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Thoughts on democracy

19 June 2015, 09:20

Strong opposition said Raymond Aron makes better democracy. On democracy day, Nigeria, by a new democracy drive, a renewed zeal and determination, demonstrated a desire to make democracy work better.

Surprisingly, the opposition was already at work. It gathered people for public dialogue and not deciphering events, ended up daringly in doubt. It demanded if recent events were not organized to promote the democracy of deception.

If the opposition is needful, then, its demand calls for reflection.

Thinking, questions kept coming readily. For example, now, after practicing democracy for sixteen years, what is the result?
As, I considered certain contradictions, trying to gain balance, I fell silently into a sudden sound, sleep and heard the voice:

The Voice: Why are you vainly troubled? Nigeria is awake and change has come. For now, Nigeria is one united nation, one tribe with one religious doctrine: change!

Hopeful: What is this change about?

Also Read: Democracy has come to stay in West Africa, Jonathan declares

The Voice: Well, change means unhappiness with statuesque, the current situation, the order of things on ground. It is discontent with the doctrine of business as usual.

Hopeful: What is democracy?

The Voice: Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as, "the government of the people, by the people, and for the people." It is people’s oriented project; doing maximum good to greatest number of people.

Hopeful: What does it take to make it work?

The Voice:
It takes hard labour and discipline to make it yields its fruits. Even in an atmosphere of gross religiosity, to substitute any spiritual exercise for this hard labour yields only deception.
Democracy never fails.

Hopeful: If it works, what is the Joy in it?

The Voice:
Yes. There is joy in democracy. That is, whatever happens, a time will come for the people to decide to vote out candidates who fail to act in the best interest of the nation.

Hopeful: Can it be enforced?

The Voice: No. Democracy means freedom. You cannot successfully force democracy on people. You cannot secure it by bribery or by rigging election. It stands shaky on the rock of stomach infrastructure. Such methods, unlawful, lead to chaos.

Hopeful: Why and where have we failed so far?

The Voice: There is no failure in nature. Even with the protracted era of military rule, God knows Nigeria needs discipline, which the military was apt to give.

Democracy is a process to learn.

Hopeful: Any justifications for the hope put in Nigeria’s democracy?

The Voice: Yes. Nigeria had made great progress on its democratic journey. The pillars for a solid structure are underway

Also Read: ECOWAS summit bids Jonathan farewell, hails Nigeria's democratic transition

The first pillar to build a high-quality democracy is a strong opposition party.

For 16 years, Nigeria was proud of producing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), probably, the biggest political party in Africa. But absolute power corrupts absolutely, so with its many years of unchallenged rule, the PDP took Nigerians for granted.

Hence, sudden secret thoughts were forced to take roots. So, meetings started and enlarged until the merger of the main opposition parties became possible. And when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered finally the All Progressive Congress (APC), everyone knew it was to change Nigeria national politics forever.

Thus, the first pillar of Nigeria’s democracy was erected with the successful formation, registration and emergence of APC on the political scene.

Even with such a great success, many Nigerians were only contented with having a strong opposition party. It was thought impossible to unseat a ruling party by an election.

However, it took the political genus of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the wisdom of Chief Akande, the Strategy of Tinubu, the endurance of Buhari, the irresistible and untiring efforts of the progressives like Chibuike Amaechi, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Mohammed Rabiu Kwankwaso, Adams Oshiomhole, Babatunde Fashola, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Aliyu Wamakko, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai combined with the love for and commitment to a New Nigeria of Atiku Abubakar to make the seemingly impossible happen.

Also Read: Voice of Gerontocracy, hands of democracy

The APC’s victory was a miracle. However, it was the success of the election process that gave credit to Nigeria’s ability to carry out a credible election.

Thanks to INEC aided by the introduction of the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) Nigeria’s future elections are guaranteed. Thus establishing firmly the second pillar of democracy.

Therefore, the foundation of democracy is laid. And as a journey of many progressive steps, it started with the formation of a strong opposition party and followed with the organization of free, fair and credible elections.

The Third Pillar upon which true democracy stands is the rule of Law.
The rule of law is the corner stone of democracy. It means the law governs the nation. Under the law, there is no poor or rich, majority or opposition. Every citizen is equal.

The supreme law is the nation’s constitution. Therefore, all citizens from the president to the peasants are subjected to its provisions. No one is above the law.

For example, the outgoing Executive, dwelling under PDP’s leaking umbrella, drenched Nigeria treasury with debts by diverting public funds into private purse. The people complained, some cried out, others shouted, “Corruption,” “thief” and “stealing.”

And they were right.

Also Read: Democracy in Nigeria: Trends and major challenges

But when a spiritual leader was discovered to take bribe or to divert church or mosque money to purchase private properties, the same people shouted, even louder, “Touch not mine anointed.”

Here under the same law the offenders received different judgments.

Hopeful: As democracy is all about people, can God or prayers make it better?

The Voice: It takes wisdom to know there is God in democracy. The Holy word says, “God is not the author of confusion.” God uses the Law to guide people’s actions. God is not a respecter of person. So in democracy the law is the same for everyone.

Therefore, breaking the Law in any manner is against God and contrary to democracy.

As for prayer, let those who love prayer first learn to obey the Law of the land. It is by so doing, the country becomes one nation under God.

Hopeful: Can we hope for a positive change despite many years of bad governance?

The Voice: Yes, there is hope for Nigeria and for democracy. Henceforth, let every citizen work by the constitution.

Therefore, in democracy there is no deception. It is a progressive process. True democracy calls for law-abiding citizens. And so, from the time of Aristotle, until now, the Law rules, governs and guides the nations to prosperity, peace and perfection.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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