By Usman O. Abdullahi
An Institution is a large important organization long established and respected, particularly one involved with education, public service or charity works and has specific functions. Every society is made of laws for direction, regulation and control. Laws are made for man and man must abide by these laws.
No nation ever became great on a platter or over the night, neither do countries become great by doing great things but by doing small things in great ways. Greatness is never thrust on any nation; rather it is as a result of important decisions, collective efforts, patriotism, synergy and most importantly strong institutions.
Institutions lay the foundations on which other things are built and as the Proverbial Book states “if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Without institutions, nothing can be built and if built cannot be sustained because no root for survival.
Powerful nations like USA, Russia, Canada, France, Italy and many others have strong institutions for direction, regulation and most importantly for checks and balances, hence; it becomes easier for everyone to do the right things at all times.
In the recently conducted US elections, we saw the gallant display of strong institutions. Americans and the rest of the world are still confronting this Frankenstein’s monster Covid-19 which made it impossible for Americans to vote the usual way as it is the worst hit, hence; the mail-in-ballot became the most preferred option.
When elections were midway, President Donald Trump scurried to the court to seek an order to stop the counting of ballots; he alleged fake ballots and substantial rigging but the court declined his offer since his claims could not be substantiated and told him “let the process continue” since the interest of America overrides the interest of individuals.
This singular action tells us that even the American Institutions are older and stronger than men, even in the Oval Office and all are subject to its powers. As that was underway, the FBI ramped up its security on Joe Biden and his family without getting orders from the President as the Institutions had made room for that.
This goes a long way to tell us that when institutions are strengthened and in place, everybody is bound by it even heads of government agencies and parastatals, loyalty will not just be to the president but also to the state and where the loyalty to the president conflicts with the loyalty to the state, loyalty to the state takes precedence and preponderance. No wonder USA is often called “The Bastion of Democracy.”
In Nigeria, we have three democratic institutions; The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These institutions are separate, independent and distinct; they must be strengthened to work hand in hand with each other for all and sundry to reap the dividends and benefits of a democratic nation.
When institutions are strengthened, the legislature will always enact and repeal laws that will serve the interest of the Nigerian state. When institutions are reinforced, the Judiciary will not allow undue interference from the political class and will not be a vassal to any cabal nor will it be driven by primordial and parochial sentiments, hence; always earning its name “the last hope for the common man.” When institutions are fortified, the Executives will always implement policies that will be for the betterment of Nigerians in general and not for a select few.
The strength of men should be drawn from the institutions and not the reverse. When men derive their strength from the institutions, there will never be any phrase like “abuse of powers” since no man can be stronger than the institutions in place, as the institutions will always refer men to the constitution spontaneously as a guide, hence; the rule of law will always prevail.
Do we have strong institutions in Nigeria? Are our institutions loyal to the political class or the state? Can we truly say the law doesn’t discriminate? Do we boldly practice the rule of law? All these are questions that demand answers in the coming days.
Usman O. Abdullahi is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos and can be reached via email@example.com