Nigeria Should Adopt the Swiss Cantonal System of Government
"In the Western world of the mid-nineteenth century, language became accepted as the most important single defining characteristic of nationality. Fichte summed up a widely influential attitude when he asserted: "Wherever a separate language is found, there is also a separate nation which has the right to manage its affairs. . . and to rule itself". In the twentieth century this notion has had continued prominence. The peacemakers of Versailles tended to define national boundaries on the basis of language zone"and showed an unprecedented respect for the rights of linguistic minorities."
Empirically, the most progressive nations are either linguistically-homogeneous or have a dominant language group (United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc.) An exception is the Swiss which, despite their language and religious diversity, have a very progressive and successful democracy.
The summarized article "THE SWISS CANTONAL SYSTEM " A Model Democracy", authored by Frances Kendall, follows.
The concepts of devolution of power, local autonomy, and participatory democracy have produced the world's most peaceful and prosperous country. For those interested in reining in out-of-control governments in other parts of the world, there are large parts of the Swiss cantonal system that are worthy of emulation.
" Switzerland "
Switzerland is considered by many to be the most democratic country in the world. It is also one of the world's most successful nations in economic terms. The Swiss people have the highest per-capita incomes in the world, and Switzerland is consistently rated among the top ten nations in terms of quality of life.
The key to Swiss success is not to be found in natural resources (which are in extremely short supply); it lies rather in Switzerland's political institutions, which ensure that ordinary citizens are involved in political decision-making, and that no one interest group is able to benefit unduly at the expense of another.
" A Three-Tier Federation "
Switzerland is small " about one quarter the size of the US State of Ohio " and it is divided into 26 areas called cantons. The cantons are comprised of approximately 3000 communes. A central or federal government links the cantons into one unified country, but this central government controls only those affairs which are of interest to all the cantons. These matters of common interest include foreign policy, national defense, federal railways and the mint. All other issues " education, labor, economic and welfare policies and so on " are determined by the governments of the cantons and communes. Each canton has its own parliament and constitution and they differ substantially from one another. The communes, which vary in size from a few hundred to more than a million people, also have their own legislative and executive councils. The cantonal and communal governments are elected by the citizens resident in their areas of jurisdiction.
" Advantages of Decentralization "
Embraces Diversity. One important reason for this de-centralization of power in Switzerland is that, unlike most European countries, Switzerland is made up of several different major ethnic groups " Germans, French, Italians, and Rhaeto-Romansch. Over the centuries, whenever conflicts have arisen between these language groups, and between Catholics and Protestants, the Swiss have resolved the conflict by allowing each of the warring groups to govern themselves. Thus single cantons have divided into half-cantons, new cantons have been formed and border communes have opted to leave one canton to join another. In this way the Swiss have developed a system which permits people of different languages, cultures, religions and traditions to live together in peace and harmony. This makes the Swiss system particularly well suited to ethnically-divided countries.
Maximizes Competition Among Policies. Because so many decisions are made at the local level, the Swiss are closely involved with the laws and regulations which affect their lives " and because each canton is different, they are also able to see for themselves which policies work best. For example, one canton might have high taxes and expensive welfare programs, while another might opt for low taxes and private charity. Each Swiss citizen can then decide which policy suits him best and "vote with his feet" by moving to the canton which he finds the most attractive. The result is that good policies tend to drive out bad.
" Federal Government "
The national parliament consists of two houses: the popular house, which is elected by proportional representation under a system of free lists which allows all shades of political opinion to be expressed; and the Council of States, which has two representatives from each canton and one from each half-canton, is elected in most cases by a simple majority.
The federal government's jurisdiction is limited to those areas specified in the constitution. Once approved by both houses, new legislation is also subject to approval by the people in an optional referendum. The citizens have a six-month period during which a referendum can be called by any individual or group able to obtain 50,000 signatures on a petition. If the proposed legislation is rejected by a simple majority vote, it falls away.
" Constitutional Amendments "
Should the central government wish to pass legislation regarding matters not allowed by the constitution, a constitutional amendment is required. Consequently, much new legislation takes the form of amendments that can be proposed by the central government or by popular initiative. Any amendment proposed by the government must be approved by a simple majority of the people in a national referendum. All amendments require the approval of voters in a majority of the cantons.
Public-interest groups play an important role at the national level because they are able to launch referenda to block legislation they oppose. Consequently the cabinet lobbies the interest groups instead of interest groups lobbying the government, as happens in most countries. This is one important way in which the people, and not the politicians control government in Switzerland.
" Taxation and Spending "
The federal government, cantons and communities all levy their own taxes. Each level collects about one-third of total government revenues, which in all comprise approximately 26% of GNP. Most taxes are direct and low. The average Swiss citizen pays about 16% of his income in taxes, and average company taxes are about 20% of profits. Switzerland's national debt and inflation rate are low. Total government spending for all three levels has averaged only 22.6% of GNP since 1946, yet expenditure on welfare and education per capita is high. This is because government revenues are spent effectively rather than wasted on a bloated bureaucracy.
