NIGERIA has a lot to learn from its founder and former colonial master, Britain. The series of events that led to the forced resignation of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, reconfirm that in the UK, the people are the boss.
Their power to hire and fire remain inviolable. Firmly keeping elected leaders within their leashes has prevented the country from falling behind after its colonial feeding bottle was removed. Britain has remained among the world powers politically, economically and militarily.
Boris Johnson, who likes to see himself as the reincarnation of Winston Churchill, came aboard on the crest of getting the Brexit impasse “quickly done”. Four years later, his huge popularity burnt out as his party started losing series of by-elections. But how did it start?
Two main issues and three other minor ones led to Johnson’s downfall. The first was the MP, Chris Pincher’s men-groping scandals. Johnson was severally officially informed of the allegations. Yet he appointed Pincher as the Conservative Deputy Chief Whip and claimed he knew nothing about the scandals.
The second was the “Partygate”. He attended a party organised for his birthday in spite of the COVID-19 lock-down rules. Rather than apologise to the parliament and by extension the people, he lied to them that “all (COVID-19) guidance was followed completely at No.10”.
Other wider issues include the Ukraine war which has raised the cost of living, Johnson’s role in the failed attempt to block MP Owen Patterson’s suspension over corruption and his increasing display of lack of focus as a leader.
Boris Johnson was guilty of lies and cover-ups. He displayed deep personal character flaws. His predecessor, Theresa May, resigned because of her inability to push through Brexit, not character issues. Once mass resignations set into Johnson’s cabinet, he was forced to quit. The people had spoken.
Here in Nigeria, Boris Johnson’s “sins” will not be enough to raise any eyebrow. How many people in high places fell over COVID-19 lockdown violations in 2020? In spite of obvious failures, which lawmaker will dare to table an impeachment notice against President Muhammadu Buhari? You cannot sue him or any governor because they are covered by immunity and imperial power.
Our democratic system is a travesty. We collect bribes to elect politicians. They can only get out after enjoying a full term. Even the lawmakers are almost irremovable.
In spite of huge obvious personal baggage, our next president could be someone who should be in jail. A failed political party could still get the mandate to lead for another possible eight years.
The 2023 general election is indeed a huge opportunity to turn a new leaf for Nigeria. Unless we are able to sack our elected leaders, we will remain a huge joke as a country.