The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has said that separation of power is a panacea to the country’s nascent democracy. He made this remark while delivering a lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria to Cource 26 participants. He emphasized that the NDC is an important institution in the nation’s security architecture and crucible in training the best of our military, paramilitary and allied officers.
The Senate President said the invitation extended to him to speak on the lecture entitled ‘Separation of Powers and National Security in Nigeria: An Appraisal’. The Senate President emphasized during the lecture that the Legislature is a co-equal of the Executive and the Judiciary. Senator Saraki further expressed the unassailable position that the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature are subordinate to the other. He added that, as former Senate President Ken Nnamani once opined, “The Legislature and the Executive are co-managers of the economy.” Senator Bukola further buttressed that the objective of separation of power is not to set the basis for rivalry between the three arms of government but to ensure accountability which becomes the basis for the democratic principles of Separation of Powers. He therefore, advised that every individual in government should uphold the core principles of Separation of Powers and its implications for leadership, governance, democracy and national security because our development, peace and security depend on it. He also added that it is not about the individual; it is about the institution if we are to ensure the survival of our democracy
In furtherance, he commented, that Separation of Powers and the concomitant Checks and Balances enable the Legislature to ensure that national security is properly maintained for peace and development and for the public good.
While delivering the lecture he said that adherence to the Rule of Law is a fundamental pre-condition for the realization of development in all sectors whereas absence of the Rule of Law continues to constrain market development, public confidence in the legal sector, security and general well-being of the people.
In another development, the Senate President recalled the line in John Donne’s famous poem that says, ‘No man is an island entire of itself’. He therefore said that, power does not reside in its entirety in any one person or arm of government. This was informed by the fundamental notion that every man is equal under the law and no one is above the law; therefore, each organ of government could only act within the ambit allowed by the Constitution to ensure accountability, prevent autocracy and dictatorship and to uphold freedoms. For where there is autocracy or dictatorship, there would not be freedom.
The Commandant NDC while making his remarks commended the Senate President not for the fact that the audience has not heard the subject matter on separation of power before, but for the fact that the presentation was erudite and that the Senate President added his wealth of political prowess and experiences in delivering the lecture amidst his busy official engagements. He reiterated that the lecture was part of the Strategy, Statecraft and National Security Block of NDC Course 26; and that participants were drawn from the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force, Strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as participants from 16 counties of the armed forces across the African continent and beyond, namely; Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire, Congo, Ghana and Germany. Others are India, Malawi, Mali ,Niger , Rwanda , Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The Commandant however, concluded that Separation of Powers gives room for efficient conflict resolution.
With the desire to contribute towards producing appropriate foreign policy by the relevant stakeholders for the Nigerian nation, National Defence College Nigeria under the auspice of its Commandant, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo is poised to continue making the conduct of foreign policy roundtable a prerequisite. The Commandant revealed this when the Executive Council of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) led by its Chairman, Ambassador John Kayode Shinkaiye paid him a courtesy visit in the College’s Conference Hall.
The Commandant asserted that the Nigerian foreign policy is being misunderstood mostly. He then observed that the foreign policy of other countries as it affects Nigeria should be allowed to determine Nigerian foreign policy as it affects that same country. Rear Admiral Osinowo further asserted that the Nigerian nation at this point in time is in dear need of the knowledge and experiences of the members of ARCAN on foreign policy formulation. “Therefore, your forum should not fail to advise the government as appropriate in terms of foreign policy in its dynamic nature, the world over. We are today getting what we are seeing in the developed world in your forum,” he added.
He reiterated that the College is adding value in capacity building through its Centre for Research and Strategic Studies by conducting relevant researches that are being sponsored by the College in conjunction with other foreign governments, organizations and agencies. He then said, “We shall continue to partner with your forum in that regard. Once again, be reassured of our readiness to work with your forum,” he further said.
While delivering the ARCAN mission address earlier on, Ambassador Shinkaiye traced the history of the Association to 1984 when it was established with its headquarters at Lagos as a non-profit and non-political oriented voluntary forum that was geared towards fostering a resounding foreign policies for the Nigerian nation through advises that may resonate through its members’ knowledge and experiences as retired career ambassadors. It was in this vein, that he disclosed that the body was making deliberate effort to advise the government on the on-going issue of accepting or not accepting Morocco as a member nation of AU. Ambassador Shinkaiye asserted that accepting Morocco as a member nation of the AU may add nothing positive to the Union, rather than to take advantage of the well-organized organization in the AU. “The issue must be properly examined before any decisive resolution is being reached on this matter,” he earnestly advised.
He commended the College for reaching out to many African countries through its geo-strategic regional study tour and expressed hope that the College would continue to maintain relationship with its international participants at all level in the light of encouraging positive foreign relations with other countries as the participating individuals exceeded beyond Africa to Asia and other nations of the world. “More so, we hope that their perception about Nigeria will change positively after staying one year in the country during the duration of the course,” he added further.
Mr Tony Elumelu, the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings has canvassed for the Nigerian Government and private sectors support for the industrialization of the Nigerian Military. He canvassed for the support while fielding questions from journalists immediately after delivering a lecture entitled; Strategic Leadership: My Business Experiences to the participants of Course 26 of National Defence College Nigeria at the Abacha Hall.
In his words, “Not just the private sector but the Nigerian Government, the policy makers and the military need partnership. We need to collaborate and create an enabling environment that will first encourage military industrialization to take off”. He further reiterated that it is inevitable in this 21st Century, for our military might, our intentions and desires to profess being the superpower of Africa and beyond. He then emphasized that this is something we can achieve, but we need all hands to be on deck to actualize this; the government, the military and the private sectors working together by creating enabling environment and supporting researches.
Mr Elumelu remarked that he is not a template person. However, he assured that there are principles that work, like defining a destination, a long time destination and starting to work towards achieving it. In furtherance, Mr Elumelu commended the effort of the Commandant, National Defence College Nigeria, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo in providing the platform for interaction that was geared towards challenging individuals and encouraging researches.
Explaining how lack of strategic leadership is an impediment to poverty eradication, he stated that in spite of what it is being called; lack of good leadership is one of the reasons behind socio-economic challenges. “Call it lack of strategic leadership or lack of purposeful leadership which is one of the reasons we have socio-economic challenges and we need to address this fundamentally”, he advised.
Earlier in his office, Rear Admiral Osinowo while welcoming Mr Elumelu to the College acquainted him with the activities of the College which he described as an apex strategic military training institution not just for Nigeria but the whole of Africa. He explained that the College has participants from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, African Countries and around the World. Moreover, he asserted that the College has the Centre for Research and Strategic Studies, which he said is a strategic based research Centre. In his words, “we also have the Centre for Research and Strategic Studies that engages in strategic research apart from the regular training of participants. In addition, one year research programme is being conducted by the participants”, he further explained.
While giving his remarks immediately after the lecture, the Commandant observed that the lecture was geared towards the socio-economic democratization of not just Nigeria but the whole of Africa. He then commended the guest lecturer for a simple but well delivered intellectual lecture that attracted thought provoking interactive session with the participants.