Sunday 3 June 2018

This is Nigeria...Democracy Edition

I was thinking this morning...about Nigeria and Democracy. A few days before the May 29 Democracy Day, Falz (Folarin Falana) released a music video 'This is Nigeria,' a cover version of the Childish Gambino viral video 'This is America.' Within 4 days of its release, the video had 1.4 million views on YouTube. I wondered why. Are the viewers not aware that this is Nigeria or is there something unique about Nigeria they were expecting to see?

There must be something about Nigeria that people are itching to hear. As I thought about it, I recalled a news item during the week of a child that died after being bitten by a snake in a primary school in Delta State. My first reaction was 'is the school in the jungle?' What will a snake be doing in a classroom with little kids? When I also recalled seeing pictures of cows in classrooms in different parts of Nigeria, a pattern seems clear that the animals were probably in class to study our kind of democracy. After all, our politicians have been promising free education for all (including animals) since we adopted democracy as our system of governance in 1960. As I wondered why this is so, it occurred to me that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

In the hallowed chambers of the State and National Assemblies, the mace is meant to be the symbol of authority in a democracy, but here it doubles as a handy cudgel or missile. This is Nigeria. In a  democracy, voting is about freely choosing who represents you without fear or favour, but that is not how things are done around here. Election, both party congress and general election, is like a civil war, fighting breaks out, shots are fired and people get killed. This is Nigeria. The mantra amongst politicians is that you win, sorry 'rig' by all means and any means possible and later you can settle the case at the 'compromised' tribunal or courts. And after being sworn in, it is okay for them to steal shamelessly, according to the gospel of Rochas Okorocha. When I thought of this again, it is too painful to imagine, but then I thought, 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

Another election looms in 2019 and with fingers crossed, we expected to see an improvement in the build up. But then I turned on the TV and watched the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs, a public servant, leading the Buhari Support Group on a solidarity visit to the President in support of his 2019 ambition. I was like, 'where on earth does this happen?' But was reminded that 'This is Nigeria.' And then the chairman of EFCC, equivalent of the FBI in America, openly wore a Buhari 2019 badge to a public function. Hmm!!! I remembered how the sacked FBI chief, James Comey, stood up against Donald Trump, a sitting President and wondered whether we will ever get to that level of maturity in our democracy, but a voice in my head reminded me, 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

With 18 unbroken years of democracy, it should be expected that the difference between political parties should be ideological solid lines. But no, every one wants his own party. Now we have 68 registered parties with one party called 'All Blending Party (ABP)' and another 'Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP)' and I am really confused whether we are making progress. On a second thought, I see an opportunity for the ruling party, APC, to merge with and adopt 'All Blending Party' as its new name, considering that all the components parties holding the broom (CPC, ACN, nPDP & ANPP) are currently not homogenous and urgently needs blending. Also, the opposition PDP needs to adopt and change its name to 'Justice Must Prevail Party,' because with the looting and impunity associated with them in the past, it is only justice that can pacify Nigerians. But on the whole, when I considered the mess we are in, it was too painful to bear, but then I remembered that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

As the current political leaders marked 3 years in office, various governors were showcasing the dividends of democracy to their people. While Jigawa State governor was giving out bags of oranges and wheelbarrows to empower his people, Ortom of Benue had given branded wheelbarrows. While Ikpeazu was sending Aba cobblers to China for training, Borno State provided shoe polish kits and oranges to youths in Gwoza. As I wondered whether these are really dividends of democracy, I remembered that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

Surely, this is Nigeria and I know that we are going somewhere and the glory of God will show forth because 1st Peter 2:9 says, You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation....' This is our destiny and therefore we must collectively stop the cyclical nonsense of political voodoo-ism. Our democracy must move forward because 'This is Nigeria.'

Happy Sunday.

.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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