What Have You Done Lately For Democracy In Nigeria?

by Bode Eluyera

“The great changes in society occur when one or two people of conscience act.”

-Thomas L. Friedman.
author of The World is Flat.
“I am absolutely objective. I think we can lose badly because the regime is very powerful, but the only beauty of our situation is that we don’t have much choice.”

– Garry Kasparov.
Former World Chess Champion.
excerpt of an interview during a mass protest rally that he led against the totalitarian regime of Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg, on March 3, 2007.

You believe in democracy, don’t you? By the way, what is your understanding of democracy? Government by the people, for the people, and from the people. Isn’t it? But, what have you done recently to ensure that come 2007, Nigeria has a President that is competent, honest, morally upright, law-abiding, healthy, patriotic and fair? What have you done to make sure that you and millions of Nigerians will be proud of the next Nigeria’s President? Have you carried out a thorough analysis of all the candidates? And, may I ask, who is your candidate? What have you done or are you doing to make sure that come April 2007, your candidate emerges winner? Or, are you just watching, waiting for miracle to happen? Do you know that there is a Russian proverb that says that “Water does not flow under a lying stone?” Literally, it means, no effort, no risk, no sweat, no reward. And there is another one that says that “If you don’t take a risk, you don’t drink champagne.” I am sure you want to drink champagne in April, to celebrate the victory of your candidate. Don’t you? Do you honestly expect your candidate to win without any efforts or contribution from you?

By the way, if you don’t mind my asking, what criteria did you use in choosing your candidate? Do you mind, if I tell you my candidate? Let me first tell you why two of the leading contenders aren’t my candidates.
Buhari is not my candidate. Why is he not my candidate? Many reasons. I’ve mentioned some of the reasons in two of my articles titled “Why Buhari must be banned, if Nigeria and Nigerians want true democracy.” and “Leadership, Decision making, The military, The North and Development in Nigeria.” To avoid repetition here, please do me a little favour, find time to read them. The articles contain very important information. I saw Buhari’s performance in 1984. He was a dictator. Believe me, we don’t need a dictator as a President. We don’t need a Pinochet in Nigeria. By the way, have you heard of Pinochet before? Let me tell you a little bit about him, incase you have not heard about him or know very little about him. Pinochet was the former military Head of State of Chile. He came to power by overthrowing the legitimate government of Allende. It was a very bloody coup. During his so-called ‘economic reform’, Pinochet murdered thousands of Chileans. Anybody, opposed to his economic or political reforms was either jailed or brutally murdered. Uncountable number of Chileans who disappeared during his reign are still missing till now. Many Chileans fled abroad to avoid meeting their untimely death. Pinochet eventually died under a house arrest while awaiting trial for the atrocities that he committed during his reign of terror. Do you want such a fate to befall Nigeria and Nigerians? I am sure you don’t.

Moreover, as far as I know, Buhari has never managed a company in his life before. The Petroleum Fund that he headed is not an evidence of his management skills. The Petroleum Fund is not a commercial entity. There was no risk involved. Risk is one of the main attributes that differentiate a commercial entity from a public company. There is another Russian proverb that says that “You can’t jump higher than your head.” What this literally mean is that you can’t give what you don’t have i.e. you can’t perform better than your ability. If applied to Buhari, it means that he does not have the necessary background to become a good civilian president, since he was trained to be a soldier. He has the mentality of a soldier. The ‘kill and go’ mentality. He is a ‘typical Nigerian soldier.’ Can you draw the portrait of a typical Nigerian soldier? Let me help you. Very arrogant without any reason; violent; empty-headed; semi-illiterate; does not have patience to listen to others; always giving orders or insisting on his own point of views; instead of listening to the other side and try to understand them; lack the ability to convince with logical arguments; not-disciplined -easily break rules that he expects others to obey strictly; uses force to solve problems instead of constructive dialogue, diplomacy and creating incentives, very crude in his approach to issues, e.t.c. Believe me, all the above mentioned apply to Buhari.

And lastly, there is this myth that only Buhari can bring sanity to Nigeria. That is a big lie, simply because Buhari is a hypocrite. He does not live by his own words. His slogan is: “Do what I say and not what I do.” Do you want somebody like that to become Nigeria’s President? Please, I implore you again to read those 2 articles recommended above, for details. After my objective analysis and reading the recommended articles, I am sure, by now, all your illusion or sympathy for Buhari must have disappeared.

