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THE PRESIDENT AS THE PIVOT OF EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY & PRESIDENT JF KENNEDY’S ADMONITION ON PEACE

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One dominant feature of the extant constitution is its presidential character. In a presidential system, the office of the president or state governor is the pivot of the executive functions of the state. It is on the president or governor that the whole spectrum of executive power shall be rested. Under the constitution, the executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the president and be exercised by him either directly or through the vice-president and ministers of the government of the federation; or officers in the public service of the federation. The powers of the president shall also extend to the and maintenance of the constitution and all laws made by the National Assembly; and all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has the power to make laws. Similar executive powers are rested in State Governors.

The constitution recognizes the Executive grandeur of the presidency. It declares that the President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force of the Federation. In the famous works President Roosevelt of America, one of the greatest American Presidents, the President in our type of Constitution is a steward of the people. He could do anything that the needs of the nation demanded unless such action is forbidden by the laws or the constitution. In essence, the president is the pivot of executive authority and all those who exercise executive power within the state derive their powers from him; at least within the areas of his executive competence. (Ben Nwabueze)

PARAMOUNT EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY: In his or her capacity as the paramount executive authority, the president or governor is invested with the authority to appoint the vice-president generally known as the running mate. The Vice-President or Deputy Governor is automatically confirmed if the president/governor wins the election. Apart from choosing his deputy, the president en-panels his executive council, which comprises his ministers,  chosen personally by him and at his own discretion. He could choose his ministers from anywhere and not just from parliament alone, like in the parliamentary system. If he chooses a minister/commissioner from the legislature, such a minister/commissioner must resign his membership of such legislature would be deemed to have resigned his membership if appointed a minister. But the president/governor must satisfy the provisions of the constitution by appointing at least one Hon. Minister from each State of the federation. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation:

(a) shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation; and

(b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being, the power to make laws.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of a State:

(a) shall be vested in the Governor of that State and may, subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any Law made by a House of Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Deputy Governor and Commissioners of the Government of that State or officers in the public service of the State; and

(b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the House of Assembly of the State and to all matters with respect to which the House of Assembly has for the time being power to make laws.

(3) The executive powers vested in a State under subsection (2) of this section shall be so exercised as not to:-

(a) impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive powers of the Federation;

(b) endanger any asset or investment of the Government of the Federation in that State; or

(c) endanger the continuance of a Federal Government in Nigeria.

(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section:-

(a) the President shall not declare a state of war between the Federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly, sitting in a joint session; and

(b) except with the prior approval of the Senate, no member of the armed forces of the Federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.

LIMITATIONS OF EXECUTIVE ACTIONS  This, in fact, accords with the doctrines of the separation of power enshrined in the constitution. It should be noted that in order to be the president of Nigeria, the candidate must be a Nigerian citizen by birth, as opposed to naturalization and registration; and he must have attained the age of thirty-five years (35) However, certain constitutional limitations are imposed on the president, to wit: First, in making his appointments, the nominations of candidates made by him shall only become effective after confirmation by the senate. The senate, as we discovered in the cases of Akinjide and Paul Unongo could reject nominations for ministerial offices made by the president. This is the famous scrutinizing power of the senate over executive appointments. Secondly, ministerial appointments made by the president must reflect the federal character of the Nigeria society. (Nwabuee, Ben)

This is in accordance with the provisions of the constitution which provides that: The composition of the government of the federation or of any agency; and the conduct of the affairs shall be carried out in such manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria, and the need to promote national unity and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other groups in that government, or in any of its agencies. The third constitutional limitation is the power of the president to appropriate his ministers. The constitution prohibits anybody from being appointed a minister unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.

KOGI & BAYELSA GOVERNORSHIP GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS – LET US AVOID VIOLENCE AND MISCONDUCTS

As we have always preached, it is absolutely wrong for any person to engage in acts of political intolerance and lack of decorum, resorting to violence as a means of pursuing a political agenda. Leaders should be seen to be engaging in service and not in unbefitting antics. There is no other civilized method of expressing preferences for politicians seeking elective offices, then utilizing the democratic process. Politicians must learn to accommodate one another, no matter their political inclinations. No thuggery; no shedding of blood. We must realize that governments are held in trust for the citizenry. Thus, only men and women of integrity; who are prepared to offer selfless service and who are free from blemishes should naturally be preferred. And this is without the constitutional provision on freedom of the electorate to elect their preferences.

