Democracy does not begin and end on election day. Democracy is not periodic-episodic actions. Democracy and elections have consequences. Democracy in Nigeria must not mean motions without movement.
Democracy must have bearing upon and must have positive impact on public policies. Due Process and The Rule of Law are key elements which forms the essential core democracies. Democratic process must promote and advance, due process and the rule of law
Nigeria in the 51st year post political independence operates a parlous national economy, in which steady electricity is still a promise, a dream and a fantasy. Nigeria after 50 years of flag independence from Britain is still in fits and starts. Nigeria is still a nation in which the majority cannot enjoy clean water supply. Too many Nigerians still die from avoidable, preventable and curable diseases, including malaria
Nigeria remains a nation in which public officials, private sector operators and sundry members of the richest one percent, must travel abroad for basic medical care, even as Nigerian hospitals and health-care systems are under-staffed, under equipped and under-funded. Resources are misallocated and mismanaged
Nigeria, after 50 of cessation of colonial rule by Britain, Nigeria remains unwilling to ensure the safety and security of persons and properties within our borders Democracy in Nigeria should confer meaningful benefits or rewards to our citizens. Political apathy arises when a plurality of citizens believe that they have been taken for granted and that improvements would not come, regardless of citizens’ efforts and actions
Nigeria’s judiciary, which ought to be the last hope of the average citizen is mired in scandals. The Nigerian Judiciary, the third most important arm of our democratic government, is currently bedeviled by allegations and counter accusations of perversions of justice. These allegations are being traded by and between the highest echelons of the Nigerian Judiciary.
It is now an open secret that Justice Isa Ayo Salami, the President of Nigeria Court of Appeals have pointedly accused Justice Aloysicious Katsina Alu, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, of inappropriate, unethical and illegal contact with the former, with a view to affecting the outcome of a gubernatorial or governorship petition from Sokoto state which was pending before Justice Salami’s Court of Appeals
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alu and Justice Salami have since then engaged in public spat, including a law suit filed and then withdrawn, as well as a series of administrative queries emanating from and originated by, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and directed at the President of the Court of Appeal. All these run counter and are inconsistent with the standard of utmost integrity, good faith, trust and decorum, for which the legal profession is known, particularly at such apex levels of the CJN and PCA respectively.
Smack in the middle of this house, Nigeria, so divided against herself, or put alternatively, Nigeria, our home is metaphorically, figuratively and literally on fire, while the presidential candidates and their political parties prefer to engage in window-dressing, and electioneering farce, in which the candidates and their various political parties appear to have zoned various offices to themselves and their political parties. And as a consequence, there are no Issues Driven Debates.
There no electioneering campaigns in the true sense of the term. The candidates, the aspirants, the flag bearers and their various political parties are merely talking over the heads of the Nigerian electorate, the Nigerian public and press. The political actors remain splendidly uninterested in debate of public policies and sundry national challenges, whereby various candidates and their political parties may stake their position on national issues ranging from the economy, national science and technology policy and innovation, including the fate of our national currency which have been over devalued since 1986
It is public knowledge and even trite, to restate the obvious regarding the neglected and decrepit state of our health-care system which is exemplified by the fact that our former president, the late Umaru YarAdua was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia for 93 days for medical treatment. Why did this monumental embarrassment occur? The laughable idea that our president, the symbol of our nation, national security and all, have to seek surgery and dialysis outside Nigeria? Many a Nigerian politician, private sector operator and or public figure, now as matter of course, resort to seeking medical treatment or care outside the shores of Nigeria as Chief Odumegu Ojukwu is currently doing in Britain
Oba of Benin admonished the Federal Government of Nigeria as reported by Nigerian newspapers on Saturday February 26, 2011. The Oba was angered and expressed his displeasure of the abandonment, neglect and unwarranted delays to a major highway, expressway which links Lagos to Benin, South -South and South East. The Oba who was visited by the Works Minister of State, expressed public displeasure at failure by the federal government regarding the Lagos-Benin-Ore highway. This major roadway and artery, has since become a national burden and a drain. A burden on all travelers for commerce or pleasure. The ineffectiveness, the inefficiency and ineptitude regarding Lagos-Benin-Ore highway, certainly cannot be a demonstration of problem -solving acumen on the part of the current central government.
Nigerians know that Nigeria is no longer under a totalitarian and despotic military dictatorship or tyranny
Nigerians at home and abroad are keenly aware that peaceful transfer of civilian to civilian political power have transpired in Nigeria relatively peacefully during the preceding several years, particularly, since 2007. The world knows therefore, that Nigeria is not identical to or with the one man dictatorships in Tunisia or Egypt or Libya which have existed for decades, two, three and four decades respectively. Even so, the point must be made that true democracy is a yet to take roots in Nigeria. Due Process and The Rule of Law are yet to be second-nature to political and private sector operator. Democratic structures are taking roots, but we cannot as yet, with a straight face, say that there is true and institutionalized democracy in Nigeria. We do have democracy, which remains extremely imperfect, and a work in progress.
There is high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, including high rate of unemployment among the college educated segment of our population, including some with advanced university degrees! There is heightening state of insecurity, including kidnapping and sundry antisocial behaviors traceable and correlative with the Nigerian national economy comatose state for far too long now.
