Saturday 4 January 2020

Weekend WOW Factor: President Barrow's 'Gentleman's Agreement' & Have you read the Nigerian Constitution?

Gambian Constitution

In January 2017, after 22 years in power, President Jammeh was forced to leave office.
In stepped President Barrow ( and those big brown eyes)

okay enjoy that one and smile - don't get big headed tho :)

At the time, Barrow uttered words that he has no doubt come to regret. He will 'step down in 3 years'.
Well...3 years is now up, and many Gambian's are agitated.

In truth, the handsome President Barrow, has a right to 5 years according to the constitution, and I suspect that will be his stance in the coming weeks and months.

The three year Jotna movement ( meaning, three years is up ,in Wollof) has been gaining some traction, and more protests are expected in the coming weeks..

( The easy going Gambian chill seemed to have left on the plane with Jammeh)

President Barrow romanced us all.. but if he steps down after just 3 years (which would be admirable) I will be utterly surprised, and maybe even. little disappointed
Yes his food bill may be quite high ( he does has two wives)

but perhaps.... just maybe...allow him the benefit of the doubt - and the full 5 years


'People who don't know their rights cannot be expected to fight for them'

Nigeria's constitution with it's aims of building a nation is actually quite comprehensive, and has equally admirable intentions.

Yet how many average Nigerians will have read it?
Some will never be able to read it ( 1. not everyone can read - 2. not everyone can read English, 3. how many have the time?)- and those who do, may adapt it to suit their own needs when sharing information on its contents.

Political education for everyday people, really is a must, in a country divided by class culturism and tribalism.
Yet that's not enough.
More useful would be the act of bringing the constitution to life, enabling people to see the role that they play in building a country they can be proud of. To feel that despite the ethnic differences, they choose to come together as one, and afford each other the respect care and honour, they would like to receive in return.

Here are a few snippets..

(1) The motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.

(2) Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.

(3) For the purpose of promoting national integration, it shall be the duty of the State to:
(a) provide adequate facilities for and encourage free mobility of people, goods and
services throughtout the Federation.

(b) secure full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation.
(c) encourage inter-marriage among persons from different places of origin, or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties; and
(d) promote or encourage the formation of associations that cut across ethnic, linguistic, religious and or other sectional barriers.
(4) The State shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various people of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties.

(5) The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

18. (1) Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational
opportunities at all levels.
(2) Government shall promote science and technology
(3) Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end Government shall as and when practicable provide
(a) free, compulsory and universal primary education; (b) free secondary education;
(c) free university education; and
(d) free adult literacy programme.
19. The foreign policy objectives shall be -
(a) promotion and protection of the national interest;
(b) promotion of African integration and support for African unity;
(c) promotion of international co-operation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations;
(d) respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication; and
(e) promotion of a just world economic order.

20. The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria.

21. The State shall -
(a) protect, preserve and promote the Nigerian cultures which enhance human dignity and are consistent with the fundamental objectives as provided in this Chapter; and
(b) encourage development of technological and scientific studies which enhance cultural values.
22. The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.
23. The national ethics shall be Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social, Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-reliance and Patriotism.
24. It shall be the duty of every citizen to -
(a) abide by this Constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the National
Flag, the National Anthem, the National Pledge, and legitimate authorities;
(b) help to enhance the power, prestige and good name of Nigeria, defend Nigeria and render such national service as may be required;
(c) respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood;
(d) make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well- being of the community where he resides;
(e) render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order; and
(f) declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.

Check it out in full - with such guidelines in place - what more do you need? :)

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