A Democratic System of Laissez Faire by Tega Ajise

A great success of any government outside the infrastructures and other things they promise to provide during campaigns to garner votes in elections, is to do everything within its power and might to ensure that, whatever system of government the country has decided to practice at any given time is strictly adhered to in relation to rules and regulations guiding such process.

Nigeria at the moment, through efforts of heroes and martyrs who clamoured and fought for democracy during the military rule which is termed ‘dictatorial’, By the special grace of God Nigeria got the democratic government it wanted in 1999. They say which I agree that change is a process which takes time, one thing also is true, the time depends on how quickly those involved are ready to embark on the journey for change. It will be a failing for us Nigerians to hold fast to the idea that change takes a long time because some nations went through long paths. When the needed tools for the change is before us.

Anyone who denies that the condition which Nigeria has digressed into, I choose not to use digressing because I have great hope in Nigeria, is not a cause for all hands to be on deck and seek for the fastest possible viable, sustainable change must be living a very static life. From my observation calls on the failings of this present government has been a call to strengthen a transparent and sustainable democracy, it beats my imagination when such calls are seen as a tool to damage the image of the government (the true image of the government is the people). This government is a democratic one which we all know is for the people. How can’t this government see the call of the people even if truly sponsored by the opposition as always claimed, as a call? or is the opposition party not made up of Nigerians who should have a say in their fathers land? Or is there a new rule that says the needs of members in an opposition party not in government would not be attended to? we should be very careful about the messages our actions pass.

With the constant trade of blame by the government for its shortcomings, and also absorbing itself from blame thereby relinquishing its responsibilities shows lack of leadership, which is not surprising as in Nigeria we have a lot of ‘people in government’ and not leaders who find themselves in office by whatever means they deem fit which is mostly undemocratic. Calling them leaders is an abuse of the word ‘leadership’. If you think its democratic I ask how can a democratically elected person appoint someone who does not know how or what it takes to serve the people as a commissioner or minister? No wonder they can comfortably disassociate themselves as the providers of solutions of our problems. When a democratic government sees others as the problem why he can’t perform its duties it becomes a big problem to the society. Seeing youths argue that the government should never be held accountable my heart drops for my country. We complain about the older generation but the truth is, this upcoming generation might end up worse if drastic measures is not made to address this belief. Leadership is responsibility, if the youths of today see it as ok that the government should not be held accountable how can they be accountable when they get there?

The only message a government that does not accept responsibility for the problems confronting its people is clear; everyman for himself God for us all. The lackadaisical attitude of this government

concerning its citizens buttress this fact #chibokgirls, and the continuous killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians which up till this moment no set procedure has been put in place to give Nigerians assurance of their safety. Like the government dismissed when the chibok kidnap was reported as propaganda by the opposition, I ask if true as the government assumed, I believe that’s more than enough reason for any right thinking government to act, it’s a crime against those young children to be exploited and used in such a negative light by anyone or group.

With all these it only makes sense to say the type of leadership this government provides is nothing compared to the democracy we hoped for but a presidential system of laissez faire.

May God help us.

#KakandaTemple ~ A Brief History of Democratic Chaos


Fifteen years after Nigeria’s return to democracy, the leadership challenges, which were the demerits of the regimes of the soldiers before it, have only become worse. Contrary to the excuse that ours is still “nascent democracy”, a self-deception promoted by the optimists infatuated with the country despite its bad political mannerisms, fifteen years are long enough for the transformation of a nation. But, instead of allying to form a powerful army of reasons against the ruling elite, we allow ourselves to be turned into an uncritical majority still lounging to understand what democracy, a system that has been exhaustively developed by our mentors in the West, really is!

When General Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired soldier and former military president already in his sixties, was elected in 1999, Nigerians were not impressed. And they had their reasons. They were tired of the old faces, especially from the same establishment that had turned the fortunes of the nation upside down. The President of their choice had to be of this specification: civilian with no record of involvements in the affairs of the soldiers, young in the biology of Nigerian politics and, very importantly, educated! – and they were specifically interested in a citizen not educated at the Nigerian Defence Academy, the laboratory of the monstrous leaders who had disabled the vital organs of the country.

