The Constitution has provided that the socio-economic rights of the people to education, health, housing, living minimum wage, pension, unemployment benefits are guaranteed while the government shall provide for the aged

Brighter Future By Ken Obi

I believe that a bright future is possible for Nigeria. But it can only be possible if the members of the political class are compelled to abandon politics of money and the manipulation of ethnicity and religion. Nigerian masses should force all political aspirants to address serious issues during the forthcoming political campaign. In particular, they must extract commitment from the political class to implement the fundamental objectives enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Section 14 thereof provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. To actualize that political objective it is stated in section 16 that the economy shall be planned and managed by the government to promote national prosperity and happiness.

Furthermore, it is stated that the government shall control the commanding height of the economy and ensure that the wealth of the nation shall not be concentrated in the hands of a few people or a group. It is illegal and unjust to lease oil blocks to a few people who are turned to multi billionaires after subleasing them to foreign investors. Some of them have been honest to disclose publicly that they do not know what to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars made from the sublease of the oil blocks Thus, by allowing a few people to collect rents from our national assets the government has continued to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few people. Since it is illegal and unjust to enrich a few people at the expense of the Nigerian people we hereby call on the federal government to stop awarding oil blocks to local and foreign investors. They should be leased to the federal and state governments in order to have money for development.

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The Constitution has provided that the socio-economic rights of the people to education, health, housing, living minimum wage, pension, unemployment benefits are guaranteed while the government shall provide for the aged and physically challenged citizens. Apart from the legal obligation imposed on political parties to comply with the fundamental objectives, it shall be the duty of all organs of government and of all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of the fundamental objectives. The socioeconomic rights of the Nigerian people have also been enshrined in the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act. Therefore, the justiciabiility of the fundamental objectives is longer in doubt.

Indeed, through the struggle of the oppressed people in Nigeria the National Assembly has been compelled to enact welfare laws which shall be funded by the Government. For instance, the Compulsory, Free and Basic Education Act and the Child’s Rights Act have made education free and compulsory from primary to junior secondary school. Parents and guardians who refuse to allow their children and wards to acquire education are liable to be prosecuted. To fund the programme the federal government shall contribute 2% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund while state governments shall provide counterpart fund. But due to the refusal of state government to access the fund not less than N67 billion is lying fallow at the Central Bank while Nigeria has about 11.5 million children of school age who are roaming the streets. Other welfare laws on housing, health insurance, pension, minimum wage etc are being breached with impunity. Yet if we insist and ensure that the welfare laws are enforced by the governments there will no money left to be stolen by unpatriotic public officers.

Since the 2019 general elections are a few months away it is not enough to urge Nigerian voters to register and collect their Permanent Voters Cards. They must be encouraged to know what to do with the PVCs. When politicians come around to ask for votes every PVC owner must ask questions on the jumbo emoluments of public officers, unemployment, poverty, infrastructural decay, corruption and abuse of office, human rights violations etc. The harassment of law abiding citizens by the police and other security agencies should be discussed with political aspirants. The answers to the questions should be noted so that the elected ones can be confronted with all promises made by them and the use of Political thugs by politicians should be discouraged.

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