NIGERIA: A Nation Tethered on the Edge OF Democracy

Irreverence is our disease.

The powers that be have defied and tainted the true nature of servitude, and leadership. The propensity of this statement is hinged on two conundrums. At the forefront is the notion of liberalism, freedom, and above all democracy, as propagated by Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars; the second is the diversity of cultures that have ultimately impinged on the advancement of Africa, a continent that was at the helm of affairs due to the great influence of Egypt during the Early Ages, but has now been almost relegated to the background, constantly languishing in the corridors of self-imposed obscurity and doldrums.

A government of the people is one that asides placing the interests of the citizens at the top of the affairs cater for a people with a high sense of nationalism, national integration, and patriotism.

A government of the people is one that asides placing the interests of the citizens at the top of the affairs cater for a people with a high sense of nationalism, national integration, and patriotism. Both work hand in hand, one not more important than the other. Africa as a continent has constantly been plagued by individualism, tribalism, selfish interests, and greed. These ideologies have often defined the causal effects of issues churning out negative results from numerous governmental expeditions.

I daresay, should Nigeria be nationally, naturally and inherently homogenous, democracy won’t be like an average elementary school student trying to run a professional course. Homogeneity, either natural or ideological is the strength of democracy. Nationalism and a general drive hinged on achieving a collective goal is the benchmark of democracy. Dissidents are bound to arise, nevertheless, the collective effort of the majority will surely prevail as espoused by the 1789 French Revolution where the interests of the Third Estates gradually influenced that of the First and Second Estates, and ultimately the French Revolution that spread the ideals of freedom, liberty, and democracy shook the world.

Nigeria, a century-old nation made up of a disparate pool of ethnicity and cultures have got it wrong in the practice of democracy, a rather advanced system of government that thrives on unity, an ideal that saunters into the annals of our affairs, and saunters out as the situation permits it. Unity and a sense of nationalism have always been a rather difficult concept for us to grasp due to the indoctrination of philosophy “I before you.” This singular act has been the undoing of a great nation, for as Nigerians, patriotism has not been inculcated into our value system, neither have collective unity, nationalism, and freedom from the shackles of the forces that be. The average Nigerian has been taught to survive and not to thrive; this has ultimately led to the highest form of individualism. Leaders that seek to line their pockets and bank accounts with money assigned for the provision of basic amenities to improve the welfare of the citizens, and citizens who are divided by the instance of tribalism and ethnicity; there is no alignment of values.

I have not set out to denounce the concept of democracy; I have only set out to condemn how it is practiced in Nigeria. Nigeria is the supposed giant of Africa, and should we get the practice of democracy right, it will certainly spell the rise of a Phoenix being reborn from its ashes.

A three-year-old boy cannot drive a car; he can only hope to learn to do it and eventually drive it after learning to. Nigeria cannot effectively run democracy until we learn to cast aside tribalism, and ethnicity differences that have inherently divided us, and realize that Nigeria supersedes Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani, and the other 250 ethnic denominations that constitute the whole of Nigeria; only then can the reins of democracy be effectively handled. There remains a glimmer of hope.

Practice does make perfect, and wisdom does come with age and experience. The 1993 and 2015 elections are inklings of what can happen when Nigeria rises above the forces of individualism, and embrace nationalism. We’re not ready to be governed through the tenets of democracy, neither are we far off.

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