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Democracy In Nigeria. by BhbHoLLAH (m): 11:15pm on November 10

Democracy is built on the
equality of citizens; the freedom
of these citizens to associate
with one another for the
realization of their ideals and the
defense and promotion of their
interests; and the freedom of
these citizens to choose between
the different political platforms
of various political parties and
candidates, and see to the
actualization of the platforms
they have voted for, if their
choices win.

But in Nigeria,
people have effectively been
disenfranchised by their own
circumstances on the one hand,
and their leaders’ perfidy on the
other. As a result, Nigeria is
approaching a situation where
democracy is being practiced
without democrats and elections
are being conducted with scant
regard for the electorate.

The
ballot is not respected by the
government and the price of
protecting it is too high for the
people to pay; but the bullet,
once universally feared, is now
generally out of fashion.
The biggest blunder of Nigeria’s
ruling class has been its failure
to build strong and stable social
system to provide the kind of
atmosphere that democracy
needs to take root and flourish.


The ruling elite is also guilty of,
as described by Muhammadu
Buhari, ‘deliberately promoting
the social fragmentation that
creates, feeds and reinforces
religious and ethnic identities to
the exclusion of civic and
national identities.

In discussing the linkage between
Identity, Law and Strategy, Philip
Bobbitt submitted that “It is the
self-portrayal of a society that
enables it to know its own
identity. Without this knowledge
a society cannot establish its
rule by law because every system
of laws depends on the
continuity of legitimacy, which is
an attribute of identity.


Furthermore, without such a self-
portrayal, no society can pursue
a rational strategy because it is
the identity of the society that
strategy seeks to promote,
protect and preserve.”
In the light of the above, and
looking at the year 2011 and
beyond in the Nigerian political
parlance, there are several
vigorous challenges which must
be met decisively and effectively
if the polity is to endure.

The
questions of national identity,
national integration, the issues
of the legitimacy of authority and
the transformation of Nigerian
society into a true political
community have still not been
properly and definitively
addressed and a lot will depend
on when and how quickly they
are asked and answered.


There is no blue-print to achieve
resourceful economic
management, broaden
educational opportunity, ensure
food security, reduce absolute
poverty, ensure security of lives
and properties, promote real (not
imagined) economic growth, fight
corruption, provide employment
and equal opportunities.

Instead,
treasuries are effortlessly and
efficiently looted; people
occupying responsible positions
of authority demonstrate such
lack of self control and inability
to work with others as a team.
Nations that assess situations
as they unfolded without
mercantilist intentions, according
to Paul Mamza, do not fall into
self-inflicted fatal accident of
fate like Nigeria. Nigeria is the
only country in the planet earth
that no impossibilities of
contempt exist even in the latent
cusps of absurdities – that is
why, he continued, its citizens
were rated the most happiest in
the entire world and yet the most
corrupt in the universe and the
same reason is responsible for
why the cries of marginalization
and oppression are mere
imitations of a smokescreen.

No
country without the rudiments of
a rule of law like Nigeria would
not be vulnerable to perfidies and
incriminate hostage of power-
mongers.


Why is the Nigerian polity so
over-heated, and yet, it is
apparently resilient? Could the
Nigerian condition make a
quantum transition to a worse
condition, or maybe to a better
reality, or could Nigeria simply
stagnate ad infinitum ? Is there
any need to change the status
quo in contemporary Nigerian
politics? Are the rules of
engagement in Nigerian politics
overdue for drastic changes?
How do we minimize the
resultant entropy in the Nigerian
political system? What are the
most optimal and workable
short-term solutions that can
assure long-term resolution of
Nigeria’s political dysfunction?
At the heart of all these are the
economic vicissitudes which
have pulverized the nation.

After
fifty years of political and
(economic?) independence, our
economy has stagnated and the
present office holders continue to
blame the military for the
country’s woes and hiding
behind the toga of ‘ nascent
democracy’ which has been in
practice for the past thirteen
years. This is about the wellbeing
of the population in the extent to
which the economy successfully
banishes poverty, want,
ignorance and disease. It is,
according to Dr. Mahmud Tukur,
about success in wealth creation,
prosperity for the broad masses
of the people, security of life and
property at home, at work, on the
roads and in social harmony.


However, a closer look at the
performance of the politicians for
the period covered leaves much
to be desired. Billions upon
billions of taxpayers’ money have
continued to be siphoned
through official sleaze.


Corruption has become
pandemic, executive impunity has
become fashionable, and rule of
law is only chanted at official
gatherings without a dint of
intention for its implementation.
Insecurity of lives and properties
has become rampant in the
country, which is a more reason
why we ardently need a viable
polity – that is a Nigeria in
which there is free movement of
people, goods and services and
country in which residency and
participation rights are
guaranteed for all Nigerians
wherever they may choose to live.
This connectivity is important
and has to be appreciated by
elite which has the reputation of
greed and selfishness.


We have been promised
dividends of democracy, only to
end up witnessing unprecedented
looting of the nation’s treasury.
We were promised good roads,
healthcare, electricity supply and
good governance, but Nigerians
are still ‘ suffering and smiling’ as
they travel through the most pot-
holed roads spread across the
country; as for healthcare, the
least said about it the better as
people are on daily basis being
eliminated by common diseases
(such as malaria) which other
nations have since forgotten
about its existence. Electricity
supply is near zero and Nigerians
have become depressingly
hopeless as to when the problem
is going to be addressed.


Another worrisome phenomenon
is the cynicism which most
people have in the integrity of a
number of institutions or
processes and the possibility
that they may not deliver
according to the rules. The most
immediate one is the forthcoming
elections. The Voters’
Registration Exercise has
encountered many technical
challenges and most people are
skeptical on whether their votes
would really count. This is in
addition to the concerns people
are raising about the role of the
security agencies during election.
All these need to be seriously
looked into and appropriate
measures applied to disabuse the
minds of Nigerians on the
government’s good intention of
sanitizing the polity.


Politically we have not been able
to achieve the social goals.

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