By Adisa Adeleye
MANY Nigerians believe and truly so, that we are a static nation because those politicians who are leading us are not the ones we would have chosen if given the opportunity of a free and fair elections.
The craze for this elusive thing – free and fair voting seems to overwhelm us that many people are unaware of the dangers ahead. Instead of a free election, the country might be plunged into a situation of free voting without an iota of fairness.
The newbreed politicians, some of them being rascals and jokers combined, have been perfecting schemes through the electoral machinery first, to free themselves from the dictatorship of their parties‘ hierarchy and secondly, to perpetuate themselves as genuine representatives of the people.
The pity is that the present system gives an undue advantage to the governors who are not only the Chief Executives of their States but also the Party Leaders. Thus, the Governors become tin gods who would ensure that all the local councils in their states are controlled by their supporters only.
There are no rooms for any opposition or dissent, for this is regarded as treachery. The governors, especially those of the ruling parties are often not at peace with their federal legislators, and to retain their seats in future elections becomes difficult.
It may be possible for clever politicians to use the electoral processes to fight a dirty internal battle to the disadvantage of people who are crying for a decent election. If actual voting is free but the method of selecting the representatives is faulty, voting might be orderly and free of thuggery but absolutely not fair because wrong type of people are presented.
From past experience, the electoral laws were devised by the ruling parties to encourage the retentions of power by the same group in the parties.
It is a pity that few months to general elections, the nation is yet to be sure of the laws and regulations that would govern the conduct of the elections. It is even worse that the legislature that seemed to have amended the nation‘s Constitution did not consider the position of the Independent Candidate as recommended by the Uwais Committee (or as it was before the sad military intervention in politics).
The majority of States that rejected it did so for purely for selfish political interests. In the matter of assaulting democratic principle, the ruling parties are supreme.
Many Nigerians are of the clear opinion that if people have suffered to entrench Democracy, enough time should be devoted to it to germinate fully. So many aspects of democracy are so delicate to be left in the hands of the legislators (dominated by the ruling elite) alone to be toyed with.
Electoral processes should be a matter of national interest for a Conference or national referendum. Others agree that the piecemeal amendment of the Constitution by the legislature in Abuja would lead us nowhere, but problems and instability in the future.
In the confusion of lack of issues before Nigerians for the next elections by the combatants, it is necessary for the media to ensure that those who want to lead us should unfold their plans comprehensively.
It is admirable that Dr. Pat Utomi of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) has started with his brilliant analysis of Nigeria‘s problems and has offered (as he often does) practical solutions to put the country on the path of glory and development. The pity is that the eminent Professor heads a small party, whose chance in our own type of elections looks dim.
The tragedy of Nigeria is the dominance of its policy by little minds and the endorsement of their roles by the Constitution. These leaders see Nigeria as their fiefs and the riches of the nation, as their inheritance.
At the time Nigeria is seriously looking for a real break_through towards progress and economic development, some are busy drawing the country back to raw age of civilisation by sticking to the principle of zoning.
The beauty of zoning is its reliance on equitable sharing; the success of it is the divine intervention of recognizing the right of the smallest of the minorities to the rulership of the country. A future political danger has been solved, leaving the way to development and progress.
The problem of President Jonathan is his strong party inclination in an environment that requires the characteristics of a mature statesman. He is the incumbent President of the whole country – a sort of father for all.
It is a pity that his ruling party has not been able to perform above the expectations in the provision of electric power and infrastructural developments.
President Jonathan should now see clearly beyond the cloudy but narrow vision of his party and appeal to all Nigerians.
He should take bolder steps beyond the ability of his average team. During the worst economic depression of the 1930s, President Roosevelt of USA used a budget deficit approach to finance public works and infrastructural developments in USA at the height of capitalism (private sector).
Britain used cheap money policy (low interest rate) to develop electricity supply and building of houses, clearing of drains and building of docks, etc. During this emergency period, the President should discard the timid approach of the Central Bank on the question of banking loans to the real sector of the economy – banks now favour service industries.
President Jonathan should appeal to sectors which need structural adjustments to achieve true federalism and fiscal responsibility; resource control and equitable sharing of national revenue.
Workers also need decent wages to be able to live well in a country that has respect for Life and Property. We need assurance on some of these points before we are led meekly to the slaughter‘s house.