A Must-Read: The Illusion Of Democratic Governance By Dokun Adedeji

I have never been more annoyed and bitter about the state of my country as this morning, as I think about what could have been as against our deplorable situation – the resounding hogwash about how we have remained one and plodded on in ignorance, pain, want and penury.
There is no quality to a life that is lived in hopelessness under a clueless and rudderless leadership. These many years have been the years of locust, a journey through an alley of waste and stupidity.

That I am angry, there is no doubt, and I am worried about the looming avalanche of national anger and its possible consequences.

We delude ourselves if we think that what we have now is a democracy. It is nothing but a mockery of it or at its best, a voodoo democracy that is bound to unravel soon with the way we are going.

In order to fix this bogey handed over to us by Abdulsalam Abubakar and his gang, we will need to make fundamental repairs and put this nation on a better pedestal that will guarantee her survival. To believe all is well and do nothing is to wait for doomsday with these breed of gluttonous and rapacious politicians, whether conservatives or progressives! They are all the same doing the same pillaging, stealing and cornering our commonwealth only in different styles.

For Nigeria to survive there must be a game-changer.

Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar who knew the game was up for the military, with the astute cunning dexterity of the tortoise, quickly assembled another band of carpetbaggers with a semi-imposition of a spent Mr Olusegun Obasanjo and handed over the poisoned chalice of their voodoo democracy. That was the beginning of our descent into the wilderness of corruption and waste. Obasanjo was neither a democrat nor a pretender to such noble credentials. The rest is now history. From that faulty foundations upon which our ‘democracy’ was built, Nigeria has moved from one vacant, vacuous leadership to another.

Nigeria needs statesmen and not politicians! Sadly, we have too many in positions of leadership who are without character and give no damn about this nation and her people.
What kind of democracy permits such reckless allotment of votes whereby thieves and charlatans superintend over the nation? What kind of democracy allows the gross abuse of power and privilege amongst the leading lights of our parties – if they can be so-called? What kind of democracy ignores the prostrate state of her citizens and doles out our commonwealth to the public officers who claim to serve we the people? And yet, we have no knowledge of their remuneration? And for you to ask about such simple things, you are insensitively referred to the existence of a dumb FOI Law! Some democracy this is!

How can we claim to practice democracy and the people have no rights to live the lives they choose under the law?

Our own brand of democracy permits different laws for the various segment of the society – the poor goes to jail for minor infractions while the rich enjoy only a slap on the wrist and then gets a national award to boot! Many of the people who walk and inhabit our corridors of power and influence, are known thieves and miscreants but they enjoy the protection of the state. What manner of democracy is?

Who does not know that most of these marauding terrorist gangs all over our nation space are the creations of the various political stalwarts who claim leadership? These are boys and men engaged to make sure their political lords ‘win’ elections and who after tasting the proceeds of hooliganism, are difficult to hold back. They now threaten the stability of our nation as they speak for their leaders. Yet, we deceive ourselves that we run a democratic governance just because we ‘arrange elections’.

We need to have a re-think as a people, sit down to review the past and then, plan for the future.
I came across the transcript of Barack Obama’s 2012 Victory Speech and this part caught my attention:
“But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turn out at rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny country far away from home, you will discover something else; you will hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who is working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has the same opportunity. You will hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who is going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant another shift. You will hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who is working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fight for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.

“That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of over 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated”

My Compatriots, that is the tenor and color of politics in a true democracy, not the rancorous and violence of ours in Nigeria. The electorate should speak through their votes and not through money, violence and blood-letting.
Mr Abdulsalami handed us a bogey and not a democracy. Our people are tired of this illusion and they desire a change and all these comedians in power better listen. We cannot continue like this or we risk a cataclysm – an impending holocaust of violence and anger.

My friends, if truth be told, we are still in search for democratic governance. I daresay that time is running out. Whatever name we choose to call it, talk we must!

It is so painful and disappointing that our country is run like a Banana Republic with rules of the jungle and a pretense to democratic principles.
Today, more than ever before, our country is in urgent need for statesmen who will rise above personal pecuniary considerations but think and act in the interest of this beleaguered nation. Our nation surely deserves better than this ramshackle contraption of governance euphemically referred to as a democracy. Act we must and NOW is the time lest history calls out time for us.

Our hope daily as the humiliated citizens of this nation is that Nigeria will yet rise again – like a sphinx out of the ashes of de-spoilation and decay – for our future lies in the actions and inactions of today.

– Dr Dokun Adedeji (Twitter – @dokunadedeji) writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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