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Review of the 1999 Constitution and Nigerian democracy (4)

By John Amoda
THIS is why the Democratic Project in Nigeria must begin with the political formation of the project. And the primary institution whose raison d’etre is service on behalf of the mass operating on enough and less than enough household budgets is supposed to be the Organised Labour.

But what is the class formation politics of Labour as an agency of the democratic empowerment of the masses segmented ethnically, religiously etc?

It is in answering this question that there is need, to operationalise the concept of consolidation of the masses as the principal aim for sustaining the Democratic Project in Nigeria. The dictionary defines the verb consolidate as follows:

-to make solid, to unite or press together;

It defines the noun consolidation as:

-the act of making or process of becoming solid;

-the act of forming into a firm, compact mass, body or system;

-the uniting of several particulars into one body;

It also defines the attribute of the agent of consolidation, as that which tends to consolidate. The dictionary finally names the agent of consolidation as the consolidator, which it defines as a person or thing that consolidates.

When this is applied to the subject matter at hand – it is evident that the elite, that has routinised its internal competition for power through fragmentation of itself and of the mass into parallel socio-economic ethnicities, has no interest in acting as the consolidator of the masses into a unified compact body with the same interest in sovereignty: it is also obvious that such elite will not subscribe to the processes, ideas, ideals, norms and values that are consolidative.

It certainly will not do much to consolidate the ethnically divided mass into a class for itself – for this would be suicidal. The Nigerian Elite consolidates its own power as elite through the fragmentation of the Nigerians organised as rival ethnicities.

In other words, any action that consolidates the ethnic fragments of Nigerians into a Nigerian mass undermines the elite-mass dichotomy – such action or policy subverts Nigeria’s Elite Political Order.

And therefore to the extent that the Nigerian Labour is elitist to that extent will it consolidate its membership in the elite through the ethnification of Labour rather than by the consolidation of Labour. Is this presently the case? What is Labour’s Democracy Project?

What can we learn from South Africa and Zimbabwe where political labour has been more prominent? What can we learn from states of the Federation where the Labour Party controls the executive?

Thus, we see that the process of class formation is consolidative; and consolidation requires an agent, a consolidator. The process of consolidation of Nigerians as Nigerians is however conflictive. For there is obviously a clash of interest in power between the consolidators of the Elite-Mass structure of society in Nigeria and the consolidator of the Majority as the sovereign class in Nigeria.

How is Organised Labour to transform itself into democratic consolidative organ of Nigerians? What is its strategy for making solid, compact and unifying the mass into one body and thus transforming the mass into a class mobilised for sovereignty?

The fact however is that the Nigerian Constitution provides for Governments and political parties that are consolidative of the Elite- this is the import of Federal, State and Local Government character provisions for intra-elite distribution of power, privilege and preferences.

The present system of power and government are thus designed to consolidate the Elite and that system that is Elite consolidative functions to consolidate the ethnification of political structures, culture and agencies in Project Nigeria.

We now can see what sustaining the democratic project in Nigeria entails. It entails the recognition of the primary fact that Democracy in Nigeria is yet a Project and not an accomplishment; that it is also a class project; more importantly it is a project to constitute the Majority of Nigeria into the sovereign class. Such a project requires:

-An agent, the consolidator of the mass ethnically fragmented into a solid, compact class united in its interest in sovereignty;

-It requires sustaining, for the consolidation function is opposed by the present elite system of power and government premised upon ethnic segmentation of the Nigerian society;

-It requires a party that takes the following provisions of the 1999 Constitution as its mission and mandate and is organised to make these provisions of the Constitution “The Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy:

“14-(1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.

(2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that-

(a) Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;

(b) The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government; and

(c) The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.”


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