Today is Nigeria’s Democracy Day!
A critical look in the Nigeria’s so-called ‘Democracy’ birthed the caption of this write-up, This Is Not Democracy; It Must be Demo-Crazy.
This caption quickly reminds me of Seyed Mehdi’s 2014 satirical novel titled Democracy or Demo Crazy, which tells the story of a people who in an effort to deny any of the twenty-four brothers a second chance at the throne, finally decide to vote for prince number twenty-five, called Demo Crazy, who is in no way considered qualified for the position. The people actually do not believe that he will win, but they vote for him because they believe that he will most likely be the least brutal, and less of a tyrant than any of the other brothers. Demo Crazy forms a circle of cohorts and enacts his own Demo Crazian principles which consist of a combination of oppression and deception of the masses. He embarks upon a mission to destroy the country, playing off his actions as a “service” to the people. As it turns out, he is really in fact an enemy agent, who after ultimately fleeing his own country and taking refuge in enemy lands, surrenders his nation to them. The behavior and documented speeches of Demo Crazy are truly astonishing, and even more unusual are the laws and regulations he exercised in ruling over his country.
Often times, I wonder if Mehdi, our Persian writer, had Nigeria in mind in the writing of that novel, because all the attributes of the character Demo Crazy seem to look into political games which the Nigerian Politicians are known for.
It was Abraham Lincoln, who on November 19th, 1863 defined Democracy as ‘the government of the people, for the people and by the people.’ The most important aspect of Democracy that comes to our mind whenever we are dealing with the issue is simply the symbolic aspect of freely electing our leaders. This is most significant. Yet, if that understanding is something to go by, you would bear me witness that the so-called democracy is nothing but a scam.
So many years after we got married to democracy, we seem to have nowhere we are heading to. It is either we starving ourselves intentionally, or rather, the fact that we do not understand what the ideal democracy really is. Just like the famous philosopher Cicero, I strongly believe that, a man cannot be eloquent in a subject that he does not understand.
Before 1999, during the military rule, Nigerians campaigned gloriously for the coming of democracy, with a belief that it would provide a solution to all our political problems. After a long struggle, which was finally won, democracy was returned with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, as the first democratic president of Nigeria. But have we truly gotten the success we carved for?
A critical study on the type of democracy which Nigeria practices reveals that, our democracy is a continuation of the military rule. Now, you can agree with me that, the only difference between democracy and military rule is that the democratic leaders parade themselves on civilian wears. Remove that, then, they are just the same.
When the military boys were in power, our people blamed them for corruption. Now, the amount of loots which we record has outnumbered whatever we saw with the military boys.
We cried out obviously on the issue of insecurity during the military regime, we cried out too, how people were disappearing on daily bases. One can now say that even the military boys tried in keeping insecurity very low, and it is so sad when you compare it with the civilian government, which should be better and safer.
What has the civilian government done in addressing some specific issues like poverty and unemployment? Why are the Nigerian youths jobless even after so many years of graduating from the University? Why is there an increase in poverty rate? Why is hunger lurking around the cranes of this nation? Hunger, in a wealthy Nigeria makes the country a crazy one.
Oil boom has made Nigeria one of the richest countries in the world, and placed us in the map of great importance. But what has those monies been used in building? How many good roads do we have in the country? How many bridges can we count? The schools in the country owned by the government are nothing to go by. Hospitals keep frustrating the lives of their patients through unnecessary strike actions. Show me a railway station in Nigeria and I will raise my eye-brows. There is none in Nigeria till today, but this is the country that prides herself as the giant of Africa. Is this not craziness?
The most painful thing now with our current Nigeria is that our politicians have not learnt anything from the past. They feel very insensitive to the matters of Nigeria. Every new election brings us men and women who are only focused with embezzling the nation’s wealth and drying up the treasury. And history keeps on repeating itself. This is craziness.
There is nothing free and fair in the way our leaders are elected. The heinous actions which are fostered by our electoral system are indeed a cause for alarm. What have we not seen? Is it the snatching of ballot boxes? Or the falsification of election statistics? Or godfatherism that come with it? What?
What we have not known is that, a government that is unjustly imposed by means of fraud will also rule in the same way. We shouldn’t expect them to turn into angels overnight. This therefore, sweeps the ideal democracy under the carpet, and brings demo-crazy to us.
Now, I must state it here: Democracy has failed Nigeria.
Come to think of it, ever since tribal politics crawled into our democracy, it failed. This is because, geo-political zoning have become the order of the day. The tribalism which this has caused over the years is part of the causes of demo-crazy. As a result, power now rotates barely on a particular section of a people while the minority perishes. Marginalization and her sister issues likedomination, injustice, and ethnic-cleansing set in. The lucky faction rules the country, by getting the key positions and also recycling their own people there. They cut of oppositions and even try to exterminate any visible opponents.
Like I noted above, Democracy has failed Nigeria. But what shall we do? Should we fold our hands and watch it to continue failing us?
Now, Democracy Day is a great day to reflect on our democracy, how it has failed us and how to make it work. This day, I call upon the government, and all the people of Nigeria, to join hands in salvaging this dying democracy. But, until then, let me remind you, This is not Democracy; It Must be Demo-Crazy.