHR in the comitl, of human rights organisation from the standpoint of its defined objectives, structural sophistication that is membership-based and irleological depth which informed the quality and content of the CDHR programmes and activities. In capturing the impact of CDHR in the Human Rights Community ln xigeiia, or.,qihaine submitted thus:

               "It (i.e CDHR) seek to fulfill the traditional emancipatory role of traditional social movements by seeking the total transformation of the Nigerian societ5r,, -Emphasis mine.

In appraising THE NIGERIAN STATE, EDUCATION AND THE DOGMA OF NEO-LIBERAL ORTHODOXy, Dr.Dele seteolu, a cerebral icon effectively captures the character of the educational challenges in Nigeria and situates same within the larger context of leadership deficit while drawing the necessary nexus between the crisis and the neo-liberal policies of government on education. It challenges the decision making auihorities and policy formulators on education to be less dogmatic and fasiiduous on the present policies of government on"education which has not succeeded anywhere in the world.

Dr. Femi Obayori's paper "THE STATE OF ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE IN NIGERIA: UNEQUAL AND OBLIQUE REACTION critically questions the viabi]ity of any anti-corruption crusade whose operational structure is firmly rooted in tire corrupt political system it intends to fight. Neveitheless, Dr. Obayori-acknowledged the progress recorded by the Nuhu Ribadu-1ed agency in the fight against- corruption in the circumstance in which it operated' Dr' Obayori was mindful of this fact when he passed his verdict thus:

"Corruption is a component part of the ideology of a non-productive, rapacious, self-serving ruling c1ass."

Both Dr. Osagie Obayuwana and Dr' Funmi Adewumi are unanimous in pointing at the direction of the next phase of the struggle having diagnosed accurately the "POOR (ailing) HEALTH OF NIGERIA and focussed on the STRATEGIC AGENDA FOR THE CDHR AND OTHER MASS-BASED ORGANISATIONS.

Dr. Obayuwana was clear on the readership deficit in the country and the concomitant effects on the health of the nation; while Dr. Adewumi identified closely the strength of mass-based organisations, such as CDHR, in confronting the crisis'

In all, the book NIGERIA: CONFRONTING THE SIEGE will surely increase the corpus of serious research materials which CDHR has, in its tradition, provided to the public to stimulate fresh discourse around the vexed issues of nation building' By and large, the book has also pro'ided practical blueprints and the way forward with the benefit of hindsight.Such is the depth of NIGERIA: CONFRONTING THE SIEGE published in commemoration of CDHR's twenty years in the defense of Human Rights.