Democracy in trouble
The fact that democracy is the most vibrant and progressive system of governance in today`s global politics is indisputable. Little wonder why our nationalist and political leaders toiled day and night to ensure its sustenance since the attainment of independence in 1960. Unfortunately, due to mismanagement, the polity was plunged into crises which consequently gave birth to military intervention in 1966. Thence, the country experienced unstable democratic rule until 1999 when the present disposition was installed after much resilience and unquantifiable human and material sacrifices. Since 1999 to date, the country has witnessed over 19 years of uninterrupted democratic governance. This feat was made possible by the show of understanding by the citizenry which unpopularised the politics of tribal and religious bigotry. Though, some unpatriotic elements still showed signs of unrepentance and carelessness intermittently, our highly reformed and professional military hierarchy remained resolute and ignored those acts that were hitherto capitalised on to taking over power in the past.
Today, it is unfortunate and saddening that some agents of destructions are bent on scuttling our nascent democracy judging from the series of unabated killings that have been ongoing in some parts of the country on the one hand; and, the unguided political maneuvering springing up on weekly basis. These strange happenings are undoubtedly capable of bringing a total collapse of the entity called Nigeria. The devil that caused disaffection and misunderstanding among our politicians in the past is gradually manifesting its dangerous traits amongst our so called leaders of today.
In the recent past, there have been incidents of the invasion of the Senate and the carting away of the mace (the symbol of authority) by some persons suspected to be sponsored by certain politicians; this was closely followed by the allegations of audacious and open vote buying at polling centres in Ekiti and, most recently, the laying of siege by yet to be identified security personnel at the residences of the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President which was capped by the blockage of the Entrance of the National Assembly by hooded security operatives in the penultimate week. Though, the head of a security agency was relieved of his position in connection with one of the incidents; nothing has been heard about the perpetrators of the other incidents and this should arouse the concerns of well meaning Nigerians and the international communities. Undoubtedly, those unscrupulous acts have portrayed the government as one that is not capable of upholding the tenets of democratic system of governance and by extension, not responsive to the plight of the citizens
Interestingly, before the last incident, there have been unverified reports trending in some quarters about financial inducements in millions of dollars to some law makers to effect the removal of some leaders of the National Assembly. Presently, the National leadership of the Ruling Party is insisting that the Senate President must be removed albeit `democratically`. Thus, if truly, the intention is to carry out the impeachment `democratically` as claimed despite the obvious numerical infeasibility (that is 2/3 of the members of the Senate as required by the constitution); then, it is a tacit confirmation of the allegation to `buy the conscience and votes of some senators` with tax payers money. If that be the case, what will then be the justification for harassing and intimidating those alleged to have diverted security funds for the execution of the 2015 elections? In fact, if such act is found to be true about a government whose focal point and cardinal objective is waging war against corruption; then it will be a `formal legitimisation of the acts of corruption on a higher scale.`
From the aforementioned, it is very clear that our leaders and politicians are pursuing selfish and inordinate ambitions; if not, what is the rationale behind this campaign of taking the position of Senate President from the present occupier by force? He was elected into office; and, if he must be removed, the extant provisions must be followed. So, why not follow the law rather than trying to turn the country upside down? Is it sacrosanct that the Senate President must be a member of the ruling party? If not, it is high time we call the proponents of `Take it by Force` to allow common sense and the law to prevail. We cannot afford to throw the country into a state of uncertainty or civil war by our egoistical approaches to governance.
If we plunge the country into crises and anarchy, there will be no political parties in place, talk less of which one is `ruling` and which other ones are in `opposition.` If the earlier mentioned incidents can happen in our country without conviction of culprits to date, it means that any unthinkable criminality can be perpetrated to scuttle our democracy without any resistance. If we support the removal of the Senate President in a `commando style` today; what will be our position if the President of Nigeria is also removed in like manner in the nearest future?. Why must we drag the nation back to yesteryears where political instability was the order of the day?
The country is at the moment facing serious challenges that require all hands to be on deck to finding amicable lasting solutions. The change of leadership of the senate with barely six months to general elections is `not a pressing issue` in all ramifications except for the satisfaction of inordinate selfish interests.
Ironically and unfortunately, our erudite scholars, self acclaimed political strategists and leaders of thoughts, highly educated, well informed and privileged citizens have suddenly gone on holidays. They have turned blind eyes and deaf ears to happenings in the society because they are not bold enough to `say it as it is.`
It is also surprising that the press is relatively quiet and not hitting the roof tops to forewarn our politicians from embarking on this journey of retrogression. It is however, not surprising that our youths are bombarding the social media as usual with sentimental supports for their political parties` affiliations rather than patriotic considerations.
As a patriotic citizen, it will be foolhardy for me to support illegality on the basis of sentiments against the doctrine of good governance as enshrined in the principles of democracy. Consequently, I wish to call on well meaning Nigerians to come together and call the proponents of ‘Take it by force` to order before they plunge the country into a mess.
I am also using this medium to call on the international community to liaise with our leaders with the aim of doing the needful and saving our democracy.
Oise-Oghaede is public policy analyst, wrote from Surulere, Lagos.
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