Nigeria as a democratic state has been a huge subject of bickering. How much more Nigeria as a stable democratic state? To a large extent, the country expresses elements that can be succinctly juxtaposed with other democracies, such as; U.S.A and The Great Britain. Knowing fully well that, elections are conducted periodically by the people, and for them, freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed; if the rants of twitter-users on the follies of the government were anything to go by. But how deeply embedded is our democracy into our skin? Or is it just a front for surface value? I believe it is.
Abraham Lincoln’s submission in respect to the concept of democracy as; government of the people, by the people and for the people has become a regular mantra for the educated and aggravated folks, but do these yardsticks measure up to the democracy that manifest in Nigeria today?
A government of the people will not order its armed forces to brutalize them. The military’s task is to defend the territorial sovereignty of the country, and yet, there are cases of the government, turned the karky-men to element in inflicting terror on the proletariats that should be defended and protected. Cases of police brutality which are not infinitesimal, resulting in mass mortality which have become so normalized that people rarely bat their eyelids when informed.
A government by the people is a fallacy if the people’s opinions are not expressed and when expressed is not effectual, especially in the course of the electoral processes. It is one thing to organize elections, it is yet another for these elections to be exercised freely and fairly with a modest success, leaving out iota of electoral malpractices, corruption and bribery cum deceit. And if the political culture of a people have turned indifferent towards electoral activities and active participation, then it is safe to assume that, most if not all elections conducted at differing levels are falsified, and just like the Afro-legend once said; Na arrangement for the underground system. And the people have this been disenchanted by the electoral process because they believe that, whoever holds the bulk would rule, regardless of their opinions at the polls.
A government for the people would invest in the development of its citizenry in all areas of life, as well as, in the improvement of their lives. But could we assertively submit that, the Nigerian government invests in the country? Instead, it appears as though the government invest more in their own personal structures. Countless cases of government officials embezzling money meant for the development of their areas of duty as the new order. Elephantic and Goliathic sums of money get pumped into anonymous bank accounts, while the common men who are left to starve and struggle for the small piece of national cake that is left in the plate.
Democracy in a federal state should exhibit the principle of federal character. Which is to say that, the differing units of the federal conglomerate should be appropriately represented in governmental seats. Yet, when the current regime assumed power in 2015, a massive number of positions were allotted to the Northern folks. In a heterogeneous configuration of diverse ethnic nationalities, the current administration has expressed acute misrepresentation formation, hence, the justification for the conclusion that, Nigeria is greatly far from being referred to as a democratic state.
How about the fact that, some ethnic nationalities have not produced a Nigerian president and may not until the Man of Galilee returns again.
We need to re-fill our ink for now.
Treasure Obasi and Adewale Onagbesan write from University of Lagos, Akoka.
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