Viewpoint

June 15, 2024

Democracy Day: Electricity bill is larger than my salary

Democracy Day: Electricity bill is larger than my salary

By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Today has been declared a public holiday by the Nigerian Government to mark Democracy Day. May 29 used to be Democracy Day until then President Muhammadu Buhari put forward June 12 as the real McCoy.

The greatest piece of fiction written in Nigeria since the publication of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart back in 1958 was the fantastic yarn that promoted May 29 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

Some of us are even hard put coming to terms that there is civil rule in Nigeria let alone democracy. At the very least, to practice democracy a country has to first boast of democrats.

Where are the democrats here? I can’t see them, not even with the aid of binoculars and the microscope. Maybe Nigerian democrats are much smaller than lower animals and organisms like amoeba such that they cannot be seen with the naked eyes!

May 29, 1999, ought to have been reserved as a special day of mourning in Nigeria, for it’s on this benighted day that all the hopes of the enthronement of democracy were buried in the mausoleum of military legerdemain.

The military class who foisted General Olusegun Obasanjo on hapless Nigerians killed democracy on the altar of what has come to be known by the maverick musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as “Army Arrangement.”

It is cool by me that that the annulment of the June 12 1993 election by the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida makes more meaning as a date to crow about democracy. But the question has to be asked: Where is the democracy in this land?

The idea had been that nothing can ever be worse than Buhari as a representative of democracy, or lack thereof. But Buhari did cryptically prophesy that he would be missed after he’s gone.

A lot of blokes here in Nigeria are already missing Buhari. Truth to tell, most Nigerians in Buhari’s time could pay their electricity bills with their monthly salaries.

I have to admit ruefully that the electricity bill I have to pay monthly is larger than my take-home pay. Every Nigerian is now perforce coerced to be corrupt in order to survive in this stone country.

Vanguard News