" Direct Democracy "
The popular vote reflects public opinion accurately, ensures that elected representatives remain accountable, reduces the importance of party politics, focuses attention on specific issues, acts as a barometer of controversy, and encourages politicians to be fellow participants in the law-making process.
Direct democracy takes two main forms: the referendum is the process whereby the people accept or reject new laws, and the initiative is the process by which citizens can themselves propose new measures. There are two types of referendum in common use: the obligatory referendum which must be held on all proposed constitutional amendments, and the optional referendum which permits new laws to be put to the popular vote provided a number of citizens sign a petition requesting the vote. Any group that wishes to launch an initiative has a specified period of time in which to collect the requisite number of signatures.
Voting in Switzerland generally takes place at least four times a year, usually on Sundays. Decisions made by popular ballot may not be overruled by the courts.
The Swiss system has served the ethnically diverse people of that country well for over 700 years. The rest of the world could learn from the example set in this mountain country and adopt similar systems of citizen-based government.
- End -
It is economically and socially desirable for Nigeria to remain one country. However, in order to have peaceful political integration Nigeria should emulate the Swiss Cantonal Model because it is proven to work for a multi-lingual and multi-religious society. We should also allow the implementation of this system of government time to work before declaring it unworkable.
If the Swiss model is adopted each linguistic group in Nigeria would need to decide with which neighboring linguistic group it wishes to join to form a local government (based on population size); neighboring local governments can decide to join together to form cantons or states. The reverse can also occur. The parameters for effecting this would be defined in the constitution with regards to proportion of votes to effect referendums.
In order for our union to work, sections of Nigeria with richer resources would need to be willing to magnanimously share their resources over a period of time (say, over the next 30 to 50 years) over which state economic autonomy would increase. This would allow each state sufficient time to develop its local resources and diversify its economy.
As Nigerians, we would all be able to reside and migrate to anywhere in Nigeria as we do today. Local governments in cosmopolitan areas like Lagos and Abuja would naturally be grouped to a greater degree along class as opposed to linguistic lines hence their governments would be more cosmopolitan and reflect the ethnic diversity of the local population. Hence, our social structure will not change, our economic structure would improve dramatically, while our political structure becomes stable.
The pro side is arguing that Nigeria, whose government is a Federal Presidential Republic, adopt the Swiss Cantonal System of Government. This is inherently wrong, as my opponent and the resolution is flawed. First, the resolution is flawed in that the word adopt, gives the connotation that it is going to be a peaceful and alright. This is not so. And secondly, my opp. assumes that as well. Getting that out of the way, my main argument is that the adoption of the Swiss Cantonal System of Government would lead to death and utter chaos of Nigeria that would leave it similar to Somalia.
According to Good Ole Wikipedia (I didn't want to separately provide the links, forgive me)" There exist several religions in Nigeria, helping to accentuate regional and ethnic distinctions. All religions represented in Nigeria were practiced in every major city in 1990. However, Islam dominated the north and had a number of supporters in the South Western, Yoruba part of the country. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa. Protestantism and local syncretic Christianity are also in evidence in Yoruba areas, while Catholicism dominates the Igbo and closely related areas. Both Protestantism and Catholicism dominated in the Ibibio, Annang, and the Efik kiosa lands.
The 1963 census although controversial, indicated that 47 percent of Nigerians were Muslim, 35 percent Christian, and 18 percent members of local indigenous congregations. If accurate, this indicated a sharp increase since 1953 in the number of Christians (up 13 percent); a slight decline among those professing indigenous beliefs, compared with 20 percent; and only a modest (4 percent) rise of Muslims. There are many types of Muslims, but the majority of Nigerian Muslims are Sunni, most of whom are Maliki, Shafi'i or Salafi. "
Cantons, In the Old Confederation until 1798 in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland states that "The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state "
Also Wikipedia states that "About half a million Muslims and Hindus were killed in communal riots following the partition of British India. Millions of Muslims living in India and Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan emigrated in one of the most colossal transfers of population in the modern era. Both countries accused each other of not providing adequate security to the minorities emigrating through their territory. This served to increase tensions between the newly-born countries.
Protests and Riots, to change the government."
And lastly, according to History, there have been no peaceful transitions between governments, i.e. Bolshevik Revolution, numerous East European countries, Cuba.
Those Cards basically states a couple things: 1) Multiple Religions, inside a third world country leads to conflict 2)Canton's create multiple separating individual sovereign states , " Each canton was a fully sovereign state." 3)There has been no peaceful revolution to change governments, as there is no such thing as an "adoption" of a government (You can't just change a government, its not like changing your clothes, it more like changing your entire life style and the life style of your kids).
