An Abuja based political scientist, Mr. Ayokunle Fagbemi, has advocated for a government of national unity and an elite consensus towards 2019-2023 leadership of Nigeria in the interest of national security.
He noted that for Nigeria to emerge as a stable, virile, self-reliant and egalitarian society based on social justice and mutual respect, Nigerians across board must agree to an Elite Consensus, which would allow for the preservation of Nigeria as a democracy.
Fagbemi who is the Executive Director, Centre for Peacebuilding and Socio-Economic Resources Development (CePSERD) in his intervention on the way forward for Nigeria, opined that stakeholders of the Nigerian project must support the plan to emerge with a scheme that will allow for major political actors, particularly, existing presidential aspirants to constitute what he called “Government of National Interest, Security and Unity (GoNISU)” for the 2019 – 23 tenure.
Renowned for always “thinking outside the box”, he said “GoNISU, will provide quick-win political agenda designed to run concurrently with an effectively efficient government system implemented within the first two years of the constitutional mandate of four years to secure legitimacy and wide-based support.
He predicated GoNISU upon the “desire to bail Nigeria out of the ominously predicted economic collapse, destruction, breakup and/or protracted civil war.
He therefore called on the Nigerian Elites: academia, cultural, economic, military, political, and religious – in country and diaspora, to unite in forging the required unity to salvage Nigeria from the brink of disaster.
In his opinion, “the way forward, is to take serious the warnings on Nigeria from the series of Reports emanating from the Action Aid International Amnesty International (AI), Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), HSBC, The Economist, Transparency International (TI), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United States Institute for Peace (USIP), World Bank, Wall Street Journal and others”.
According to Fagbemi, “it is time to address, holistically, the consequential issues emanating from these reports”.
He stressed, “That glaring negative status and rankings of Nigeria on human development indices and governance services delivery are demanding urgent attention, conscious of the current security challenges and the dynamics of domestic and global terrorism networking”.
In his view, “the dynamics of the challenges have mutated into different shades to exacerbate the series of asymmetric warfare that Nigeria has engaged in for getting close to a decade”, adding that “we should not go into another general election fractured and factionalized along the fault lines of ethno-religious divides and seeming agitations for self-determination in whatever guise”.
Speaking further, he predicated GoNISU on US President Abraham Lincoln’s acclaimed successful implementation of Team of Rivals, which has been well articulated in the book Team of Rivals:
“The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005, Simon and Schuster) written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin”. The book is a biographical portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his cabinet from 1861 to 1865. Three of his Cabinet members had previously run against Lincoln in the 1860 election: Attorney General Edward Bates, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and Secretary of State William H. Seward.
“The book focuses on Lincoln’s mostly successful attempts to reconcile conflicting personalities and political factions on the path to abolition and victory in the American Civil War”, he said.
The Executive Director, CePSERD, Fagbemi further reiterated, “We in Nigeria are definitely at such a threshold and require such strategic “thinking outside the box” in order to promptly address the issues of (i) Security and Safety of Lives and Properties; (ii)Political Economics and Investors Confidence; and (iii) National Integration and Nation-building. That is, as we strive for Nigeria to emerge as a stable, virile, self-reliant and egalitarian society based on social justice and mutual respect!”
Stakeholders, he advised, “should galvanize and harness the resources available in the political space to activate GoNISU. In order to underscore the point, I shall endeavour to paraphrase and contextualize the words of US President Abraham Lincoln as captured on page 319 of Doris Goodwin’s book on Team of Rivals: We need the strongest (Nigerian political actors to constitute the Federal Government of Nigeria). We needed to hold our own people together. (We must look beyond the myopic partisan political interests) and conclude that (we must engage) the very strongest men. (That we must not attempt to, because in the actual sense of it, we have) no right to deprive the country of their services.”
GoNISU as a novel idea, he said “will therefore emerge as an Elite Consensus of a seeming Collegiate Presidency where all the actors recognize that as per the 1999 Constitution (as amended) we can only have a President and Vice President in The Presidency. cognizant of the constitutional realities; agreeing and appreciating that as ‘others’ they can only take other roles as appointed public officials, (re)emerge as legislators or seek lesser elective executive offices as governors in order to stabilize the country”.