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Democracy on trial

By Sunny Ikhioya

THE  beauty of democracy is allowing the people’s will to prevail. It is when freedom of speech is not hindered and everyone, irrespective of status in society, conforms  to the  rule of law.

The next election will decide whether this country is ready to practice democracy as our part to good governance or, remain stagnant and retrogressive as is the case presently.

We were taken to ‘cloud nine’ in  2015, with a very strong opposition facing an incumbent government. There was balance of equal and opposite forces. At the end of the day, the opposition won. Never in the history of Nigeria has an incumbent President lost in an election. It was a new dawn for democracy and was hailed by people all over the world. Our leftist and progressive-mixed with fundamentalist opposition took over governance from a conservative ruling party, that was in government for over a decade and half. When this happened, the general belief was, the future for true democracy in Nigeria was bright.

But three years down the road, we have since discovered that, it is one thing to be in opposition criticising those in government and another thing to actually be on the driver’s seat. It is difficult to understand what has transpired inside the camp of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, party to have made it so ineffective. A ruling party, with absolute control of both Houses of the National Assembly, perpetually at war with itself, even with the near comatose state of all the rival parties, they could not move the nation forward. Everywhere one goes, one encounters dead ends.

They could not do anything right to make the nation move forward. The economy, security, rule of law, infrastructure progressively got weakened. Since they have spin doctors in their midst, they turned to the propaganda machinery that ushered them into office. They started giving excuses and blamed everything on the past governments and that was where their failure began.

Some of us had advised in the past that excuses never get things done but they just would not listen. They preferred the open brawls and insults because they believe they have a monopoly of knowledge. Now, we have a situation of two septuagenarians, whose antecedents are well to us, as frontline candidates for the presidential election of 2019.

How did the APC destroy so much goodwill that heralded it into office? Where have all our intelligentsia and so called progressives gone to? Why is there so much silence from the Civil society groups? Is it that they have started eating from the cake and so, have thrown integrity over board? How did a Festus Keyamo, become the Chief spokesman for a Buhari presidency? Things have really come full circle.

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It is now clear that the true progressives in our land are all gone. We miss the Tai Solarins, Kuti brother  Beko and Fela, Gani Fawehinmi, Aminu Kano and others. Professor Itse Sagay now defends impunity over rule of law. What an irony! The progressives have gone to sleep, like the ostrich bird with its head in the sand, pretending that all is well with the country. But, politics is dynamic and that is why one cannot be so sure. If you do not practice what you have preached all of these years, it will surely come back to you.

Those who criticise ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo for endorsing the Atiku Abubakar for 2019, but, can anyone real blame him? Where is the alternative as presented by the two major parties? He that is innocent should cast the first stone. Where is ex -governor Godswill Akpabio now? Of all the promises made prior to the 2015 elections, which one has been fulfilled?

The people are in a soporific state as the politicians continue to do what they like, so much arrogance and disdain for equity and fair play. They want to convince us that they are true democrats but you cannot obey the will of the people in the conduct of a simple primary elections. They would not accept the result of a clear victory as it happened in Osun state and they want us to believe that they are true democrats or progressives or whatever democratic name they use to call themselves. I have never seen so much goodwill squandered in such a manner and within such a short time by a political party.

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A government that was full of promise, with dynamic and sharp brains like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, allowing these brains to wallow on the side or border lines and allowing cronyism, ethnicity and other sentiments to take over governance. Indeed, it is a crying shame! The result has began to show. It is getting nearer to the people’s turn, the people are now wiser, they can no longer be fooled or manipulated like before.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, did it for years and failed on the long run. It is a surprise that the APC has not learnt anything from the fall of the PDP. Nothing has changed except excuses and propaganda and as we all know, these do not last.

Those in the saddle now must take note: it is not a matter of force or the use of security operatives, it is a matter of the people’s will. A government that does not tolerate criticism cannot move forward. Mistakes are normal but, how you handle mistakes is what makes the difference. It is only when the people wish it that rigging can occur.

When such institutions like the HSBC, world financial giant, gives a negative verdict on the situation of your country, it is time for those in authority to take note, you ignore it at your own peril.

Now, an Atiku who was given no chance and was so derided by the APC, is now at the forefront of the opposition  for  2019. It’s surely going to be interesting.





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