TWO MAIN PROBLEMS
1. There has never been peaceful transitions in governments, much less to think Africa is capable of it, theirs just too many problems with dictators, corruption and overall violence. Thus, there would be death and a power struggle over who would be the leaders in the new government, as it can be seen in the Chinese Civil War ( Take your pick, the Mao Era or Old Pre Gunpowder one) as well as many other. There would be death and a power vacuum to be acquired by a dictator, leaving Nigeria in a worse condition. Democracy doesn't work in Africa, according to NewsWeek" In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame has become a darling of the West for leading an economic renaissance in a nation traumatized by the 1990s genocide. But in upcoming August elections, Kagame looks set to duplicate his implausibly high 95 percent victory in the last vote and is pressing charges against an opposition leader for "divisionism," namely downplaying the genocide. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, who denounced dictatorship in Africa when he took power in 1986 and was seen as another great democratic hope, has said he"ll try to extend his 24-year tenure in presidential elections next year. In Gabon and Togo, the deaths of long-serving autocrats Omar Bongo and Gnassingb" Eyad"ma has meant elections in which power was smoothly transferred"to their sons. Disastrous polls in Nigeria and Kenya in 2007 were worse than those countries" previous elections, and current trends show little hope for improvement. Mauritania, Guinea, Madagascar, and Niger have all had coups since 2008, while Guinea-Bissau has been effectively taken over by drug cartels." Overall Democracy doesn't work in Africa, much less Nigeria, and there would be a power struggle that would leave the people of Nigeria in shatters.
2. Lets assume it gets implemented: In the Cantonal System in Switzerland, there are multiple individual states, and in Nigeria, there is just one big country. Creating these individual states would lead to death and destruction in Nigeria, as there are many ethnic and religious groups that would not want to be in the same state. For example, the Muslims and Hindus in India hated each other, and when the British Partition occurred, about a half a million people were killed. Muslims and Christian do not like each other, i.e. the crusades, the whole "I hate America" by the middle east terrorist groups, the slaughter of Christians in the Kenyan Mall. Thus, the logic would be that, in the migration of people to different states, there would be conflict which would not happen if we just left the already functioning system of government in Nigeria. Even if you don't believe that, my opp states that" In order for our union to work, sections of Nigeria with richer resources would need to be willing to magnanimously share their resources over a period of time (say, over the next 30 to 50 years) over which state economic autonomy would increase. "This is wrong, as there is big conflict over resources especially in Africa (Blood Diamonds, the Civil War in Congo) plus the Nigerian government isn't fit to distribute resources to different areas, as according to the Corruption Index, African is seen as the worst in the world for corruption. Overall, either death in migration or death in lack of resources and power struggle over resources as well as corruption OR leave the government to itself.
Reject the Pro side, as changing governments for Nigeria would leave it in a shape comparable to a homeless man. People would die, thus you cannot vote Pro if in any sense you value life and common sense. Overall, reject the pro.
This is my first Kritik, so if its not a proper one sorry, I'm just trying to get practice.
Thank you, TheLDDebator, for accepting this challenge.
I will state at the outset of this rejoinder that my opponent cited several arguments that are unrelated to, and that divert attention from, the core premise of this debate which, for the avoidance of doubt, is: Nigeria is a multi-lingual and multi-religious society that can, and would, benefit by remaining as one country. However, there is tremendous corruption which is affecting the progress of the country. I believe that the inability to properly address the endemic corruption is because the political structure makes it difficult to hold leaders accountable. Likewise, there is persistent agitation with regards to from which ethnic group the president comes and this affects the peace and stability of our union. These issues merit addressing with a system that has proven to work for a society similar to Nigeria's. Switzerland is also a multi-lingual and multi-religious society and the best example of such society that is stable and progressive. Since there is empirical evidence that the Swiss Cantonal System of government works for a multi-lingual and multi-religious state this system is worth emulating by Nigeria and other multi-lingual and multi-religious countries that desire political stability and progress.
As I earlier stated my opponent has lumped into his/her discourse what I believe are several arguments unrelated to the debate. I believe that my opponent has overwhelmed himself mostly with "how" Nigeria may adopt or embrace the Cantonal System; my admonition to my opponent and other readers is to first determine whether the system may work for Nigeria without concerning themselves with "how" this may be achieved; that can come later. Nonetheless, I will challenge most of the issues raised and, hopefully, enlighten my opponent and readers that the issues raised by my opponent are red herrings.
My opponent's exposition about several religions being practiced amongst Nigeria's several ethnic groups acknowledges the premise of my opening remarks so I will accept that he is agreeable to the basic facts about Nigeria.
I am mystified by my opponent's reference to cantons being sovereign states as well as his concluding remark that "Canton's (sic) create multiple separating individual sovereign states". Majority, if not all, of Nigeria's ethnic groups were distinct sovereign kingdoms before the British began trading with West Africans preceding colonization; so? And, might I correct my opponent that Swiss cantons today are not "separating individual sovereign states"; Swiss cantons have local autonomy but are all part of one country - Switzerland!
My opponent's reference that "About half a million Muslims and Hindus were killed in communal riots following the partition of British India" is misleading because he is comparing the division of one country into two/three (India and Pakistan/Bangladesh) with the creation of states/communes within one country. Nigeria has had several states created since her 1967 civil war and I am not aware of any of these state creations leading to bloodshed. Therefore, my opponent's argument here is not well-reasoned and is better dismissed out of hand.
