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Nigeria’s democracy and clouds of uncertainty

By Matthew Ozah
15 August 2018   |   3:41 am
A common way to describe Nigeria’s democracy is to liken it to a gilded tea-cup made for a specific type of people. Hence, Nigeria’s political elite usually see themselves as special breed, who are larger-than-life and most often above the law. They need no introduction in the public sphere as their ego and brocade dress…

President Buhari

A common way to describe Nigeria’s democracy is to liken it to a gilded tea-cup made for a specific type of people.

Hence, Nigeria’s political elite usually see themselves as special breed, who are larger-than-life and most often above the law.

They need no introduction in the public sphere as their ego and brocade dress speaks volume of them.

The political class is witnessing a cycle of twisting events in its chequered history that is embedded in nepotism, poor performance and washing of dirty “political” linen in public.

This ugly incidence associated with Nigeria’s politics has made it to look loathsome to the eye, hateful in practice, harmful to the players and dangerous to the people it ought to serve.

The uncontrollable indignation among politicians could be signaled as reason behind the defections and impeachment saga across the country.

However, the APC’s case is particularly evident that all these while, the ruling party has been struggling to hold the party in one piece despite acrimony.

Of those zealots who have defected, what gain does the nation derive from such act and what prospect for democracy?

The mix of helplessness, fear and selfish interest is obvious which is why politicians chose to embrace defection or impeachment as the best way to settle internal disagreement.

Such egoistic actions will bring more harm than good to the country’s democracy.

The thread connecting these ugly incidents is not farfetched. In politics, trust and integrity are particularly hard to achieve when corruption is staring at you.

Clinging on the above, among other irregularities in government, the APC assured Nigerians that things would be done differently to improve the nation’s economy as well as human lives.

But, instead of honouring their promises for the nation to catch-up with the global trend in development and provide basic human needs, the APC government has enmeshed itself with personal interest.

Over the years, the scramble for power and self aggrandizement has exposed politicians to tricks and comic acts to win public sympathy.

A case in point is Governor Ayo Fayose’s neck breaking episode few days to Ekiti’s governorship election where he wept like a baby in public.

Also, Senator Dino Melaye’s “freedom jump” from a police van in Abuja to evade being forced to Kogi State.

Dino’s recent epic escape from his abductors on his way to Kogi State from Abuja is a good story line for Nollywood producers and a cracker for law enforcement agents.

Adams Oshiomhole categorises such acts as comedy and reducing governance to Nollywood. I shall return to this.

However, such conduct has made Nigeria’s democracy famous for being the type that achieves no meaningful progress at the end of every dispensation.

Should politician’s words be judged as harshly as their action, none among them will be free of guilt.

Therefore, the insensitive remark by Adams Oshiomhole, the other day, that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, three days after his defection to PDP is responsible for the killings in the state is not only disturbing but disgraceful.

Let’s hear Oshiomhole: “Governor Ortom played up the ethnic dimension of criminality whereas in truth, some of those who have been killed were killed not by Muslims, they were killed by Christians of Benue State origin, including those he has employed…” Such unguarded statement could set the nation on fire.

It is disheartening for such remark to come from APC’s chairman who pledged to not only unite aggrieved members of the party but to work for the peace and progress of the country.

However, it is particularly shameful that the ruling party’s chieftain is entangled in ‘hate speech,’ a menace his party is vehemently campaigning against.

This is not project fear. But to be candid, a hot summer is just beginning in Nigeria’s politics.

The disappointment, betrayal and defections are not yet over.

Although, one of APC’s “record-breaking” loquacious Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State assured Nigerians that nobody would defect from the party again.

It is, indeed, a shame that, the hubris of the APC’s personalities is constantly highlighting the failure of the Buhari’s administration and depicting Nigeria as negative example in its democratic system.

If one may ask: “How much is desired from the game of politics with two possible interpretations: willingness to serve the people and financial gains?

It is hard to find a political party that has a coterie of like-minds devoid of corruption, committed to serve and portends an aggressive desire to nation building.

Nigeria’s politicians feel comfortable to continuously put the masses in pigeonhole in order not to have a viable opposition.

Economic indices reveal that Nigerians are living on extreme poverty.

Yet, the Buhari’s administration keeps reminding the public that the nation’s economy is booming?

If true, then, the wealth is not widely shared or distributed to make the people feel the impact of the claim.

Therefore, the APC government seems to be reading the back of its manifesto instead of the content to accomplish its promises and clearly interpret achievements through the lives and conditions of Nigerians.

One, pertinent question that is begging for answer: What do politicians want Nigeria to become with all the hullabaloo?

This is because politics is not just about the politicians: It is about representing the people in concrete economic and social interest. Politicians must put the country first in all endeavours.

Despite the lingering defection crises that seem to be eating up the fabric of the ruling party, the party’s faithful are unperturbed.

They wave it off as bad eggs leaving the party. Even President Buhari remarked that the defections will not cause him to lose sleep.

But, one is marveled about his sudden medical trip few days after the “volcanic” defections of Saraki among other bigwigs from the APC.

Indeed, the political scar of the defection crisis and impeachment saga will take longer time to heal.

Nigeria is not alone in suffering a crisis in the governance of representative democracy.

However, it is disheartening to note that, over the years the script politicians act seems to have been figured out for eons by our colonial masters.

From the first republic to present, Nigeria’s democracy has been engulfed in rancour among politicians, which has blinded them to arrive at collective judgment in deciding a better future for Nigerians.

Currently, agitation to restructure the country is marinated in despair.

Most people believe that restructuring will lead the nation to suicide. Others see the agitators as enemies of progress.

It is hard to look at Nigeria’s politics these days without worrying that this country is in decline.

This is because the nation’s wealth is like manna from Heaven for the political elite.

Huge sum of money disappears annually through elephant projects and padding in the budget into politician’s pockets.

Desperately, Nigeria needs reforms in order to put an end to corruption and shape things in proper perspective.

The next generations made up of young people are skeptical about the future.

Their discomfort and anguish is the hallmark of greener pasture search abroad.

It is not enough for politicians to cross-carpet or impeach members because it will not help the masses, neither will it improve the nation’s economy. What Nigerians need is good governance now more than ever.