By Endurance Onun:
A renowned author, international resource scholar and public affairs analyst, Sir Leonard Anyogo (Esq) has appealed for citizenship engagement in governance at all levels, pointedly noting that there is a disconnect between the government and the people at all spheres of today’s leadership.
Sir Anyogo made this plea yesterday afternoon during a media interaction in his office at IBB Way, Calabar.
In Anyogo’s view, to build a nation, the government must consistently engage the people to appraise their need and not claim to know what the people needed even without duly consulting their opinions – as it is the situation in today’s Nigeria state.
Sir Anyogo held that lack of dialogue was responsible for most of the crisis bedeviling the country; howthat, the time for government to open communication downlines was now if there must be improvement in governance.
In his words: “To build a nation, we must continually engage with ourselves. We could have disagreements which is okay, but, how we resolve this disagreement is critical; and so, I believe that we must not live in self denial. We have challenges facing the Nigeria State and we must admit them.
“Right now, what we have is that there is a disconnect between the government and the citizens and that is why we are finding it very difficult for the government to communicate its policies to the citizens and as a result, the citizens have this distrust in government which is why I am calling on the government to allow for citizens engagement. There should be a communication downline”.
The notary public, Sir Anyogo also asserted that “pocket of protests” and all other forms of civic actions by citizens were as a result of their inability to engage the government on matters demanding government’s attention. He opined that when a dialogue is open and the communication gap is bridged, crisis could easily be averted.
Anyogo lamented the difficulty in getting audience from Nigeria politicians, informing that in the Western World anyone could book an appointment with, even, top political elites and be granted audience with ease. “When you go outside the shores of this country, it is easier to access governance. You can actually book an appointment to see the Prime Minister or see the Mayor, as the case may be and within a short time, you are granted audience. But I don’t think we have that in this our country where everybody tends to suspect everybody; the government suspect the citizens, the citizens suspect the government”.
He further said that the level of dialogue currently in operation by this current government is below average, hence, the need to expand it to accommodate, even opposite views, noting that in a democratic setting, not everyone will subscribe to all government’s policies. He therefore begged that regular town hall meetings, public media chats and round table dialogues should be essential routines of government in its day-to-day runnings.
The International scholar also seized the interaction to call for a reform in the nation’s security department. In his opinion, a time has come for the Federal Government to consider overhauling the security apparatuses in the country.
He noted with regret the lack of coordination between the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Army; howthat, the reason why both top security agencies could clash and kill each other was largely because of “no intelligence sharing”; explaining that the Army do not share intelligence with Police, neither do the police share intelligence with the Army.
Sir Anyogo emphasized the lack of prosecution will in the country’s securiting. He said that it is difficult to see a transgressor of the law tried and prosecuted – affirming that “the law without sanctions is nothing but a mere musical instrument”.
“No deterrence and implementation of sanctions”, according to Anyogo, are the core motivations for the security challenges we face in the country. He pointed this out as he called on the Government to reform the Nigerian Police Act, stressing that most of the practices in today’s Nigerian Police were constituted by the then British Government, affirming that those practices were no longer in practice, even in contemporary Britain and as such, should be modified here in Nigeria to enhance effective securiting across the country.