On losing his fight to stay beyond constitutionally approved terms – old habits hardly die, you know – General Obasanjo heeded the citizens’ demands for a Nigerian who was educated, a proper graduate, and young. The result was 55-year-old graduate of Chemistry/Education, with a master’s in Analytical Chemistry: Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua. No, he didn’t turn the State House into a science laboratory, and it was not his will that the State House only became his hospital and the Seat of Power his passage way unto the world beyond. But that was not what really disturbed the sentimental Nigerians. They said, though Yar’adua was truly young and educated, he was an aje-bota (sadly there’s a certain stigma in being from a wealthy family, privileged), and he’s from the Hausa-Fulani ruling class (the theory has always been that the Hausa-Fulani, a misnomer for the northern elite, exhibits a despicable born-to-rule mentality in their yearnings for political powers).

The sentiments against Yar’adua, quite unsurprisingly, favoured his deputy, a southerner from the hypothetically marginalised minority and oil-producing region, who, during his campaign for the Office of the President after the passing of his principal, told the electorate who had also celebrated his credentials as a Ph.D. that he had no shoes growing up. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is the product of our accumulated sentiments over these years of mis-governance: non-soldier, non-ajebota, non-northerner, non-Hausa-Fulani, non-aristocrat, non-privileged… Goodluck Jonathan.

Under this “ajepako graduate from the minority”, awaiting the promised Transformation Agenda, which he promised to deliver as part of his fabled Fresh Air of change, we all graduated into worse level of predicaments in which we’ve realised, the hard way, that he’s no doubt a certified scholar of cluelessness, one unfit to serve, even in his area of expertise, as a zoo keeper. Sure, I’m a witness to his failing. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that while his predecessor, a chemist, turned the State House into drug-consuming chamber, he, a zoologist, has turned the country into an animal kingdom where a certain Abubakar Shekau had declared a “fringe” of the country independent of the government of the federal republic of Nigeria – and even proved this psychobabble as a fact by chasing 480(!) armed soldiers out of the territory of Nigeria, into Cameroon!

When individual merits are played down by sentimental voters, prepare for such depressing realities. But the sad thing is, our political education is so poor that President Jonathan is only seen as a variable of the “federal character” by the sentimental bunch, not as the testifiably failed leader he is. We have clearly completed a 360-degree turn in this experiment in choice of leaders from the lens of ethno-religious and regional sentiments, but that lessons have been learnt is not quite confirmed yet.

I understand that some Nigerians, including close friends, who voted for this President based on the sentiments that a man from the minority ethnic group, and from a region that is “our breadwinner” needed to be in power, have regretted the very act. What they haven’t really understood is that Nigeria has never, at any time and occasion, functioned without the participation of members of all ethnic groups and religions and regions in the ruins. What they haven’t acknowledged is the complexity of this country, and that Goodluck Jonathan was not the first representative of the minority ethnic groups in government. Yes, because even the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, was from the minority ethnic group in Bauchi State. General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian, who was head of state for nine years, in the years the young Goodluck Jonathan had no shoes, is also from the minority. The last time I checked even General Sani Abacha was Kanuri. The identities of Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalam Abubakar, both of Niger State, have always been elusive, never really approved as members of the “actual” Hausa-Fulani!

Our obsessions with sentiments have dispossessed us of ordinary ability to realise that the underdevelopment of Nigeria is a collective sin of a socio-political class in which privileged members of every religion, ethnicity and region are represented, and thus the rant that the maladministration of a particular government was the fault of a specific ethnic group should actually be aimed at all members of the ruling elite involved.

We must regain our application of reasons in the time of moral conflict if indeed we’re interested in ending this 15-year-old experiment in flawed democratic choices. In a sane country, a government that couldn’t rescue over 200 of its citizens in captivity won’t even have the moral courage to face its citizens, let along make an attempt to seek re-election. It would only complete its tenure with sincere apology to the actually and conditionally bereaved parents of the forsaken citizens it took an oath to protect!

So, as 2015 approaches, the question still remains: what and who do Nigerians really want? A Muslim, Christian, Hausa, Igbo, Nupe or a politically awakened Nigerian? Whoever aspires to change this country has to be really courageous, and let him come prepared that he may not be re-elected, for this country doesn’t “deserve” good men. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda on Twitter