A Professor of Political Science in the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Prof. Atare Otite, has urged Nigerian politicians to develop a democracy based on Nigerian culture to solve its problems.
Otite who is the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences of DELSU, state this on Monday at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo state, at the 2nd national regional conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), South-South regional conference, which he chaired.
He noted that the numerous challenges of the country require solutions based on policies formulated locally, including restructuring.
“We have to develop policies that can help us to integrate better. In the course of this conference, we are going to come out hard and interrogate some of these issues and come up with solutions that can help us solve some of these problems that we have in this country today.
“We have to begin to look at
restructuring of this country. We have to as much as possible understand our culture and value, and marry them with the theory we have today. Those theories we learn from outside cannot function very well here.
“We prepare to copy foreign cosmology, but it’s not going to function very well in our system. To marry our socio-culture, our values with whatever theory we are copying now, it is not going to function well in our environment,” Otite said.
Also speaking, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), who delivered the keynote speech, said that Nigeria is currently on the path to rupture.
Ikelegbe who spoke on the theme, “The emerging ruptures of the state: A perspective on the Nigerian crisis”, noted that Nigeria’s return to democratic rule which was supposed to be a rebirth and a solution to its numerous crisis, failed the expectations of the common man.
“After so much struggles and sacrifices, what we regard as the second independence took place, that was the achievement of democracy, on May 29, 1999. It was supposed to signal a total rebirth, an eldorado. It signaled huge expectations on the part of citizens.
“But the situation, as we currently found it, does not show that the expectations and the aspirations of the ordinary people have been met.
“Nigeria as a country is at the crossroads. There is a crisis of statehood, it manifests in the disagreements over the structure of the Nigerian state. There is a crisis of national identity, which manifest in the weak contact between citizens and the state, between groups and the state, which manifests in the growing sub national identities and solidarity.
“The failure of democracy dividends has started to make citizens retreat and we have begun to see that in the attitude of citizens to their leaders. We have begun to see that in the kind of frustration that they are now subjected to, which is now manifesting in criminality and diverse things.
“While the leaders live in extravagance, opulence and excessive lifestyles, the life of the common man has been declining. The population of the poor is growing and there is hunger in the land,” he said.
Prof. Ikelegbe however said there is possibility of a pragmatic resolution of the country’s problems in the nearest future.
“There is prospect for transcending and defeating anti-democratic, anti-federalist and anti-reform forces. There is hope of the emergence of younger and more patriotic leaders who have the people’s interest at heart, rather than identity interest.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of IUO, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, underscored the importance of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) in Nigeria, as one directly connected with issues relating to lives and properties of all citizens, including their existence as a nation.
“The peculiarity of your subject matters such as politics, leadership, development, public order and peaceful coexistence of man underscores the special relevance of this body to humanity.
“The attainment of scientific orientation in the study of politics has enhanced the attainment of relative global peace, to the extent that humanity has not experienced another world war since 1945,” he said.