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Nigeria’S Democratic Absurdities

As the absurdities of the evolving Nigerian democracy mounts, it is important to remind ourselves that it took Europe many years to learn the true meaning of democracy and the rule of law. They also learnt that the rule of men allows autocracy, corruption and injustice to fester.

In Europe countries like Greece and Spain, where military dictatorship of the type we experienced in Nigeria, had taken place, the are still feeling their effect in form of entrenched corruption and economic problems.

This is perhaps why when the founding fathers of America were writing her constitution and choosing form of government, they did not forget the lessons of autocracy they learnt in Europe. They found no justification or legitimacy for power that did not follow from the consent of the people.

A country like Nigeria, which does not seem to learn from her own history, May perhaps learn from the history of other countries.

When Lord Acton said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, he was talking about people using power the way the Jonathans, Obasanjos, Babangidas, Abachas etc., have used it and the way the Buhari may use it in their second coming.

Nigeria’s democracy is largely unaccountable and dominated by men and women with neither vision nor moral compass. They have ruled by force and fraud. If the power delegated to governments is for the benefit of the society, the Nigeria government has failed woefully.

Those whose duty it is to enact laws to safeguard the intended civil society or enforce the laws have failed. We are left with a country, where religion and ethnicity are the divisive constructs on which the people segregate.

History may look back and conclude that the present generation of Nigerian politicians is perhaps the most insensitive, corrupt and clueless because of their inability to address corruption and enthrone probity in public life.

A country like Nigeria, ravaged by corruption and besieged by Boko Haram, which is trying to link itself with IS, should be preparing every citizen for the existential threat they pose. Rather, the government prefers to play politics with the war against terror and leave the people defenceless victims of suicide bombers and indiscriminate attacks by Fulani herdsmen.

Why has the government allowed Fulani herdsmen to carry assault rifles? Why are villages in the Middle Belt not protected against Fulani herdsmen terrorism or allowed to arm themselves? I wonder how APC will tame the armed Fulani herdsmen now that Buhari, a Fulani has been elected president.

What can explain the way and manner the government has conducted the war against terror and approaches to probity, accountability and abuse of power? Why is the police incapable of prosecuting corrupt politicians? Why has the National Assembly failed to enact legislations to address the abuse of power? Why should we continue to operate a system, where the executive is a law into itself with criminal power of patronage and the legislators behaving as they have the power to over rule all?

These aberrations of the Nigerian democracy, like the way and manner political parties are run, are a threat to the survival of liberal democracy. A political party is not a company, it is a vehicle to seek the trust of the people and government is not a business with the right set up and exercise power for its own emolument. A political party is a vehicle to actualise the hope and aspiration of the people through a government that is people centred.

In view of the belligerence and ineffectiveness of the Senate in addressing the real problems of Nigeria, I would propose a restructuring of the Nigerian democracy by scraping the Senate. I have often wondered what use the two legislative arms serve in Nigeria, when one can do the work better at less cost. The Nigeria senate has become a place where corrupt politicians retire to escape justice and an unjustifiable expense the country can do without.

In the last few years, the Nigerian legislature has spent its time scheming to amend the Nigeria constitution for the sole benefit of the legislative arm of government. It is not the duty of legislators to amend constitutions to preserve their powers and interests. This is an abuse of power and betrayal of trust. Constitution should be amended by an elected constitution amending committee and its recommendations subjected to approval of the people in a referendum.

What is happening is Nigeria is rape and murder of democracy. The legislators  are raping  the constitution to increase their power and reduce accountability. It is a shameful self-serving and self-defeating power grab that erodes the foundation of democracy.

When they finish with the Nigerian constitution, Nigeria will have the most autocratic constitution of a democratic country, with politicians the people cannot hold accountable.

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