I assume that, with the reference to "according to History, there have been no peaceful transitions between governments", my opponent actually meant to write "according to History, there have been no peaceful transitions between [different styles or types of] governments". Even if true, this is not a reason to preserve a system that is clearly not working. Clearly, if there were no conflict, the assumption is that all is well and to maintain the status quo. Conflict amongst the Swiss in the nineteenth century eventually led to the evolution of their stable cantonal system of government. Agitation by pro-democracy groups in Nigeria and the death of the dictator Abacha eventually led to Nigeria's transition from military dictatorship to democracy in 1998. Americans fought the British to gain independence and evolve an enduring democracy and the most powerful nation on earth yet. The Kenyan 2007 political crisis that was mentioned by my opponent led to reforms that are similar to the cantonal system: "On 4 August 2010, the Kenyan public voted to accept a new draft constitution, with 67% of Kenyans approving the referendum. The constitution devolves power to local governments...It also strips the presidency of certain powers and patronage that previously allowed for centralized control within the office of the President." (http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org...). Nigerians, and Africans, are clearly not benefitting from the status quo (as my opponent clearly stated in his expositions). However, with his statement, my opponent is also implicitly accepting that we can't have positive change without some agitation. Therefore, it is cowardly and pessimistic to expect not to agitate for progress because the transition might not be peaceful; one might as well cease to live (http://en.wikipedia.org...!)!
In the "Impact Section" my opponent made several vexing assertions and I'll reference a few: "There has never been peaceful transitions in governments, much less to think Africa is capable of it". Is my opponent concluding that the future of Africa is condemned to what it is now and that Africa should just give up, roll over, die, and cease attempting to make political progress? Before the Swiss evolved their stable Cantonal System would it have been wise to conclude that stable democracy in a multi-lingual and multi-religious country was impossible? Also, my opponent states: "Thus, there would be death and a power struggle over who would be the leaders in the new government". Let me elaborate to my opponent and other readers that one of the features of the Swiss Cantonal System is that the federal government's jurisdiction is limited because of the local autonomy of the cantons and communes. In fact, "a different president is elected by members of the central government every year" (http://isil.org...). So, with regards to my opponent's concern about power struggle" - what is new? A lot of African governments today already contend with power struggles. One of the reasons for the often violent power struggles for African presidencies is the enormous centralization of power that the presidency confers and the opportunity for enrichment through plunder of state resources with impunity! The new Kenyan constitution as well as the Cantonal system deliberately whittle down the power of the presidency, which is very necessary in a multi-lingual and multi-religious state. With the cantonal system, there is less incentive for all the fracas that is encouraged by the current systems of government in Nigeria and in most of Africa.
My opponent states: "Creating these individual states would lead to death and destruction in Nigeria, as there are many ethnic and religious groups that would not want to be in the same state". But "many ethnic and religious groups are already in the same state" in today's Nigeria and that hasn't led to "death and destruction" as my opponent would have us believe. However, clearly these artificial states that were created by the federal government without the consent of the people often have troubled state elections; these maladies are addressed in the Cantonal system. My proposal (the Cantonal System) is better as I stated in my opening remarks: "If the Swiss model is adopted each linguistic group in Nigeria would need to decide with which neighboring linguistic group it wishes to join to form a local government...; neighboring local governments can decide to join together to form cantons or states. The reverse can also occur." My own proposal addresses what my opponent agrees is a problem of the current system which is that the federal government creates these artificial state borders without recourse to the language or religious groups within the states and without their consent to co-habit.
With regards to my opponent's comment that "the Nigerian government isn't fit to distribute resources to different areas" - again, this is the status quo today but I did not even address whether the federal government should distribute resources in my proposal - my opponent leaped to this conclusion on his/her own! In my suggestion that "sections of Nigeria with richer resources" be willing to share resources with less privileged sections I was attempting to address what might be immediate opposition to the idea of local/linguistic autonomy. Virtually all states in Nigeria today depend on the funds accruing from sale of the crude oil from the land of the Niger Delta people; the funds are shared amongst the federal, state and local governments. I was advocating that it is better to gradually wean newly formed (using methods suggested above) local governments and states off this dependency and that it might take some time to do so. I advocated 30 to 50 years but these are just suggestions. And I did not address how this voluntary sharing of resources would be done.
My overall impression from my opponent's arguments is that he/she did not fully grasp and understand the basic structure and functioning of the Cantonal System as laid out in my opening remarks and which makes it a fairly resilient system that is also best suited for multi-lingual and multi-religious societies. I suggest that my opponent re-read my opening remarks and ask for clarifications where necessary before he responds in the next round.
I will begin this round by simply going over the points my opp. brought up, in parallel to how he/she presented it.
