Tuesday, February 15, 2005

the bloody conference

Looks like 900+ million naira will get blown next week on the "National Dialogue" a.k.a the National Conference (you are not allowed to say Sovereign cos its unconstitutional). The thing that completely mystifies me is that nowhere has anyone stated the objectives of the conference. There is some vague sense that the Constitution needs to be amended, but no one seems to have tabled any amendments, or, if these proposed amendments exist, have they been printed in the press. All the noise in the 4th Estate has been about who gets to go (out of hundreds of Nigerians, I believe there is about 3 women allowed to go).

So: a huge amount of public funds is going to be blown on a conference with no clearly stated objectives, with 50% of the electorate (ie women) massively disproportionately under-represented. What a joke. The Nigerian media fails its people yet again for not taking a more critical stance. And the chances that the structures of governance will be changed for the better are slim (eg ditching the immunity from prosecution of State Governors - virtually a licence for Governors to exercise extreme forms of corruption and rent-seeking). Even if all the inadequacies of the constitution were dealt with, the issue of who would actually follow the rules remains.


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