What We Need: The Peoples Charter of Demands!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

What is a government? Why does a government exist? And who constitutes a government? A reflection on the above theme, 'What we need in the context of 'the Peoples Charter of Demands' presumes that the above 3 basic questions on the essence of government have been taken care of.

The people ought to understand what a government is all about and its operational modalities. It is the people who determine the type of government that would serve them at best. The government belongs to the people. In fact, Governments are established to serve the people. It is not the people serving the government.

As a matter of fact, the Governments' mandate of being belongs to the people. The people can always withdraw or invalidate this mandate. On a good turn, the people can renew its mandate for a government or for its credible agents. And that explains why the people do not only have wishes about the government but have actual rights and demands on the government.

A government justifies its existence by its services to the people. A government that does not serve ought not to exist. In Nigeria, it is customary that governments do not serve the people. The reverse is the case here. The people are conditioned to serve the government. And that is why there are problems with Nigerian style of leadership.

There is an urgent need today to revise this ugly trend. It begins with rudimentary civic education on the part of the people in the context of their needs and their charters of demands.

What does a people need from its government? And what are the peoples' charters of demands? The people do not demand anything extra from its governments. The needs of the people are those needs already articulated in the essence of government. It was this need that gave rise to any government, namely the satisfaction of the Common Good.

The Common Good is the good of all. It is about the provision of goods and services that are adequate and sufficient for the needs of every human person in that particular society. No one member of the society should live in any form of penury, especially in a society lavishly endowed in natural and material resources like our country Nigeria.

However, the Common Good does not take care of anybody's' greed. It is concerned with the peoples real life needs and necessities. Any government anywhere, that worth's its salt and name ought to provide the needed life necessities for its people. Most Governments in developed nations of the world are known to have been responsive to their duties. This is evident in their standards of living and development.

The Nigerian people today are not making any extra demands on Nigerian government. The current spate of violence, insecurity of life and property, poverty and disease, lack of due process and lawlessness are only evidences therefore that the government is dead. It is not responsive to its numerous responsibilities to the people.

As a result, the people can withdraw its mandate. The electoral process through the Voters cards remains the most legitimate means of withdrawing the mandate of a moribund and comatose government. 2015 general election is at the corner. It is an auspicious moment in our political history to re-write the wrongs of the past administrations that did not serve the people.

The next crop of servant-leaders that would occupy the corridors of state powers must learn that government is about service to the people. It is not about lip-services. The score-cards are evident. And the people's lingering needs and charters of demands are evidences therefore that the mandates cannot be renewed!

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