-My opp. begins this debate by stating that the reason for the corruption is the current political structure and by replacing it with the Swiss version would fix it. This is illogical. You cannot say that since a government in once country is successful, that in turn, it would be successful in another. The United States, a Republic, is considered one of the lowest in terms of corruption, according to the Corruption Perception Index, and then you look at Sudan, also a Republic, and it is one of the worst in the world for corruption. You cannot translate governments and expect it to be successful in other countries, it just doesn't work that way. Also, Democracy hasn't worked in Africa, which is another reason why the Swiss version won't work.
Another argument that my opp. brings up is that since "Switzerland is also a multi-lingual and multi-religious society" that it would work in Nigeria. First off, Switzerland is approx 70% Christian, and less than 6% Muslim, whereas in Nigeria, they are closer together. Also, Swiz. is a first world country, with (not to be bigoted) better values and better control for the lack of a better word; whereas Nigeria is a third world country, with conflict constant bubbling. You cannot compare these two nations! Its ridiculous. You would only be creating more conflict because the separation of Nigeria into cantons (I will explain later).
-I am glad that Doyin is attempting to bring down my arguments, but I would argue that my analysis of this debate is correct. You would have to look at all aspects of how the Swiss System is better for Nigeria, rather than looking at whether theoretically it would work, which is why I am concerning the "how" in this debate.
-I agree with my opp. paragraph about my exposition.
-I do also agree that Nigeria's ethnic groups were distinct sovereign Kingdoms DURING THE 1800'S! This is 200 years later, Nigerians who practice Religion are confined to their "pockets" in Nigeria, necessarily not messing with other groups, however if you specifically create cantons, you would be messing with the natural order of Nigeria. As I brought up earlier, Britain tried to create areas inside India (Or India created areas inside India, doesn't matter) and ended up with "a half a million" dead. You cannot think that created divisions in Nigeria (cantons) would equal=peace. That didn't happen in India, and that won't happen in Nigeria.
-My opp concedes to my point about "according to History, there have been no peaceful transitions between [different styles or types of] governments". Now, this is an important point into today's debate, as it shows that NIGERIA CANNOT SWITCH TO THE SWISS FORM OF GOVERNMENT. That should be grounds for an automatic win. Anyways, he/she also states that "Nigerians, and Africans, are clearly not benefitting from the status quo (as my opponent clearly stated in his expositions). " This is false, as with the current government, Nigeria is prospering, becoming, according to Citigroup, "the highest average GDP growth in the world between 2010"2050." Along with other things, Nigeria is doing well with the current government, and changing it wouldn't help in any way.
-I am not "concluding that the future of Africa is condemned to what it is now and that Africa should just give up, roll over, die, and cease attempting to make political progress." I am arguing, that Africa needs to learn how to become a better continent by itself, just as Teenagers need to learn life lessons by themselves. It is seen that non-African intervention is not beneficial (Imperialism, the influence of Foreign Aid http://www.cato.org... etc.). Also my opp is being completely immoral, in essentially saying that its okay that there would be a power struggle in Nigeria, "So, with regards to my opponent's concern about power struggle" - what is new? A lot of African governments today already contend with power struggles." He/She is saying because it is already happening, its okay to happen again. This argument is immoral and illogical, why keep repeating negative events? Power struggles shouldn't be thought of as okay. My opp. is clearly not doing what is in the best interest of Nigerians.
-ASSUMPTIONS! My opp. is assuming that the transition to a Swiss System would be clean and without bloodshed. This is a complete lie, just look to history.
-Lastly, the Status Quo is not perfect, but is better staying the way it is rather than changing it. Nigeria is on a good path, as the evidence I stated ^^^ (economy). There is no reason to change governments. Like the saying goes, "Dont fix what aint broke."
My opp has seen many parallels between Switzerland and Nigeria, and figures, hey if it works in one country, it could work in another. This is the farthest from the truth, as comparing Switzerland to Nigeria is like comparing Apples to tires; there both round, but the similarities stops there. My opponent is being illogical by saying that Nigeria is like Switzerland, they simply aren't. Doyin is making assumptions like there is not tomorrow, essentially saying that the Swiss System is going to be the Savior that Nigeria needs, and that it'll fix everything, however as I proven, it would be more kin to the Anti-Christ (worse for Nigeria). Let Nigeria be, it is alright the way it is, look at the evidence, the Swiss system is not beneficial.
For these reasons I urge a Con Ballot.
- MY OPPONENT'S COMPARISON BETWEEN THE USA AND SUDAN PROVES MY POINT -
(1) "Poverty in Nigeria remains significant despite high economic growth it first started sometime during the British empire. Nigeria has one of the world's highest economic growth rates (averaging 7.4% over the last decade), a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources such as oil. However, it retains a high level of poverty, with 63% living on below $1 daily, implying a decline in equity. Poverty in Nigeria can be also caused by the political instability of the country. However, these programs have largely failed to overcome the three reasons for this persistent poverty: income inequality, ethnic conflict, and political instability." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org....
(2) "Poverty in Nigeria? Steady GDP growth, a thriving agricultural sector and a booming oil industry should be raising the quality of life of poor Nigerians. But, political instability and widespread corruption is undermining economic progress and widening the inequality gap." Source: http://borgenproject.org....