Finally, TERRIFIC HEADLINES, in our habitual practice of admonishing the electorate for peaceful conducts, unity and understanding reminds all citizens that we are one as exemplified by this saying of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe: ‘’My parents are natives of Eastern Nigeria, the arsenal of republicanism in Nigeria. Although I am Ibo, yet I speak Yoruba and I have a smattering of Hausa. I am now Premier of Eastern Nigeria, the land of my fathers, which lies five hundred miles from Lagos and almost a thousand miles from the place of my birth in Zungeru, in Northern Nigeria. ‘’Each of our three Regions is vastly different in many respects, but each has this in common: that, despite variety of languages and custom or difference in climate, all form part of one country which has existed as a political and social entity for fifty years. ‘’That is why we believe that the political union of Nigeria is destined to be perpetual and indestructible’’  –  Nnamdi Azikiwe

WHERE HUMAN BEINGS ERR: It is possible to overlook what could be overlooked for the common good, especially where brothers may have differences. It is possible to live and work together in harmony in the spirit of togetherness. And it is possible to construct a very bright future for even generations yet unborn. But it is not possible not to disagree because we are not God.  It is important to know and accept the fact that there is no art to prevent wrangling or contention. It must always happen, even among members of family units, and even husbands and wives joined together in the presence of God.  If there is any crisis of confidence at any level, it pays us to resolve such. In the words of JF Kennedy, ”Our problems are man-made; therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings –  The Holy Books – Bible and Quran give an admonition for understanding. May the Good Lord bless Nigeria.                          PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY ON PEACE & PEACEFUL CONDUCTS —  MEMORABLE QUOTES – THE WORDS OF THE WISE:  Let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Our problems are man-made; therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings –  John F. Kennedy

I think that non-violence is one way of saying that there are other ways to solve problems, not only through weapons and war. Nonviolence also means the recognition that the person on one side of the trench and the person on the other side of the trench are both human beings, with the same faculties. At some point, they have to begin to understand one another. – Rigoberta Menchu – political and human rights activist from Guatemala.

Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Aung San Suu Kyi (Nobel Peace Prize 1991)

It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Let us not accept violence as the way of peace. Let us instead begin by respecting true freedom: the resulting peace will be able to satisfy the world’s expectations, for it will be built on justice; a peace founded on the incomparable dignity of the free human being.  — Pope John Paul II

When we dehumanize and demonize our opponents, we abandon… possibility of peacefully resolving our differences. – Nelson Mandela

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY ON PEACE & PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS – It was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, popularly referred to as JFK that asserted that: ‘’ Our problems are man-made; therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings’’  Therefore, I write as a Nehemiah (a builder in the Holy Bible) and as an apostle of peaceful conduct who has always wanted the best for Nigeria. The first part contains a speech by JF Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States delivered in 1961 in Washington DC while the second part is an admonition by TERRIFIC HEADLINES. According to Dr. D.K Olukoya of the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries: ‘’Whenever He gives a vision or an assignment, in His benevolence, He also provides both human, material and financial resources to implement and accomplish the vision. God also equipped him with His Spirit as well as leadership and project management abilities. It was for these reasons that the God of heaven granted Nehemiah and his men huge success. When God gives a vision or task, He makes provision available’’

WE MUST EXPECT DISAGREEMENTS: With peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors. So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it.

John F. Kennedy, America’s 35th President delivered an address at the American University, Washington D. C. on June 10, 1963. He spoke about peace, not about only the United States, but also ‘’peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.

’I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace in all time. I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age where great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age where a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

WASTED BILLIONS ON INSECURITY: Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need them is essential to the keeping of peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles — which can only destroy and never create — is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace. I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary, rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

ATTITUDINAL CHANGES: Some say that it is useless to speak of peace or world law or world disarmament and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude, as individuals and as a nation, for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward, by examining his own attitude towards the possibilities of peace, towards the Soviet Union, towards the course of the cold war and towards freedom and peace here at home.

First, examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and goodwill of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

FOCUS ON PRACTICABLE & MORE ATTAINABLE OPTIONS: Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions — on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process –  a way of solving problems.

