Nigeria has been at the democracy game for about 15 years now and a lot of talk goes on about the ‘dividends of democracy.’ This makes it sound like democracy is some kind of equation where D (democracy) + SS (sovereign statehood) = DoD (dividends of democracy, fill in the gaps.)
So I try to work out in my head, why is Nigeria a democratic country? (and I am using the term democratic as loosely as possible, we are a civilian autocracy, or a subgroup oligarchy, a pseudo democracy, or a confusion of people led by an embarrassment of politicians but who cares about labels?) is it because we, the people, want it? The answer is no. what the people want has no impact whatsoever on the systems of government in a country. (a critical study of history will reveal this)
However, to step into the arena of international relations, a government has to prove itself to be suitably amenable to standards acceptable by the big dogs (except you have oil like Saudi Arabia, then no one will dare tell you, that you can’t be a monarchy.), it’s like when Abacha empowered ECOMOG as regional peacekeeper, (costing Nigeria millions) to keep the eyes of the world from his internal chicanery. To borrow money from the international financial institutions one has to exhibit a modicum of democracy. Then the millions are released to the leaders who spirit the money away to the ubiquitous Swiss accounts that dot the Zurich landscape.
A quick study of countries and their welfare of their people reveals that democracy is not a cure for our ills but an occlusion of our woes, while we fight the ballot box and watch for the councillors and congressmen we shove aside the true problems. While the country is wrapped in a bubble of pseudo-democracy, the world can rub its hands in self adulation while death and destruction continue within a state.
Examine the following:
- Under a flag of democracy, the US (and several other countries) traded in human flesh, locking human flesh in the holds of vessels to endure the horrors of the middle passage, which only half of the ‘livestock’ survived. The injustice of it was continued and compounded when the south went to war in indignation when their right to keep, sell, rape, and kill other human beings was challenged.
- In 1948, by means of the popular vote in South Africa 70% of the population was forced onto 3% of the land. The world watched in relative impotence and indifference as black men and women were killed, tortured and treated like vermin.
- The largest democracy in the world, India, continues side by side with democratic government to allow untouchability and the burning of brides unable to pay their dowries.
- Germany was democratic when six million Jews were burned Auschwitz and other camps, which some politicians in democratic countries now say was a holiday camp.
- A democratic government deliberately killed 64, 000 in Nagasaki and Hiroshima tainting the land for years.
Am I saying no to democracy? No I am not, but making it a bench mark when it is no guarantee of rights or fair treatment is like calling a dog a cat so you can give it milk. If asked any Nigerian will tell you he/she wants security of person, food, employment; I think it is rare person who will plead for democracy. Then why are we being given a rude imitation of what we didn’t ask for? I have no idea.
Without good people, democracy is a coal pit, a mirage that people chase and never catch, an illusion – deceptive and false, a leaking umbrella, a car with four punctured tyres, a distorted mirror, more dangerous than having nothing, because having no knowledge is better than a lie.
What I know without a shadow of a doubt is that no one will give us what we want, what we need… we have to take it. We the people, are the owners of Nigeria, we should not be distracted by ethnicity to the detriment of unity. The politics of tribalism and religion is the price of our servitude.
God bless Nigeria.