I guess we can no longer contain the Frankenstein we have created of these Nigerian politicians. We confer on them high sounding names that are taller than the tower of babel, they, as a result see themselves as demi-gods, irreproachable, and untouchable thieves.
In a normal society, every public servant is answerable to the citizens, and must be responsive to their demands promptly.
Remember the principles of a social contract? But the opposite seems to be the case in Nigeria.
I tell you a short story.
In the Year 1999 I was then the leader of the Nigerian community and the Defacto Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa, His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian President ushered in a democratic dispensation in Nigeria, after the horrifying late Gen Abacha regime had expired by reason of his sudden death.
The majority of Nigerians living in South Africa at the time were on Asylum permits granted as a result of the political persecutions in Nigeria etc.
The United Nations had declared that Nigerians qualified as political refugees.
His Excellency Dr. Nelson Mandela as the President of South Africa led the international campaign for sanctions against Abacha regime.
The African National Congress, the ANC set up a pressure group and lobby platform called the South Africa-Nigeria Democratic Support Group. I was a member of that group.
We succeeded in all that we had set out to do against the monstrous Abacha regime.
With Dr Nelson Mandela leading the charge, we were rest assured of international backing and eventual success. We did succeed.
Therefore, in 1999 when Obasanjo was sworn in as a civilian president, the basis for the Asylum permits no longer existed.
The South African government then drafted a prototype letter addressed to all Nigerian holders of Asylum permits to leave South Africa within 14 days from the date hereof.
I went to court, even as a law student still. I challenged the uniformity of the letter because Asylum seekers had applied for the permits based on individualized reasons of persecution, which were different from the others. They must be heard and treated individually, not as a group.
I challenged the blanket reasons the South African government had given, because it was contrary to Section 33 of the Constitution of South Africa, and also in violation of the Administrative Justice Act; in that the principles of natural justice that had been codified were not complied with.
Section 33 and The Administrative Justice Act provide inter alia for:- written reasons for administrative actions – fair hearing – the other side must be heard.
Basically everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.
All of the above actions were happening simultaneously with my request for a meeting with the then Minister of Home Affairs who was the Political Head in charge of Immigration affairs in South Africa.
He accepted to meet with me.
Upon arrival at the Minister’s office on that fateful day, I was overwhelmed to see seated in the conference room; the Heads of Departments of Home Affairs and Immigration Services, Director Generals, Deputy Director Generals and Senior Officials of the South African Government.
The room was packed full waiting to receive my team and I with warmth and refreshments.
I dropped my gauntlet, we all buried our hatchets and we all had courteous meaningful and critical discussions.
Rising from that meeting I was officially advised to make a written representation to the Parliamentary Committee on Immigration in Capetown, which shall be seating in 48 hours from that fateful day.
By the Grace of God, and with sleepless nights of research, I did make my submissions, cited a few immigration policies that were in violation of the South African Bill of Rights which also had been entrenched in Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
These policies were discriminatory in their nature in their and effects. These policies were subsequently removed to allow my people apply for residence permits in South Africa.
The need for a law suit no longer existed. We made up with hugs and kisses.
I love South Africa and South Africans, and I am a Proudly South African.
MONSTROUS NIGERIAN POLITICIANS.
I must say that you don’t get that kind of reception and treatment from the monstrous Nigerian government officials and politicians.
Back to my story.
Today I go to bed a happy man because out of that singular move I made, every Nigerian then, and now has one South African residence permit or another. The rights and interests of future Nigerians to arrive in South Africa have already been taken care of in the process.
Those that were already given 14 days to leave South Africa stayed back, they became prosperous, made babies with South Africans, these lovely children have grown and excelling in universities; some now represent South Africa in different academic and sporting codes and are excelling to the benefit of South Africa.
The future generations of Nigerians would be treated the same. These are God’s children whose names and faces I may never know.
I thank you