WE MUST EXPECT DISAGREEMENTS: With a feeling of peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors. So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it. (Excerpts from JF Kennedy’s  speech) CONCLUDED

TERRIFIC HEADLINES — PROBLEMS OF FOLLOWERS: Dr. Olukoya, cited earlier in one of his ministrations said:  People blame those in a leadership position for the problems in families, organizations, churches, and nations. The proponents of this school of thought believe that lack of visionary leadership is the reason things are not working in many organizations. Is this true? While this may be so in some cases, it is not so in all cases. Bad followership creates problems as much as bad leadership does. Moses was an exceptional leader, but Aaron and the children of Israel erred when he left them to seek the face of God for a while. Elisha was a remarkable leader but Gehazi failed to follow Jehovah with unstinted devotion like his master. Similarly, Achan proved he was a bad follower as he put the whole nation in trouble and unwarranted defeat for stealing the accursed materials. Even our Lord Jesus Christ, the Leader par excellence had a bad follower in the person of Judas Iscariot, who made himself a child of perdition by choice.

SUPPORT LEADERS:  What was the problem with these followers who failed? They knew the code of conduct, rules, ethics, and etiquette as well as a corporate culture that governs their organization or nation but refused to follow them. They acted disgracefully as bad team players, covenant-breakers and disloyal felons. The consequences of their actions were grave. No one will ever pray to experience what happened to Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their family members or to Miriam for speaking wrongly against Moses on the issue of the Cushite woman. All these are consequences of bad followership. How then do we identify a good follower? First, he or she learns and supports the leader’s vision, as long as they do not conflict with God’s word. Second, he or she demonstrates total loyalty and commitment to the success of the leader and the vision he champions. Also, he or she prays for the leader and the organisation, day and night. In addition, he or she serves as a good ambassador of the organization and protects its interest always.

IS ALL WELL AT THE TOP?: This piece will not apportion blames because it would be improper, unethical and ungodly to do so without having access to facts. I am also not taking sides but acting on the need to promote the common good. I have never physically met the first five people who occupy the topmost positions on the protocol ladder in Nigeria. It is possible that some could know me by name; just like I have never been privileged to meet most prominent politicians in the country today. I act based on conviction, backed by personal experiences and reflections. The foregoing is necessitated by the need to prevent possible misinterpretation of intention.  About 15 years ago, a team led by one top official of a State government visited an organization in Abuja to invite the topmost two to different events the same week. I was part of the team. We were requested to drop the second in command from the programme of visiting to commission a project.  I never really knew the import of the statement:  ‘’Don ’t divide this organization. ‘’It is one. ‘’This is what protocol dictates’’   We were advised to drop the second in command.   I later got the import of the statement when events started unfolding later. The second in command, in the type of situation that the MFM calls: ‘’By fire by force’’ defied all odds to visit Osogbo for the commissioning ceremony.  He wasn’t stopped from travelling but the gulf continued to expand.

GOING FORWARD:  It is difficult to believe that all is currently well at the top. But all must be well for all of us 200 million Nigerians to be well. If the truth must be told, those who should at least try to intervene (if anything is wrong) must be the leadership of the National Assembly, limited to the Senate President and the Rt. Hon. Speaker. The stand of the chairman of the National Assembly as disclosed doesn’t seem to be a wise decision.  All over the world, it is the effectiveness of the legislative arm of government that distinguishes it from other forms of government Party executives across the line (in all political parties)  are not equipped to look into such matters for some reasons contained in a book I am currently putting together.  Therefore, I plead with the duo to intervene under the cover of the dark if anything is happening for the common good. I haven’t said it is happening anyway. Next, wives of the actors could come in, discuss; seek the truth and counsel themselves accordingly behind the curtains. I have always believed that the consolidation of democracy and good governance are the very two important factors of development that we require at this moment. The world is changing. It is important for us to give meaning and direction to our country’s political culture and institutions, for development to be recorded. And this will happen by the special grace of God.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC: We imported wholesale the presidential system of government as practiced in the United States. Those who drafted the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions, however, never saw wisdom in doing the needful. In Nigeria today, one of the greatest problems in administration is what I call ‘’the spare tyre’’ syndrome. Deputy Governors are complaining across the states that they are marginalized. The truth is that power in the presidential system is vested in the president and state governors.  In the United States, the vice-president is the President of the Senate while lieutenant-governors (deputy-governors) head state legislatures. So, what is wrong in adopting the same arrangement in Nigeria? Quota System, Zoning, Federal Character or personal interests?

Nigeria shall surely rise again.

 

 

 

 

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