VOICE OF LIBERY AFRICA: The Limit of Government and Constitutionality of Governance ~ Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede


The Nigerian House of Representatives rose from its recent sessions mandating its Committee on Foreign Affairs to intervene and investigate foreign embassies in Nigeria, regarding their treatment of the country’s visa applicants. They allegedly arrived at this decision after unanimously adopting a motion by one of its member entitled “Poor treatment of Nigerian Visa Applicants by Foreign Embassies in Nigeria.''

What the lawmakers did not take into consideration however is their own failure of getting their priorities right, and hence, falling victim of a proverbial idiom that reminds us “charity, indeed, begins at home”.

Ti igi ba re lu’gi, t’oke e la koo mu kuro (when two logs of wood falls on each other, the best approach is to first work on the one on top).

What the Nigerian lawmakers were doing however is ignoring both proverbial, and also, reality checks.

The existence of throngs of potential emigrants from Africa, especially Nigeria is no hidden fact. Most of these likewise are emigrating in search for economically greener pastures around the world, away from the miserable poverty and insecurity from their homeland.

A question of their motive for wanting away so bad such that some wouldn’t mind sleeping on temporary tents around embassies in order to make the appointment next day is not farfetched from the current system of governance in their respective countries. I will be dwelling on Nigeria for the purpose of this brief essay.

An experience of good governance in modern Nigeria is akin to giving a gift of a looking glass to a bind man. It is a long-sought, much-desired and yet-to-be-achieved dream of many in the country. Yet, Nigeria is governed by Nigerians.

While the country rots away in pains of poverty and insecurity, white elephant projects are a regular feature in government’s expenses. It is not enough that the fiscal policy annually boasts of more budgeted allocations to recurrent expenditures than the capital allocations. The capital budget is yet marred in meaningless projects such as a 2.2billion naira dance hall and expenses like a 45billion naira to facilitate a privatization process. How much worth the to-be privatized entity is, remains a mystery. These are merely meager misappropriations of the government which cares less about its own people, while it is not time-productive to dwell on more giant thefts such those seen in the fuel subsidy scams.

The loss of lives and properties through criminal activities is unimaginable. While the country only gets to hear about high profile kidnapping stories, many more news of terrorist activities that are a daily occurrence remains unpublicized. The media must be tired offering terrorists cheap and unpaid publicities of their attacks.

Public officials are far beyond the reach of the governed, unless during electioneering periods when they descend from the high horses to plead for electoral votes. The populace has evidently lost hope in their leaders, not just of recent, but from several years back. The resort to go in search of greener economic pastures elsewhere becomes the last resort for so many. These many are the ones allegedly being maltreated by embassies of countries they are seeking to emigrate to.

The best way for the legislature to help the plights of these potential emigrants does not lie in some money-spinning committee activity, but in retiring to the original checks and balances function of the legislature. The impoverishment of Nigerians is a collaborative effort of both the lawmakers and the executive, and as well as the toothless judiciary and seemingly hopeless opposition.

When the act of governance resumes constitutionality, and powers of government are limited through reversal to the original principles of democratic governance embedded in true representation of the people, there and then, the Nigerian Congress will have enough on their hands than time wasting motions as highlighted above. When the country is peaceful and prosperous through sound and reformed institutions, enhanced security of lives and properties, sound rule of law and a government that is limited and accountable to its people, there will be much less potential escape-seeking emigrants for foreign embassies to be treated poorly.


Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede is a regular contributor to the African Liberty Voice of Liberty Africa project

Fiyin believes the Nigerian National Assembly has its priorities wrong