Tackling the enemies of Nigeria’s democracy
“The truth about Nigeria ‘s worsening socio-economic and political situation is that we hate to tell ourselves the bitter truth!” -Oyoze Baje (on the State of the Nation, Facebook, November 12, 2022)
Unlike millions of eligible Nigerian voters, who troop out daily to campaign grounds to clap and dance themselves dizzy for those who have brought us collectively to this current sordid, socio-economic and political mess, I am not excited about whatever the outcome of the 2023 general elections will turn out to be. Yes, the mentally mesmerized party supporters might be doing so, some allegedly after collecting some insulting peanuts from their masters’ table, all in the bid to satisfy their vaulting political ambitions but yours truly is not moved a bit. Are you surprised by my self-expressed view?
Before you throw your tantrums, insults and innuendoes at me, you have to read this piece, to understand where exactly my position is coming from. Though I will cast my vote for my preferred candidates as usual, I have my doubts if the elections will give us the dreams and desires of good governance, which concerned Nigerians have been clamouring for, for eons.
As one has often asserted, the current anomalous and dysfunctional political structure we run is anti-people and cannot swing the pendulum of political power in our favour. Never! So, what exactly have I identified as the enemies of Nigeria’s democracy? That is the million-naira question.
Interestingly, on November 4, 2022 I listed them on my Facebook page as reflected here, with the same title: ‘The enemies of Nigeria’s democracy’: These include high costs of accessing political posts, making of fanciful promises by conscienceless political leaders during electioneering campaigns that are not meant to be fulfilled. There is also huge pay package for political appointees, even under the harsh economic situation as we currently experience.
Similarly, other frictional factors against the dictates of democracy listed include the led majority who do not understand that political power belongs to them and not the self-serving and overtly greedy politicians. The type of democracy we practise bring on board political appointees and elected ones who refuse to tell the leaders the truth whenever they do any wrong.
Strange enough, over the past two decades we have had on the pedestal of political power, some self-righteous and chest-beating leaders who never make mistakes and must not be corrected! Worsening these are those who use ethno-religious sentiments to drum support for party candidates, instead of canvassing for mental acuity and meritocracy. In fact, those with the requisite national interest to drive their vision for a better Nigeria forward, but who may not necessarily have the financial muscle to push their ambitions to the political podium are out rightly excluded from the campaigns.
Not done, the other factors that I highlighted are the enemies of political restructuring and fiscal federalism, who refuse to understand that our current bloated federal centre can never move the country forward. Unfortunately, we are bedeviled with leaders who do not understand that education, and quality education delivery remains the bedrock for sustainable economic development.
It is not surprising therefore, that these political leaders always point to the mistakes of their predecessors to wish away their current failures. What a shame because as often echoed: “Great leaders do not give excuses for failure but find the reasons to succeed, against all odds.”
As if all these demons that rattle our democratic space are not enough, we have had in recent years, overtly nepotistic leaders who openly exhibit the affection for their ethnic groups for appointments into plum political positions, at the expense of others! Yet, we have some Nigerian elders who see all these taking place but keep silent, especially in the face of clear injustice.
Sad too is that we have witnessed over the years gross lack of internal party democracy, as well as those who brazenly aid fraudulent elections and yet go Scot-free! Obviously, the younger general who watch this crass culture of impunity go ahead to take such anomaly to their next level. Too bad, for both the polity and the people.
The serious implications of this scary political scenario is that we live and dine with both the leaders and the led majority without the fear of God. It is all about satisfying the self at the expense of the state. It is all about using the Machiavellian tactics for maximum benefit here and now, forgetting that someday they will account for all their misdeeds before our all-powerful creator.
As clearly stated in my write-up, until all these enemies are removed from Nigeria’s anomalous political structure every election becomes a sham!
In response to my list of the enemies of Nigeria’s democracy, some concerned Nigerians expressed their views and concerns. For instance, Sunny Ekebafe stated that: “Even in the face of terribly biting and acutely distressing economic conditions, Nigerians will trudge along as if all is well. We are a special breed honestly”.
On his part, Joseph O. Ododo aptly stated that: “The truth-speaker is, to them, a mugu.. But, hang on, as we move on time axis, the mugus will become the bailers..”. As for Lolu Wright, a long-standing Nigerian pastor who moved from Brazil to Nigeria on a spiritual mission, concerning the Nigerian nation, he stated that: “I do believe that there’s cup of justice and recompense for every human activity and when full, as the darkness of the night must give way to the dawn of the sun’s reign of light, their era of evil will in the end give surrender and way for the reign.”
While Martins Onovo, an Engineer, once the presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party identified the challenge of: “ Some Nigerian journalists who launder the images and iniquitous actions of corrupt politicians.” Benson Chukwudi, another pastor stated that this is a “sad reality, we hope for a thorough change, not fake change of this abusive government.”
And nailing it all as it is, Oroboisa Prince who made this thought-provoking comment: “Nigerians must wake up now to decide their future. Believe me, Nigeria will be destroyed if the politicians continue the way they’re going? Politicians are the worst enemies of this country called Nigeria”.
One of the fundamental flaws of the type of democracy we practice is that many Nigerians were not brought up to believe in the national interest, right from the family level through their educational institutions to their places of work. There is therefore, an urgent need for mass public enlightenment on our civic rights and responsibilities.
Beyond any election is the imperative of critically analysing the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference to determine where we are really heading to, as a country. With the increasing agitations for Biafra, Yoruba Nation and Middle Belt sovereign nations and the refusal to accede to the clamour for political restructuring, we may only be swirling in an arm-chair round and round the cycle of deceit but hardly making national progress.
Methinks we have had enough of self-deceit! The time to act is now.