It is clearly obvious that my opponent's entire argument and opposition is premised on his opinion that the adoption of the Swiss model by Nigeria would be violent. So, disabusing him of this premise may help him change his mind and support my proposal for a Swiss model for Nigeria. I hope to be able to suggest a few tentative ways in the next round where space would permit.
"-MY OPPONENT'S COMPARISON BETWEEN THE USA AND SUDAN PROVES MY POINT - "
doyin states that my example of USA and Sudan proves his point, essentially saying 1) The U.S form of Democracy doesn't work in Sudan because it doesn't serve "multi-lingual" societies, and 2) that the Swiss model is best for multi-lingual and multi-religious societies and that because of that, Nigeria should adopt it. My opp gives states that the "United States has one dominant language - English." However, that doesn't discount the fact the the U.S. is multi-lingual and multi-religous. Plus, how does a governmental system relate to what language the people speak. There is no correlation. It is illogical to say that, because of different languages and religions, a government system, such as Democracy cannot work. Overall, my opp. is making a correlation between Government and Language that doesn't exist.
-The Kenyan Card should also be applied to the above ^^
"- WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF POLITICAL CONFLICTS IN MULTI-LINGUAL AND MULTI-RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES? -"
- My opp. states that I " support the US style democracy that Nigeria is currently practicing." I would like to make it clear that I only used the United States as an example of how you cannot say that since a government worked here, it would work there. Nothing else. Anyways, Nigeria isn't practicing Democracy, rather a federal constitutional republic.
-My opp begs the question "were the Swiss born with better values that enabled them to achieve "first world country" or did the better values that enabled them to achieve this status evolve over time?" I don't believe they were born with the values, but did evolve. However, because Swiz. has a good everything, that doesn't mean that it would work in Nigeria. Nigeria is already experience great economic booms, and there is not reason to change the government. It doesn't make sense when Nigeria is already doing so good.
-My opp also asks : "what are the key causes of the conflict that is constantly bubbling that my opponent refers to?" And I am referring to the surrounding countries, as well as Islamic Terrorists, according to Wikipedia, "Because of its multitude of diverse, sometimes competing ethno-linguistic groups, Nigeria prior to independence has been faced with sectarian tensions and violence."
"Advantages of Decentralization"
-Now my opp. brings up how because of the Swiss Cantons~~ "Germans, French, Italians, and Rhaeto-Romansch. Over the centuries, whenever conflicts have arisen between these language groups, and between Catholics and Protestants, the Swiss have resolved the conflict by allowing each of the warring groups to govern themselves. " Now, this is interesting, because Nigeria has the same, but different problem. There is no warring groups over ethnic groups, rather religious groups. Islamic Terrorists are plaguing Nigeria, with "In 2010, more than 500 people were killed by religious violence in Jos (Wikipedia)." Also the entire northern part of Nigeria is under Sharia Law. Now, you cannot use the Swiss System of Government to fix the problems in Nigeria. The religious differences go much deeper than that. Plus, if you split up the country into different Cantons, you would create even more cultural and religious barriers and differences.
-"Inconsistencies in my Opponents Arguments"
My opp argument in this paragraph is "Necessarily, such changes in the styles of governments are driven by agitations, they are progressive, and they are the reason why we have progressive nations like the US and Switzerland today. " The key word is "agitations," as I stated before my opp. agrees that there "has been no peaceful transitions between governments." Thus, as I stated before, there will be blood shed. You cannot change governments and expect no violence to occur. Currently, there isnt any violence in Nigeria that is related to the government, thus why create it? Plus the Nigeria Confab is mainly dealing with the Leaders, rather than the entire government.
-My opp. brings up conflicting arguments, saying that "Nigerians are not prospering." I am stating that as a country overall, it is prospering "Nigeria is prospering, becoming, according to Citigroup, "the highest average GDP growth in the world between 2010"2050." However, my opp. states that a new government is the key to solving the economic problems in Nigeria. This doesn't make any sense, as how does changing a form of government have anything to do with the economy? Democracy doesn't have to do anything with the economy, it is capitalism. Changing the government won't help or alleviate the suffering and poverty as my opp. states. There is no correlation.
-My opp. states that I conceded that African Governments need to change. I would just like to ask my opp. to stop arguing this point, as it is not topical. We are arguing about Nigeria, not about the rest of Africa. I do agree that certain countries in Africa need to change, however I don't believe Nigeria needs to.
-Finally, as part of my rebuttal, I would like to address my opps. last argument. I would give an honest opinion. I do not believe that if Nigeria adopted the Swiss democratic model, that it would be better off. First off, the morals of Nigerians are different as well as there whole aspect of life. If they see that they could be rich as powerful, when they never had before, why wouldn't that take that advantage. Thats why corruption occurs, because of Greed. I'm not saying that Swiz. isnt free of corruption, rather most politicians there aren't corruption not because of the government, but because they were raised with a higher quality of living. Simply, a different government won't save Nigeria, it starts at the people.
Now raise some of my own points.
