Engineer Muhammed Abba-Gana, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and a member of the Board of Trustees, (BOT) of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) is asserting the case for re-examination of the essence of politics in Nigeria.
In a statement addressed to the political class, the senior citizen said it must be realised that, for capitalism to survive, it must have a human face intolerant of severe poverty, hunger, mass unemployment and gross income inequality as currently obtains in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Connecting the above statement to Nigeria, he argues that vision and aspiration in the country should be that politics and political leaders must bring peace, unity, security, happiness and lasting prosperity through development to all our diverse hardworking, obedient and patriotic citizens.
The rest of the letter which shows one trajectory in the moral persuasion of Nigerian politicians is reproduced below:
(2) Again, in Nigeria we must urgently re-examine our politics. Our politics should be without bitterness, hatred, anger, greed, injustice, unfairness and oppression and be truly and sincerely be our brothers keepers as commanded by our Creator God, the Almighty and All-Knowing. Our politics should also be with love for all citizens of Nigeria, tolerance for all and denial to none/nobody.
(3) As part and parcel of getting our politics right, we must consciously and deliberately change our attitude to politics, government, religion, ethnicity, business, regionalism, work, culture and tradition etc. We retain the good aspect of our culture/tradition and continue with innovation and improvement.
(4) Also, we urgently need very serious and sustained moral rearmament. With social media breaking into all systems, cultures and traditions, our grandchildren will soon have to confront ICT culture and tradition and even language. No society of humans without ethical values, morals of behavior and character will inherit the earth because Shaytan, Satan or the devil will not allow them. Materialism will also cheer them along the wrong path. So let us start to develop good character, high values and morals as ethical system. India, China and Japan used science and technology to improve and develop their society but they retained their age-old values, culture and tradition but, here in Nigeria, we destroy our good cultures/traditions and import bad ones.
(5) So we can have the best constitution and restructuring, good laws and regulations and institutions but, if we retain our bad habits and attitude to politics, government, religion, ethnicity, business etc., we can hardly make progress, bring about prosperity, development, security, peace and unity to our people. So let us elect at all levels of government, people of good character, high values and morals and proven competence and wisdom and with fear of God, our Creator and Sustainer, show Your mercy on us Nigerians, ‘O God.
(6) Finally, for us the Nigerian people, to get our politics right is a task that must be done. This is because, unless and until we, as a people, get our politics right, we cannot get all the other things we need/want right. So, let all of us, Nigerians, pray to God the Almighty and All-Knowing, our Creator and Sustainer to help us to get our politics right in these trying and difficult times. Amin.
Engr. Muhammed Abba-Gana, CON
Former FCT Minister
Most readers of Engineer Abba-Gana’s letter would recall that this is the second time a major figure is asserting the centrality of capitalism with a human face. In 1993, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made a same argument but only to embrace neoliberalism upon becoming president of Nigeria subsequently. In 2022, Engineer Gana who served as FCT Minister in the first term of the Obasanjo Presidency is making the same case though from a rather moral canvass of the spectrum.
The question remains whether capitalism can ever have a human face, particularly in postcolonial Africa.