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The travails of democracy

BRITISH war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill described democracy as “the worst system of government – except for the others.” Euro-Americans like to trace the origins of democracy back to the ancient Greeks. Among Athenian aristocrats, it was not a polite word. It derives from the Greek word “demos”, which means rule by mobs. The philosopher Plato despised it, preferring rule by philosopher-kings.

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Buhari, Winston Churchill and Obasanjo

Even before former President Olusegun Obasanjo released his now most famous letter I had my misgivings about how history would treat the government of Muhammadu Buhari. I once raised the issue with a senior colleague whom I know had similar fears about the trajectory of this government and he dismissed it in the following words: ‘I guess if the President goes on like this he might end up getting the Winston Churchill treatment’. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Winston Churchill was the 2nd World War hero who led Britain through some of their darkest hours to victory, but ended up defeated in the very first election after the war.

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