My opp.'s biggest mistake is that he/she is making a huge assumption, in that if Nigeria changes governments, then it would fix most if not all of its problems. There are problems with that: 1) Assumption it is going to work. How do you know its going to work unless you actually implement it. Swiss is a perfect country to implement anything, honestly. Everything is booming, and its not solely the government, it is its people, its trade, its economic system. There is an assumption that since it works in Swiz, it would work in Nigeria, and that is false. 2) In order to solve for the problems you are advocating that the Swiss form would solve for, then you would not only have to reform the government. but reform the whole nation, every agency, even the economic system. Changing the government won't solve for the problems you are saying that it would fix. Thats like saying the President can control the oil prices. He can't. 3) The problems lie in its people, not in the government. Its realistically the people that need to change, not the government. And that lies in the government creating programs for the people or private interests. There is no reason to change the government.
Lastly, why even advocate for a change in government when you know that it would lead to bloodshed. Time and time again, it has happened in history, the Bolshevik revolution, the Chinese civil war that ended up with china becoming communist. As I proven, it would not solve for any problems (if we change the government) rather it would create chaos.
For these reasons I urge a Negative Ballot!
My opponent, TheLDDebator, has made several statements in this debate that made me realize that his level of knowledge about the fundamentals underlying this topic is superficial. This is not by itself a bad thing; however, it is quite difficult to have a meaningful discussion with an opponent that ignores evidence and research and bases his arguments on weak opinion and analyses.
In addition to some of his earlier statements (which I’ll address below) I quote one of TheLDDebator’s statements in his last post that shows limited knowledge of the fundamentals forming the basis of this debate:
“Plus, how does a governmental system relate to what language the people speak. There is no correlation. It is illogical to say that, because of different languages and religions, a government system, such as Democracy cannot work. Overall, my opp. is making a correlation between Government and Language that doesn't exist.”
Questions to TheLDDebator
My final position is that, unless TheLDDebator stops ignoring research and evidence - and disproves my thesis with references that prove that the Swiss model will not work in another multi-lingual and multi-religious society like Nigeria - I urge all readers to vote a pro ballot supporting my position.
Just like I have done in that past, I will go attack point by point parallel to my opps.
My opp. rebuts my point about how a government system does not solve or alleviate language problems, by pointing out his evidence about how "In the Western world of the mid-nineteenth century, language became accepted as the most important single defining characteristic of nationality. " I have three problems with this that I should have stated before. 1) This evidence is EXTREMELY outdated, being over a half a century old, thus a more recent study must be needed to affirm this claim and 2) It talks about the WESTERN WORLD!!!! The western world does not apply to Africa, much less Nigeria, thus this piece of evidence is off topic 3) Lastly, I would argue that contrary to my opp"s evidence, "The peacemakers of Versailles tended to define national boundaries on the basis of language zone," I would argue that they defined national boundaries according to what was previously recognized pre-war, not based on language.
I can't believe that my opp keeps arguing that the Swiss model is so well, being the one "Of all systems of governments known to man, the best that has been successfully practiced." What! The Swiss System's noticeable difference from other Democratic governments is that it is Directorial, and that is not the reason why the entire society is one of the best. The OECD ranks Australia as the worlds best country, with Switzerland coming in at a solid....6th ( http://www.rediff.com... ) therefore my opp. cannot make the claim that the Swiss model is the best model in the world, when in fact it is not (plus it only works in one country.)
I am not going to waste a paragraph explaining how Switzerland is different from Nigeria, just look to my above arguments.
But I would argue that the "accountability mechanisms" that keep the Swiss well-off cannot be implement in Nigeria. Democracy doesn't work in Africa, much less Nigeria. I will re post my evidence here:
"In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame has become a darling of the West for leading an economic renaissance in a nation traumatized by the 1990s genocide. But in upcoming August elections, Kagame looks set to duplicate his implausibly high 95 percent victory in the last vote and is pressing charges against an opposition leader for "divisionism," namely downplaying the genocide. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, who denounced dictatorship in Africa when he took power in 1986 and was seen as another great democratic hope, has said he"ll try to extend his 24-year tenure in presidential elections next year. In Gabon and Togo, the deaths of long-serving autocrats Omar Bongo and Gnassingb" Eyad"ma has meant elections in which power was smoothly transferred"to their sons. Disastrous polls in Nigeria and Kenya in 2007 were worse than those countries" previous elections, and current trends show little hope for improvement. Mauritania, Guinea, Madagascar, and Niger have all had coups since 2008, while Guinea-Bissau has been effectively taken over by drug cartels." According to http://www.newsweek.com....
Plus the corruption wouldn't be stopped by these "accountability mechanisms." Overall showing how 1) Switzerland doesn't compare to Nigeria 2) The systems in Switzerland won't work in Nigeria and 3) Democracy simply doesn't work in Africa due to Corruption and other problems
-The Swiss form of Government won't help Nigeria as
-They are two extremely different countries
-The Swiss system, even though it works with one multi-lingual and multi-ethnic country, that it would work for others and solve there problems, but my opp. fails to see that you would need to change the whole country to fix it, its economic system, its cultural and social foundations etc.
