The Verdict Is In

by Dr. Wunmi Akintide

The British electorate ought to take pride in what they have just done in proving to the world, one more time too many, that the United Kingdom still leads the world in forcefully projecting the ideals and the universal appeal of Democracy around the world, and why that system is absolutely superior to Communism, Totalitarianism and Dictatorship or any other form of Government the world has known. Such a verdict ought to be coming out of the world’s strongest nation and the Leader of the Free World. But unfortunately, that has not been the case, with George Bush as President.

Tiny Britain which used to rule the waves as they say, may no longer rule the waves today, but it surely rules the whole world on how Democracy ought to be practiced. Why am I saying this? I am saying it, because there are now too many versions of Democracy we observe around the world led by political leaders of different backgrounds and values like Vladmir Putin in Russia, like Obasanjo in Nigeria, like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and even George W. Bush to mention just a few. Some country has to lead the way in showing the world the real deal. You may or may not agree with my analysis. The results of yesterday’s election in Britain tells me loud and clear that country is Great Britain for sure.

I dare suggest that the bloody nose given the young, intelligent and charismatic British Prime Minister who has just been elected into a historical third term, as the first Labor Politician to do that in years, is as much a bloody nose to the leader of the only super power and the very leader of the Free World in my judgment. If you put in perspectives how the unwritten rules of Democracy are being undermined and truncated by the majority Party in the United States and in countries like Nigeria and else where in the third world in particular, you have to really wonder, like I do, quite often, as I reflect on contemporary events around the world and American leadership of it in today’s climate and environment.

The world cannot, but applaud what the British electorates have just done by showing us how Democracy ought to work. Exactly a month ago I predicted the outcome of the British elections in my article titled “Tony Blair wins again” posted by many web sites on the Internet and in magazines around the world. I was able to do that, and much of what I predicted have all come to pass, going by the election results in Britain today. Even though Tony Blair has been offered a Pyrrhic victory, so to speak, his labor Party, I dare say, still has a mandate to govern, and that is what counts in a Democracy.

Yes some pundits are right to start describing Tony Blair as a lame duck from now on, and it is quite conceivable that Tony may not remain the leader of the Party and Prime Minister much longer than earlier on envisaged, because British politicians are a lot more polished than their American counterparts. They really do listen to what the voters are saying and would respond accordingly without putting a gun to their head. Tony Blair becoming a lame duck is, in my opinion, a welcome change. Their landslide victory in the previous election is not all that kosher for Democracy, if you ask me. The Labor Party needs to reassess and to re-examine their policies and to make necessary changes, wherever needed, in the best interest of the country. It is a lesson that Tony Blair and whoever will be Prime Minister after him must not fail to take to heart.

I agree that there would be some pressure on Tony Blair to throw in the towel as Prime Minister sooner than stipulated by the unwritten British Constitution. Many labor parliamentarians who have lost their seats in the last Election might show their resentment to the Prime Minister by rallying round the more popular George Brown the Chancellor of the Exchequer whose resilient management of the Economy in the name of the Labor Party has been acknowledged by the British Electorates in the way they have voted yesterday. Yes, the Labor Party did lose a number of seats in important swing districts, but they did win enough to remain in power.

The real lesson to learn from the British verdict is the powerful message it sends to the world about the efficacy of Democracy. First of all, that Democracy is better served by plurality of ideas symbolized by a powerful and well organized Opposition to constantly put the ruling Party on notice, there is an alternative Party waiting in the Wings to take over from the Ruling Party, if it fumbles. That I think is good news for the world and for the validity of Democracy as a system of Government. The British electorates are saying “no” to the kind of situation we have in Nigeria where Obasanjo, our self appointed champion of Democracy wants his Party the PDP to completely dominate or render impotent the other parties by even condoning election rigging in certain sections of the country where his Party had been rejected.

