Opinion

Nigeria’s Definition of Democracy By, Israel A. Ebije

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After 20 years, some believe our “democratic” experience is nascent. I prefer to call it a fledging democracy. It is thriving in its own way and at its own speed. It does not recognize the values of the American crafted democratic practice.

It is indigenous and very exclusive to us, that is a reality we must all accept. Perhaps, it is about time to
redefine or rename our own democratic system of government. Nigeria’s democratic practice is indeed defined by the sum total of all the factors within which it operates.

Nigeria’s democracy can be defined as; “a system of government where a group of political business men and women specialized in using tokens and beautiful promises to promote ambition of selected business manager to preside over affairs of the country or state government.

These individuals execute their game of deception by hiring thugs specially recommended for rigging, wrangling electorates in elections. Security operatives in this system of government become observers in the rigging process. The rich cabals after declaring themselves or stooges winners sit back and feast on the commonwealth of the people.

If the people dare protest bad governance, they will be treated as “criminals”.

From the somber definition of democratic practice above, it is valid to include; none payment of salaries for civil servants as a norm, only personal projects of those elected get completed, public projects exist on paper or abandoned. Voice of decent is crushed, the constitution is mostly jettisoned.

A true picture of Nigeria’s specially tailored democratic practice is superintendent by the ruling cabals – a group of special deities who once ruled Nigeria under the military or civilians who once participated in pro democratic protests under military rule.

These special power blocs choose a preferred candidate, who could be one of them or a mentee often known as
“anointed candidate”. After their choice is debriefed, the cabals identify with a political party of choice and the rest is history.

During the process of election or “selection”, money is injected into an identified party to be used to induce hungry electorates. Once the electorates or the “ordinary” Nigerian does not appear very loyal and may collect money and yet vote against the cabals or godfathers either at federal or state levels, thugs who are now part of our own democratic system will be unleashed. Security operatives paid by tax payers labor operating under some “celestial” instructions mostly unwritten and undocumented abdicate their responsibility to the thugs who run berserk to the see that rigging – a very important aspect of our democratic process prevails.

In Nigeria, a person seeking election does not need to be qualified, experienced or educated for the position. The person must be ready to satisfy godfathers who sponsored the entire election. Half of the money spent in politicking in Nigeria are borrowed from political Shylocks – they will come for their pound of flesh even after
receiving the full payment of money invested, get all the contracts, put stooges in powerful positions – however inept they are.

These Shylocks have left most politicians elected into government at all levels spend their entire tenure paying “protection fee” from public funds. The system is looted dry before they leave, when they do, they handover to a political son to continue the process of looting all over again.

Our home grown democracy is not without supporters. These supporters could be anybody but the interesting group, are educated individuals who have conscripted themselves to certified hypocrites, sycophants or blackmailers. Some are paid, others just join the bandwagon. The country can burn for all they care. These platoons of goons are
specialists in making bad leaders look good. They are always ready to sell alternative views anywhere policies of their liege draw flaks from right thinking people. They are the fuel that keeps empty, inept leaders locomotive train running.

It is also democratically correct in Nigeria to see same faces of supporters in different rallies for different candidates under different political party’s. In civilized climes like America, people are asked to get tickets – free or paid for before getting into the venue of the rally. These tickets are purchased with verified identity
cards. A data base is created at all the rallies the presidential candidate travels to. That way, his or her state of strength is easily identified. In Nigeria, governors will shuffle paid supporters to traverse every state for a preferred presidential candidate during rallies. That way politics of crowds can justify rigged votes.

The definition of our own home grown democracy will continue to define the way and manner things will be done in the country. In Nigeria people beg their leaders for money, in America they go for food stamp, that way no leader can own them or oppress them or pay for their votes. Sadly, Nigerian leaders will continue to control the system in
any direction that suites them and that is why they ensure nothing works except when it defends their interests.

Things are however done differently in progressive climes, where the system controls leaders. The system can fire anybody including a sitting president.

In Nigeria and indeed many parts of Africa, PVCs have never helped in changing a sitting inept leader. Our own definition of democracy includes how useless a voter’s card can be. Results are simply pre arranged. We must either officially tell the world of how different our own meaning of democracy is or totally change the name of our
system of government. We must own and be proud of our own style of governance, enough of all the half adaptations of concepts.

Ebije can be reached via; [email protected] or @ebijeisrael

Famutimi Femi is a writer for theheraldng. He is also a lawyer by trade. His hobbies include reading and writing, he also loves Renaissance art.

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