-Violence would occur because whenever you change a government, a revolution is needed
-The Swiss Government isn't the best in the world
Also I am not ignoring my opp's research and evidence. I am refuting each piece of evidence he/she gives by providing my own as well as rebuttals.
Therefore I urge a negative ballot
In this entire debate my opponent, TheLDDebator, has not provided well-researched, coherent and persuasive reasons to oppose my proposal that “Nigeria Should Adopt the Swiss Cantonal System of Government”. Rather, TheLDDebator’s arguments have been:
I believe that TheLDDebator means well for Nigeria. Unfortunately, meaning well and doing well are two different things. Rather than openly weighing the evidence presented, TheLDDebator has doubled-down on his flawed position, perhaps for the sake of not losing this debate. TheLDDebator’s thinking is short-term as, given Nigeria’s multi-lingual and multi-religious make up, history does not present an example of a similar nation that is successful practicing Nigeria’s current American-style form of democracy or government.
The anthropological evidence is proving, all over the world, what Western Europe already discovered and respected during the 19th century; basically, language is the most important single defining characteristic of nationality. Empirically, countries that are linguistically-homogeneous or have a dominant language group are more stable, more governable and more progressive; to approach the performance of such countries, countries with multi-lingual and multi-religious peoples should look to the Swiss model which grants local autonomy to language/religious groups within the same country. The evidence is compelling.
Finally, I urge everyone to support Nigeria’s progress and vote to support the motion: “Nigeria Should Adopt the Swiss Cantonal System of Government”. Once we win this debate we can then open another debate to discuss “How Nigeria May Adopt the Swiss Cantonal System of Government”.
- My opp misconstrues what I am saying. I do agree that Democracy doesn't work in Africa, and I do agree that Nigeria's current style of government is based on American-style democracy. However, Nigeria is based off of it, its not even a democracy, it just has the parts of it. Nigeria is a Federal presidential republic! I never stated that Africa should evolve its own style of government.
Overall, my opp is misconstruing evidence and my arguments.
-I provided logical arguments to say why doyin's 1967 evidence is wrong. I didn't necessarily need to provide counter-evidence, but just why his evidence is wrong. And again, it is wrong because 1) Its outdated 2) His evidence only applies to the Western World, thus it has nothing to do with Nigeria.
-Nigeria is prospering, according to Citigroup," Nigeria will get the highest average GDP growth in the world between 2010"2050. Nigeria is one of two countries from Africa among 11 Global Growth Generators countries." Even though poverty is increasing, it is going to get better, because if the GDP is rising, then it will trickle down to the people, reducing poverty.
-My opp's C. point is irrelevant as he is just saying that Africa has language based tribes and clans and is similar to the world, which is somewhat is, but that doesn't show has Democracy works in Africa.
Also Doyin states that " The US-style and various European styles of democracy simply aren't designed to work for multi-lingual and multi-religious states; that much is evident from the Belgian (a multi-lingual European country) experience today, and from the Swiss experience before it evolved its cantonal model." WHAT THE HECK!!!!!! The United States has a multi-lingual and mutli-religious state! It is crumbling. Disregard my opp's argument.
-My opp. states that If "TheLDDebator wishes to honestly counter my true claims about the Swiss model all he needed to do was to cite one example of a multi-religious and multi-lingual country (i.e., not linguistically-homogeneous or have no dominant language group as I described in my opening debate post) that practices a different form of government than the Swiss and is more successful than Switzerland with regards to all measures of freedom, economic progress and political stability, or that is in fact in the list of top 10 "most developed" countries." The United states is better than Swiz, being one of the top nations in the world in terms of the quality of life according to the OECD. Also its economy is bigger and better and it is overall better than Switzerland.
The reasons why you should vote for me:
-I had great conduct, never bringing down my opp (I can't say the same for him)
-I rebutted every argument of his, with evidence and logical arguments
-My arguments still stand, such as; Nigeria and Switzerland are two extremely different countries, thus the government cannot simply work there, they are too different, there would be bloodshed in changing governments, Nigeria is already doing well being one of the up and coming economies according to Citigroup etc.
-I proved that the Swiss Cantonal System will not work for Nigeria and is Ineffective
The reasons why you should vote against my opp (its different than ^^)
-My opp has constantly misconstrued my evidence and my arguments, as you can see throughout the debate
-My opp hasn't successful taken down any of my original points, or the points brought up throughout this debate, rather provided weak evidence or arguments that I would easily counter
-My opp is stating that because the Swiss Government works in a Multi-Lingual and Multi-Religious Society, then it would work in Nigeria, and as I stated before, you would need to reform everything about a nation, plus Nigeria and Switerland are two way different countries. My opp. also allows for bloodshed to occur, when Nigeria changes governments.
Overall, my opp hasn't successfully proved his point.
In conclusion, this has been a long debate and if you read it all, wow, but thank you. Regardless, thank you for voting and vote for the Con!
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