naija democracyIt is the most talked about phrase in Nigeria – the 2011 elections. As much as it has cost us in terms of cash – we needed almost $600,000,000.00 to get started with the elections- it will cost Nigerians even more if the 2011 elections are not made to count.
That those elected into various political offices have failed the people has ceased to be the question, the question is, is our democracy democratic enough to allow the people flush them out of office? The political class have generally abused the power supposedly entrusted to them by the people- supposedly because we can not deny the fact that a lot of them are beneficiaries of stolen mandates. The courts could not have fished them all out considering the unprecedented rigging supervised by the legendary Maurice Iwu.
The best safeguard against the abuse of political office is that those in office can get to be removed through elections and other democratic processes. If ours was a truly free democratic society, a handful of those clamouring for political positions should be cooling off in jail by now. How you do explain the audacity of madness as expressed by old men who should know better than to come back to seek for the votes of the same people they robbed for years without mercy? They want to benefit from the same democracy they cut short before it had the opportunity to sprout. That democracy promised much through a free and fair election but Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida cut it short. He now says it was a collective decision of several cohorts. Funny isn’t? In the unintelligently and hurriedly packaged documentary of his government, he was quick to say he built the longest bridge over water in 1999 without being careful to say that that was a joint effort, but when it came to the bridge of disaster that set our democracy to a state of start and stop, he claims collective responsibility.
If Nigerians are truly free, there is no better time to show it than now. Democracy in its essence promotes the interest of the people but ours has been far from that. Nigeria’s democracy simply promotes the interest of those in power. We must seek
an end to that anomaly. Elections give the people the opportunity to replace non-
performing politicians and indeed political parties. If the greater number of our people are suffering and are in penury, it simply means our democracy is a sham and/or those in power have failed. Take a look around and all you see is rust and rot. Where have all the trillions of naira gone – all the monies from oil sales, taxes, foreign reserves, recovered loots and all? We can set up a million and one EFCCs but as long as we don’t have a system in place to check corruption before it is carried out, we deceive ourselves about preventing it. Rather than prevent corruption we are trying to fight it. What you fight gains more strength over time.
Our people have been told to vote and defend their votes. Good! But not so good! It should be about setting up a free and fair election process. If all the followers of the different political parties come out to defend their votes, what you will get is mayhem. For how long will we do things like this is not the same 21st century as it is in Europe, North America and even India. If the government cannot be trusted to organise free and fair elections, then we should question the legitimacy of that government in the first place. Our laws and institutions allow for too many loopholes in our electoral process. Ten out of ten times, it will always be wrong for a fellow competitor to choose the arbiter. It is only human – by this I don’t mean some sort of weakness- to choose someone whom I believe has at least some soft spot for me if I am to contest for the most important office in the land. So then Goodluck Jonathan is a saint? What about those whose political relevancy and indeed means of livelihood depend on him being president. By the way, Jonathan has not done or said enough to even be considered good enough. The issue is, we are so low on values that we get carried away by little signs of activity by new governments. Nigerians –we deserve far more believe me.
Nigeria will be 50 years in October but our history suggests we should take a look at our nation and right the myriads of wrongs of the past. People have been hurt by the failures of the past and whether or not we admit it, the lot of Nigerians have nothing to show for half a century of nationhood. Who would blame the politicians, it is another opportunity to get the knives out, another elephant goes down in form of billions of naira for what would be the world’s most stupid party.
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