Yaradua is also not my candidate. Let us examine his candidacy together objectively. First, as you most likely know, Yaradua emerged winner of the PDP presidential ticket not through a democratic process. In other words, PDP’s presidential primary was neither free and fair nor transparent. Yaradua’s victory was a big fraud. How could you support somebody who came in through the back door. Other much better candidates were pressured by Obj to step down for him, obviously, for his own personal and selfish interest. In essence, what this also means is that Yaradua does not have the weight and authority within his own party to win the primaries without the ‘magomago’ of Obj. Do you notice how Obj is abusing his authority by going through the length and breadth of the country, using the country’s resources to campaign for him, as if it is a life and death affair? Actually, remember, the man himself said that the election is “a do or die affair” for him. Don’t you find that worrying and suspicious? The man definitely has a skeleton in his cupboard. He needs somebody that he could trust to cover up his atrocities. That was the main reason why Yaradua was chosen.

Even, if we put aside the fraudulent and undemocratic way in which Yaradua emerged the presidential flag bearer of PDP, nevertheless, he is not my candidate for other objective reasons. Yaradua was a chemistry teacher. You will surely agree with me that Today’s Nigeria – of the 21st century – is too sophisticated for a chemistry teacher to rule successfully. Since, we have much better candidates, why should we compromise? To illustrate my point, let me ask you a simple question. If you want to clear a lot of dirt in your garden, will you use your bear hands, or a rake? If you want to cut a big tree in your garden, will you use a cutlass or an automatic electric saw? If you want to dig a big hole in your garden, will you use a spade or a bulldozer? You see, where are talking of the most effective tool to use in order to solve Nigeria’s problem. Why use your bear hands to clear dirt when you have a rake at your disposal, and at no extra cost to you? Why use a cutlass to cut a big tree when you have an automatic electric saw at your disposal, more so, at no cost? Why use a spade to dig when you have a bulldozer at your disposal that cost you nothing to use? Do you get my point?
Moreover, the man’s performance as governor of Katsina is a total failure!
This has been confirmed by indigenes of the state. Imagine a governor not making use of all the money given to him by the federal government, when his state has one of the lowest lit

eracy rate and polo cases in Nigeria. It has also been confirmed that many projects that Yaradua promised to implement during his gubernatorial campaign are still on paper. And those that were implemented, were so badly implemented that many have started collapsing, after a very short period.

Let us assume for a moment that Yaradua is not corrupt, at least for now. But, please tell me honestly, should that be the only or main criteria for electing Nigeria’s president in the 21st century? Personally, I don’t think so. If Nigeria is to be among the league of 20 best economies in the world, in the next 15-20 years, then, our criteria for electing our president should not be limited to being corrupt free alone.

Of all the reasons, why Yaradua is not my candidate, HIS FAILING HEALTH IS THE MAIN REASON. You will surely agree with me that every country needs a healthy president due to the demand of this job. This issue is even of utmost importance taking into consideration how very demanding the job of running Nigeria is. Even, for somebody with very good health, the job of no. 1 citizen is a very demanding job – physically, mentality and psychologically. It is a known secret now that Yaradua is suffering from a chronic kidney problem, although, his party, PDP is trying as much as possible to hide this information from the public. In developed countries, the state of the health of presidential candidates is public information. It is an indivisible part of the democratic process. Since a president is a public figure, the public or the electorates have the full right to know everything about the state of health of presidential candidates, without any hindrance. But, not in Nigeria. We are still being treated as ‘Mugu.’

The electorate, in developed democracy, is a king. Presidential candidates and their respective parties try to woo him and supply him with all the necessary information not only to prove that that their candidate is worth the position, but also to make the choice of the electorate much easier. In Nigeria, it is the other way round. The electorate is kept in the dark about the real situation of things. PDP is hiding and suppressing information about the state of health of one of the main contestants. PDP is manipulating the electorate, and taking him for a ride. There is a Russian idiomatic expression: “Prodat kochki v michki.” Translated to English, it means: “To sell a cat in a sack.” When somebody sells a cat to you in a sack, you don’t know what kind of cat you are buying. Is it a black, white, grey, stripped, spotted, small, medium, big, young, adult, old, healthy, sick, dying or dead cat? You have no way of knowing. You can’t even be 100% sure that you are buying a cat! Literally, this idiomatic expression is used when somebody is trying or planning to keep you in the dark about a deal, transaction or trying to pull the wool over your eyes. This exactly is what PDP and its leaders are planning to do to Nigeria and Nigerians with Yaradua! They want to sell a cat in a sack to us! They need to be reminded that what they are doing is fraud and a criminal offence, which they will answer for, sooner or later. Today’s Nigeria is not Nigeria of 1979.

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