I am able to say that because General Buhari and his Party did dispute the results of the elections in 2003 in many polling stations and his objections were upheld by the Courts in many places. By the same token, there were a few Governorship elections that should have been lost in the South East and even in the South West that were fraudulently declared for the PDP with Obasanjo looking the other way. The result is that PDP was projected to have won in close to 28 States out of the 36 Nigerian States minus Abuja. The result is that there was no credible opposition to hold the feet of the PDP Governments to fire and to force them to perform.

Because the PDP did not have to contend against a virile opposition, any where in the country, the Party members had started fighting among themselves while the country’s business was totally compromised or set aside. Obasanjo being a

poor student of History has failed to learn vital lessons even from his own backyard in the old West during Obafemi Awolowo’s era. Awolowo’s Government was able to do all it did in the old West partly because the NCNC Mobalaje Grand Alliance led by Adegoke Adelabu and the pressures they have put on the Government. Awolowo the foremost federalist and politician of his era instinctively knew his Government had to perform to earn the respect and confidence of the opposition.

On the other hand, Sardauna Bello whose NPC had virtually dominated the North, around the same time, was under no constraints to do follow the example of Awo. As a matter of fact one his grudges against Awolowo, at the time, was the fact that Awolowo had forced him to start going out on political campaigns to the nook and crannies of the big North to start responding to much of the challenges thrown by Awo who had traveled by road, by water and by air in an helicopter to reach out to Nigerian voters in ways that his peers and rivals could only have dreamt of.

My point is that a strong and very well organized opposition is a necessity for the success of Democracy any where in the world. The winner-take-all scenario like it is in Nigeria, and even like it is in America today, where the Republican Party now dominates the various levels of Government at State and Federal, as well as the Presidency, the Legislature and the Judiciary, is clearly a development which is not at all good for Democracy. The British electorates have demonstrated that in this election, by cutting the Labor Party down to size even though they still give them the majority. The situation is very much unlike what obtains in Nigeria and much of the third world where a failing Government is often rewarded with a landslide victory through open manipulations of election results. For how can one explain the information recently given by Obasanjo that some faceless Nigerians are putting pressure on him to run a third term. Stay for what? Beg your pardon.

The British electorates have told Tony Blair in unmistakable terms they would reward him where he has performed, and give him a black eye where he has not. They have evidently rejected his policy on Iraq War and his cozy relationship with George W Bush, even though in the judgment of the Prime Minister, it was probably the right thing to do. They have rejected the fact that he had lied to them in much the same way like George Bush had lied to the Americans, to take them to War with Iraq. They were teaching Tony Blair and other future leaders in Britain there is a hell to pay, if they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak.

The British electorates have clearly repudiated the kind of political brinkmanship and behavior that American electorates have shown they are willing to tolerate. That in my opinion, gives the British electorates the high moral ground, the decency and superiority edge that Democracy and its survival and vital principles around the world should not, and cannot be sacrificed for political expediency, and that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. The victim of the unjust War is Iraq today. It could be Nigeria, Zimbabwe, North Korea or Indonesia tomorrow. There is need to reassure the world at large, that Democracy as a superior system of Government, is not Communism, Dictatorship or Totalitarianism. The British electorates have done that and it is left for the world and America in particular to emulate the British for once.

The British as former colonial master of the American colonies have proved their political decency, resiliency, durability, objectivity and resourcefulness. The British do consider America as traditional allies, but they also know that two wrongs don’t make a right. They appreciate that Tony Blair is a strong leader, but they also do want him to remain a moral leader the whole world can look up to. If he tells them something, they want to always believe it is the truth, and nothing but the truth. America should demand no less from their Presidents and leaders, if America is to retain its credibility as the true leader of the world.

That is the more important message I take away from the outcome of the last election in Britain. The Anglophiles have given Tony Blair a bloody nose, and a black eye to George Bush for fooling around with what is more important to tiny Britain as a great nation and the very cradle and bastion of Democracy around the world. God save the Queen.

I rest my case.

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