Salvaging the democracy project
By Ranti Adedoyin
Democracy is a system of government through which the eligible members of a state, typically choose elected representatives to pilot the affairs of state. A democratic system is one in which the citizens of a particular state come together to select a candidate or candidates that will represent their interests at the federal, state and local level.Without being simplistic Democracy is government by the majority.
In a democratic system, the citizens have the freedom to choose between different political platforms, parties and candidate and see to the actualization of the platforms they voted for if their choices win. Democracy is such an effective system in which if these elected candidates no longer represent the interest of the people or the people are not pleased with their performance, they can be impeached.
Democracy in Nigeria however, can only be read in a book. Democracy is practiced without democrats and elections are being held with almost no regards for electorates in Nigeria.
Democracy as defined by the 16th president of the United State of America, Abraham Lincoln, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
How can a government be of the people when political processes in many states effectively subvert the democratic process,reducing the power of the people to the power of political “godfathers”. The Godfather’s are the effective electorate with their mastery at money politics, thuggery and manipulating the polls, godfatherism ensures that whoever is chosen by The godfather is inevitably rigged into office.
How can a government be for the people when the people are desperate for change but all they get is recycled politicians. Even when capable youths are ready to lead the people, they are being intimidated and cut out with outrageous candidacy party forms. Pieces of paper be worth 45 million Naira in a state that claims not to practice oligarchy but democracy.
How can a government be by the people when all the government do is invest in the comfort of officials rather than in human and material resources. Nigerian democracy is thriftless, it is a democracy that spends soo much yet accomplish very little and in most cases nothing.
As at 2016 Nigeria national budget was 6.07 trillion Naira, in 2017 it was 7.30 trillion Naira. All these money yet, the people are left to provide the basic social amenities for themselves and those who can’t suffer. All this money and dozens of people die in road accidents yearly owing to bad roads. All this money yet in most part of Nigeria power supply is almost exactly nil, portable water is a scarce commodity and health care is non existent.
The people are taken as jokes. Three years in power with no action but as soon as election is near they start appealing to the emotions of the poor with money and the religious with religion.
One of the greatest problems facing Nigeria democracy today is Corruption. Corruption has become an anthem and even those claiming to fight corruption are masterminds of the game. Only the corrupt acts of the opposition team are being brought light but they remain myopic about the criminal acts of those that are not against them.
Several years back, Chief obafemi Awolwo opined that “democracy was pinning away on its death bed, it has been mercilessly assaulted and violated it is already being made to suffer from gross misuse and utter lack of nature” it is sad to say that this after soo many years, this is still the condition of Nigerian democracy and it has gotten worse.
Once upon a time Nigeria was a beacon of hope for Africa, children went to school in Nigeria more than any other country in Africa and the government actually cared for the sick. The same cannot be said about Nigeria today as the Nation is fast becoming the poverty capital of the world. The one time giant of Africa can barely walk on its own now.
However, all hope is not lost, it is never to late for us to get the democracy we truly deserve! It all depends on you and I let us all work together, say no to corruption,say no to money politics, say no godfatherism, be patriotic and let us make Nigeria great again.