As democracy dies in Nigeria – Part 2
So it can be submitted beyond any shadow of doubt that Nigeria’s social and political manifestations of collapse have by far surpassed the estimation made by some academic scholars including the two Havard University Political Science professors who had affirmed that even in the developed Western societies, inequality and difference has increasingly become present.
Michael O’Shaughnessy and Jane Stadler wrote in their book “Media and society,” fourth edition that: “looking at the world globally, and at individual Western societies, it soon becomes evident that there are major social inequalities.
Societies consist of a complex network of group with different – sometimes competing, sometimes overlapping-interests.”
Some of these groups, according the aforementioned authors, are advantaged (in terms of such social goods as housing, education, and life opportunities) by virtue of their birth, their wealth, their class position, their skin colour, and their gender.
Consequently, there are advantaged and disadvantaged groups in society, or, to put this another way, dominant and subordinate groups.
The authors of Media and Society states that three major areas of social division are class, gender, and race, although in some contexts religion, age, sexuality, caste, and education can be equally divisive in ways that are often closely related to these three primary categories.
“Class, race and gender frequently restrict or create opportunities for individuals and groups to flourish and to attain coveted positions in society.
“Since the beginnings of colonial explorations of the rest of the world by Europe in the sixteenth century there have been major differences in wealth between different countries and cultures.
While you might imagine that the world is becoming more economically equal in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the opposite seems to be true, as evidenced by the data from the website of New International Magazine.
“Inequality is on the increase. In 1976 Switzerland was 52 times richer than Mozambique; in 1997 it was 508 times richer. Two hundred and fifty years ago, the richest countries were only five times richer than the poorest, and Europe only twice as rich as China or India (New International, www.newint.org/index4.html).
“The gap between rich and poor is also huge and increasing within Australia, the united kingdom, and the USA. It is estimated that, in Britain in the 1970’s, 7 per cent of the population owned 84 per cent of the wealth; currently, it is estimated that 1 percent owns 50 per cent of the wealth....”
As we witness another so called democracy day, it is important to point out that inequality foisted by the distorted methods of running the departments of government in the three arms of government have made the gap between the 90 million extremely poor citizens from the extremely rich political and governmental elite and their stoves, cronies and bootlickers.
The legislators corner over 10 per cent of the national budget to service their huge recurrent votes just as each of the law makers in the National Assembly corner over N200 million per annum which is 100 times higher than the salaries of President Donald Trump who leads the world’s strongest economy.
Governors corner billions of their State’s fund to their private accounts just as ministers are busy picking up bribes from ghost contractors.
Income inequality in Nigeria is criminal. So the stark realities painted graphically by the aforementioned book are also in high supply in Nigeria.
Now, lets be specific on the issue of the expanding frontiers of inequity and inequality and this brings us to the very issue of the existing polarization introduced in the body polity by the current President in such a way that he handed over the command and control strictures of all the internal security infrastructures to only Hausa/Fulani Moslems.
In fact the persons controlling the intelligence gathering communities locally and international are kinsmen of Muhammadu Buhari. The level of nepotism has never been witnesses in the political annals of Nigeria.
This is why the Fulani cattle owners Association openly threatened violence should their kinsman Muhammadu Buhari not re-elected next year and till now that man who made the threat has not been arrested by their fellow Fulani kinsmen who are in charge of national security under this dispensation.
This glaring inequity and inequality is unconstitutional because it is a direct affront to the very essence of our drive for national integration and the constitutional provisions of federal character principle.
Section 14 (3) of the constitution says: “The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.”
Section 42 (1) (2) states thus: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions; (2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.
Here are the current controllers of strategic national security-Director General of Nigerian State Security Service (DSS) – Alhaji Lawal Musa Daura; the Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) – Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Commandant General of Defence Corps – Abdullahi Muhammadu; Minister of Defence – Dan Ali Mansur; Minister of Interior – Abdulrahman Dambazau; Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service – Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd);Comptroller General, Immigration – Mr. Mohammede Babandede and the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpodum Idris.
The Federal Attorney General Malam Abubakar Malami are all Hausa/Fulani Moslems. The men who controls the largest combat force on land and air are Moslems.
The National Security Adviser is a Moslem and the Chairman of Police Service Commission just appointed is a Moslem. Where is equity?
Where is the Federal Character principle? Where is the democracy?
We are simply fooling ourselves if we believe that what we have now is democracy rather that authoritarianism/totalitarianism and dictatorship that it is.
When will this self-inflicted deception end? We must halt the imminent collapse of democracy.
•Onwubiko is head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
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