Nigeria continue to fund the education and agriculture sectors most inadequately. There are glaring and repeated cases of misallocation and mismanagement of national resources. A majority of Nigerian citizens continue to wallow in abject poverty and in most squalid of human conditions. Why should Nigerians endure terrible suffering, hardship and desperation in the face Nigeria’s abundance in human and material resources? And yet, the current political class are unable to articulate public policy position, policies and programs which they will bring about to address and redress our national issues, national concerns and sundry national challenges?
This is after all an election season, why then are the presidential candidates not marketing themselves, canvassing or begging convincingly for votes and asking the electorate in forthright requests for support from voters? Why are the absence or paucity of manifestos and ideology and Issued Driven Debates
Why are the opposition political parties not variously comparing and contrasting themselves, individually and separately, with the current political party which controls the central or federal government, issue by issue, policy by policy and letting the press and public, the electorate know their public policy stance in comparison with the current federal government? Such contradistinctions, by the various candidates and their political parties, well articulated, will provide the predicate for a free and fair, credible elections outcome, free of rancor, irregularities or frauds which usually elicit violent resistance from political opponents.
It is sadly the case, that the current crop of Nigeria’s political leadership, are not deploying essential machinery and tools of democracy through meaningful interactions with the press, public and particularly the Nigerian electorate. There currently no vibrant and vigorous electioneering campaigns which are motivated by Nigerian National Issues. The various political parties and their numerous candidates are merely coasting toward the general elections in April 2011. Nigerians and Nigeria are therefore, in essence, sleepwalking towards an election impasse, and election stalemate and an election deadlock. We must wake up. We must cease and desist from sleepwalking towards the precipice of disaster and fulfilling prophecies of anarchy and disintegration foretold
Retired General Muhamadu Buhari believes that the continuing abject poverty which have been endured for too long by a plurality of Nigerians and the egregious neglect by the current crop of Nigeria political elite to even pretend to address these dire circumstances could be where fertilizer meet fertile ground in what would be Nigeria’s version of political revolution, revolt and upheaval similar to what the world is witnessing, including the political situation which began in Tunisia, then rolled through Egypt and it is now lingering in Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and probably Saudi Arabia the bastion of theocracy and impervious to economic and political changes and reforms
The Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria, along with many others, are right in their accurate assessment of the human condition which currently permeates and pervades Nigeria. Governor Sanusi and others are right in adding and raising their voices to address dire and precarious situation in Nigeria, situations which afflict the majority of Nigerian citizens. A responsive government and or a political system would measure the public pulse respond or seek to create ameliorative responses.
The Nigerian political class in power and the opposition parties and their candidates are identical in their lack of ideology. They are identical in ways in which they are arrogantly taking the public and the electorate for granted. The candidates and their political parties have created an art form out of their notorious contempt, utter contempt for the voter. The voters are contemptuously discounted from the process!
The candidates and their various political parties seem to so presumptuously ready to discuss self-assured predictable elections outcomes without suasion of the voting public. There are plenty talks which matter-of-fact conclusive outcomes for election which are yet to be had in April. The Nigerian political class are now behaving as if they outcomes are forgone conclusions, so for them, there is no need to haggle with the voters about ideology and social contract? No need to canvass duty, obligation, responsibility? No need for call and response or push and pull of true democratic process?
Nigeria is a democracy, a pseudo and imperfect democracy perhaps. Nigeria is certainly not a military dictatorship in the modes of Egypt pre, during and post Hosni Mubarak. Nigeria is not Libya in which Moammar Kaddafi a military dictator has held sway for four decades, but, the abject poverty, the suffering and desperation in the midst of bountiful abundance and plenty; the fact of thirst in the midst of the ocean of plentiful; it is in these realms in which Nigeria is same, similar, identical and worse than Tunisia, Egypt and Libya put together.
There are steady generation and transmission of electricity in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya compared to Nigeria. There are social safety nets in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya quite unlike Nigeria. And currently, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain etc, have peremptorily, increased allowances palliatives and extended social safety nets to their citizens in efforts to placate and mollify. Nigerians have no such luck emanating from our self-absorbed, self-interested, constipated and complacent inept crass political class
Too many in the present Nigerian political class are too distant and too oblivious of the hassles, the sufferings, the hardships which have induced and inflicted extreme desperation Nigerians across the spectrum and nationwide. Nigeria is ripe and ready for a revolution. In view of loots, pillage, plunder and impunity which have occurred in past several years and the failure to tackle these public scourges, it is utter provocation in the most wanton of ways, for many, within the current Nigerian political class, to continue to arrogantly insist that Nigeria is not amenable to citizens’ revolts.
The preconditions for revolution is have been met and the conditions are actually worsening as none of the candidates and their parties are addressing citizens’ legitimate and reasonable concerns, such as safety and security, unemployment, Naira value, state of public infrastructure, national unity in diversity without relegation and marginalization of individuals and groups etc
The human condition in Nigeria is dire, terrible and desperate and the political leadership live in a fool’s paradise, with their heads buried in the sands, so much so, that they won’t even know what hit them as they are consumed by a probable revolution, an uprising, or a revolt by the long-suffering citizens of Nigeria.