Ekene Samuel Imelikachi: Who is on the law’s side

We have oft heard John F. Kennedy timeless quote “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. To the extent that it has become a refrain, a battle cry for civic responsibilities.

Gone are the days when thousands of women from the Eastern protectorate marched to the town of Oloko to protest the introduction of direct taxation and exclusion of women in the political equation.

Distant are the days when student unionists in ABU Zaria, OAU Ile-Ife, RSUST Port-Harcourt, UNN, Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori et al championed the welfare of students and advocated on national and global issues.

Forgotten are the days when Nigerians from all walks of life took to the streets to demand the restoration of Abiola’s mandate; to resist increment of pump price of petroleum.

Gone. Distant. Forgotten. The days of active citizens’ participation in governance. The days when Nigerians asked “what can I do for my country?”

Today, it is almost an abberation to hear of citizens pressing for good governance, pushing for reforms, and challenging government to live up to its solemn oath – a promise of service. The few clamouring voices are fading by each passing day. How sad and tragic.

The question that has continued to defy logic is how did we, as a people, metamorphosed from a pride to a flock just within a short period of time. That is degeneration at its peak.

A lot has been written on the precipitated docility of Nigerians, the reckless abandon with which we handle governance issues, and the widening disconnect between government and the governed.

But, one thing stands true: government is a product of the people. The kind of government we have is a reflection of our collective character.

When the Judiciary tilts the scale of justice; the National Assembly abdicates its lawmaking and oversight functions, and the Executive overstretches the limits of its powers, it is an indictment of our collective conscience, principles and character.

Come to think of it. Those at the helm of affairs are not foreigners; they are full-blooded Nigerians – like you and I. Many of them had their grass story before the grace glory.

Make no mistake about it; Nigerians are irresponsibly responsible for making Nigeria what it is today – a sad state of a nation.

When experts and analysts posit that the culture of governance is responsible for the scale of judiciary auctionalism, legislative jamboree and executive rascality on display, it creates an unbalanced impression, leaving out the most dominant factor in the equation.

So, when next Discos respond sluggishly to blackouts; when next the authorities sweep a rape case under the carpet, or when next government agencies fail to live up to the billing, just know that you and I, every Nigerian is to share in the blame for passively and actively enabling a culture of impunity and corruption.

Discharging one’s civic responsibilities entails holding government accountable for its actions and inactions. The new norm of social media advocacy without a corresponding civil action merely scratches the surface.

If we want real change, then we must stop hiding behind our keypads and phones.

Let’s stop non-constructive criticisms, bickering, backbiting that have come to define civic engagements.

Who is on the law’s side? Step out and be counted.

Ekene S. Imelikachi

Secretary, Pmagbe Layout Landlords’ Association

Phone: 08066620620


Twitter: @EkeneImelikachi


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  1. It’s true, we citizens have also neglected our own role, we put the blame on the government