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Prologue: June 12: Nigeria’s Shadow Democracy

By Jide Ajani

Apart from crude oil, Nigeria also exports ridicule!
The type of image we portray of ourselves can be very damaging.

As we complain about the common streetwise fraudsters, so do we also complain about the crass ineptitude of our leaders!
Nigerians know how to follow a leader – for good or for ill.

To understand how crude and indisciplined a people can be, check their driving culture.

On almost all Nigerian roads, you are seconds away from witnessing a traffic infraction.

Once a motorist attempts driving against traffic, in no time he has a team of co-violators driving behind him.  Leaders: that is what Nigerians are looking for in whatever circumstance.

It runs rampant in almost all things Nigerian.  Including politics and political culture!

The world acknowledges that democracy is good for a people.

JUNE 12 RALLY: Comrade Rex Anighoro, Spokesman of NDPSF, addressing members of Niger Delta People Salvation Front, NDPSF, during a rally yesterday in Warri in commemoration of the annulled June 12 election. Photo: AKPOKONA OMAFUAIRE.
JUNE 12 RALLY: Comrade Rex Anighoro, Spokesman of NDPSF, addressing members of Niger Delta People Salvation Front, NDPSF, during a rally  in Warri in commemoration of the annulled June 12 election.

But are Nigerians good for democracy?  Think about that for a while!
20 years after the annulment of an election that was considered the freest and fairest, a good segment of the country’s leadership insists that it is a watershed event but that the country has moved on.  It was one fraud that sent the wrong signal about who we are as a people.
Yes!  The country has moved on.

But it has moved on in the wrong direction, doing the wrong things and relishing them.

Shall we begin to dwell on what happened?
It might be helpful but not too important.

So, on the past we must dwell in some ways if only it would create an inner awareness to learn useful lessons.

Therefore, what is the past?  What constitutes the past?  Is the past just the mere sum total of all that happened yesterday or in yester-years?  Of course yes!

Mind you, the past could also be any semblance of yesterday’s failings or successes.

If we agree on that, then the past is already here with us.

The past pokes fun at us, reminding us of how we think we can escape it.
The past makes a mockery of Nigerians especially its leaders, .

So, we ask: Why would a people feel comfortable in the very cold embrace of folly?

Why would a people accept a destiny, one concocted and that is at best unproductive and at worst short, poor, brutish, nasty and mean?

Why would a people cringe in utter helplessness in the face of deliberate injustice?

It is because we are Nigerians, a resilient people and our leaders take advantage of that.

So, 20years ago, defying the elements, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a president of Muslim religion extraction, not minding that his running-mate, a northerner, is also of the same religious faith.  But the leaders of the time conjured some reasons to annul that election.  Nigeria has not recovered since then.  Worse, still the reasons adduced for that annulment now peter into insignificance in the face of what Nigerian politicians do to win elections today.

Yes, we have civil rule.  But is it the same as democracy, where vote, real votes count; where there is transparency in the nomination process and where the might of the incumbent does not determine who controls what?

Like a sub-standard gauge, Nigeria has been practising shadow democracy since the nation lost that golden opportunity to build on the gains of June 12, foreign interference, compromise of the process, et al

Read June 12 @20: How far has democracy taken Nigeria?



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