Struggling To Understand Democracy

by Akintokunbo Adejumo

Our leadership are still struggling to understand democracy as a collective approach in meeting collective needs, such as quality education, jobs, housing, mass transportation system, quality health care services, pensions, etc

You know our country is lawless; and the most lawless are our leaders and those in charge of our resources and infrastructures, etc. Those in charge of everything that should make life better for us are the most lawless, irresponsible, insensitive, conscienceless and unscrupulous. We may never know the answer; they hide their crimes very well; we and our Press and Media don’t dig deep enough, are compromised or afraid to; and so, life, as we know it, goes on.

The masses are happy with their poverty and oppression and think only by praying to God to come down and deal with their oppressors is the answer.

As Black people (remember Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world) we are looked at as different and inferior. We truly appear feeble and inferior both in thinking and in managing our affairs.

We elect known thieves to run our affairs and even kind enough to sympathise with them when they are punished. Former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye took tax payers money to London, it was Ecological Fund for his State. In his luxury hotel suite, he was doling out 50-pound notes to anyone who came. The poor people of Plateau were dying in agony of diseases and poor infrastructure. He was promptly arrested by the British Police and huge sums of foreign currencies seized from him. The smart guy managed to escape back home! Home sweet home, the land of the foolish! Dariye was later rewarded by his people by voting him as a Senator.

When some of them are apprehended overseas and chastised, we welcome them with fanfare. After all it is our money they stole, not theirs. Ibori was celebrated on his return from British jail. He was met by the first citizen of Delta State and others. Our heads of states stash monies in foreign countries and we have to beg for the return when they die.

We knowingly elect leaders that are derelict in character and we go to church and mosques to pray for miracles or even hate our friends or relatives who have made it but can’t help us. We seem to be different.

There is something genuinely wrong with our race. Our mindset is warped. In 2014, our former Finance Minister was begging us to save in case oil prices crash but we quickly rushed to the courts to save us from a woman who didn’t want us to  ‘chop’ the future of our children! Aren’t we the cursed race? Our values are warped.

Last time I was discussing with a close friend, he plainly told me that the system God designed for us in Nigeria is corruption, he said we were better off during the corrupt years and he wanted corruption brought back. The crook who can buy votes wins; we prefer to vote for thieves so long he can pay his way through. Decent hardworking people have no intrinsic worth in our society. Everything is upside down.

Today, we have someone who is not a saint and is probably surrounded not by saints, in fact some of his lieutenants are no saints, however, they have been able to arrest the drift into chaos, they are massively building infrastructures all over the country.

Revamping forgotten national assets and building real growth, empowering farmers and helping indigenous businesses. PDP years hastened or couldn’t prevent the death of Nitel,

Nigerian Airways, NRC, NMT, Oshogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Delta Steel, Aladja; Ajaokuta Steel, Itakpe Iron Ore; National Oil, Dunlop, Nig Textile Mills, Alscon, Bacita Sugar, Tate and Lyle, Ilorin; Iwopin Paper Mill, Jebba Paper Mill, Oku Iboku Paper Mill, Volkswagen, PAN, Kaduna Textile and many more. But you know what? Many Nigerians are still blaming the demise of these industries on the present government.

Buhari fought members of his own party like Bukola Saraki, Rev Jolly Nyame, Senator Joshua Dariye etc, but we don’t want all of that. Osun State is a good example. Osun people are angry that their government spent all the money on infrastructures, building roads, hospitals, schools, etc, they did not accuse Aregbesola of stealing, only that he misplaced his priorities, hence they preferred an unserious person, a dancer! I was actually thinking they would go for an Omisore, but NO, the past 8 years was too serious, they wanted some fun!

We are a different race, the least of all races! The least developed, the enslaved race, the race without the mindset to be great. Though we desire to be great but we are incapable to do what makes other races great. We envy other races who are making progress, but all we can do is look at them with envy.

We are proud to travel there. We pray and fast to live in their countries but we are not able to do what turned their countries around. We love the good life, flashy cars, phones, jets etc but we can’t make any of them. Will the likes of Atiku or Bukola or Ibori be celebrities in America, Europe, China or Asia? NO.

Our courts are too weak to successfully prosecute the super and suspiciously rich Nigerians. Our Judges can’t refuse million-dollar bribes. Though they bribe their ways through the courts, the international communities cannot be fooled. They are watching us.

The White race in Italy has jailed their own son involved in the Malabu Oil fraud in which many Nigerians were named; the Black race nearly crowned our own son King! All hail the Black race.

The way people switch from one political party to another is disturbing and what it means is our politics is based on AGIP – any govt in power!!! Personal interest above all. This is not Politics and is not Democracy. Over 90% of our politicians belong to AGIP; so, it is best to ignore them when they say that they are members of PDP, APC, ANPP etc. Take for example ATIKU a VP under PDP but since he cannot actualise his ambitions, he switched to APC, and when he failed there too, he switched back to PDP

Now, what is the difference in ideology or policies between the top 3 major parties in Nigeria? Nada, Zero! All are interested in sharing monies in ABUJA

Our politicians have no qualms cross carpeting simply because their party manifestoes, if any, are usually very similar. A careful look will reveal that they are basically composed of (after weeding out the rhetoric of course) the same trash: employment, food, roads, education, etc. How they intend to carry out such programs which would form the basis of their ideologies is lamentably lacking.

More than ever, democracy in Nigeria is under siege. It’s a democracy in name only as its practice defy every tenet of the word. It’s even more worrisome as the attack comes from the leaders who are meant to enshrine and strengthen the institution. From open rigging and financial inducements to intimidation and coercion of voters to vote against their will, this is certainly not the dream we have had for our nation.

Another attack comes in the reckless defection of politicians from the political parties through which they were elected to another without relinquishing their offices as stipulated by our electoral laws. Only if the party splits into different factions are elected politicians allowed to keep their offices after defection or what we usually call cross-carpeting.

Nigerians must not remain silent in the face of this institutional assault against this our democracy which some people lost their lives for us to have. Only when we are resolute shall reason prevail against the politicians who have nothing to lose.

The more advanced ideologies, (left wing, right ring, conservatives, liberal, etc) that marks out a politician and give one an idea of his orientation are clearly alien to our young democracy and needs to be developed over time. Until then AGIP will surely continue. . .

The bedrock of any nation’s democratic strength depends on the political ideology of the ruling class (elites). Nigeria’s democratic setting is still young, very corrupt and stagnant. What is needed now are honest people who can get our power, security and anti-corruption institutions working efficiently and effectively. Ideologies on how to advance these institutions will arise as time goes on.

Ideology is the concept in which the political parties are formed (it is the foundation of any political party). It is when the ideals are conceptualised, then the political formation is realised and people will begin to choose where they want to belong.

A school of thought said that ideologies or no ideologies, give the people electricity, security and effective anti-corruption institutions and watch the nation develop at rocket speed. While its developing, all sort of ideologies will now come in to define the direction of these developments, how it will accommodate the people and whether it will help sustain the anticipated development.

Remember we have Labour Party in Nigeria, how many seats do they have in the National Assembly? Majority of Nigerians are workers and belong to Trade Unions, but do not vote for the Labour Party because the LP has no ideology, just the name. They do not sensitise and mobilise the workers as they do in the UK, for example. The labour unions in the UK contribute financially to the UK’s Labour Party and are an intrinsic element of the party. Without the trade unions, the Labour Party in the UK is nothing.

We cannot get the social amenities and good governance if the ideal of the political class is not defined.

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