The Travails of Democracy with Compromised Leadership: Can Nigerians tarry longer for democratic dividends?
Since Nigeria attained her independence, she has always fantasized with democracy, even when under the reign of military juntas. However, since the advent of democratic governance in 1999, it is quite evident that we have successfully made mince meat of electoral process by bastardizing all elections we have organized till date. It is instructive that the results obtainable in these exercises were end products of what Nigerians themselves put into the process in terms of their willingness and eagerness to make elections counts in terms of caliber of peoples that emerged from these elections. It is quite clear that the institutions built to sustain our democracy are at best structurally unsound, deficient, and derelict.
The resultant effect of structurally deficient institutions play a significant role in the quality and caliber of political practitioners, representations and performance of our political institutions, most especially in responding to socio-economic needs of the teeming masses of the country. Our inability to conduct fair and clean elections in this country is a classic testament to our country’s political leadership, and entrenched stake holders enduring desires to perpetuate the status quo through obvious illegality they continuously perpetrate on the country, and its hapless citizenry.
It is crystal clear that Nigerians have not seen any dividend of democracy since 1999 when the PDP hijacked the instrumentality of states through dubious means. The national assembly, which is the political institution with responsibility to legislate laws that would be impactful on the country and its citizens, has been on a crusade to take care of its own at the detriment of the country and the people that collectively sent them there to represent their interests. The national assembly members have done well in legislating themselves into prosperity while the citizens and the country are being pauperized.
The executive arm empowers by the constitution to implement the laws enacted by the national assembly, is completely devoid of practical vision, strategy and the will power to use its unprecedented powers to alleviate the sufferings of the citizenry, and improve the lots of the country amongst comity of nations. Instead, it has continuously executed self serving policies geared to benefits the few cabals that have hijacked the country. In the absence of visionary leadership, anyone expecting concrete achievements is merely building castle in the air.
It is this truism that informs the school of thoughts that successive Nigerian leaders really likes the status quo, and that they are in no mood to reverse it. All pronouncements to the contrary were intended to deceive, raise hopes that would ultimately be dashed. There is no dearth of common sense in Nigeria, it is quite abundant, but the personal interest of the country’s leadership trumps the national interests. Once this occurs, it is the citizens that bear the brunt of deliberate and calculated executive inactions.
Conversely, Nigerian judiciary has played significant roles in the unfolding saga of building a perfect union. As the last resort for aggrieved to obtain justice, it is not unblemished with the pervasive corruption that enveloped our institutions. It has been noted for delivering justice for the highest bidders in the midst of empiric evidence that ought to dictate otherwise. This notwithstanding, it has of late made moves to install integrity and probity into its operations through some landmark judgments that reversed some miscarriage of justice associated with 2007 gubernatorial elections in the country. States like Delta, Oshun, and Ondo and Ekiti States in the south-west had a change of State executives as a result of these land mark decisions by the appellate courts. Numerous legislative seats also changed hands due to court decisions that right the wrongs. It is hoped that judiciary would henceforth operates with integrity and professionalism so that it meets its basic responsibility of delivering justice impartially, and without fear or favor.
The challenges of Nigeria state is not only predicated on the governing institutions alone, The citizens of Nigeria are very culpable in ruination of what ought to be a vibrant, virile and enterprising country. the deplorable state of Nigeria is exacerbated by the Nigerian factors such as , lack of willingness to demand accountability from their leaders, acceptance of debased moral values that celebrate criminals instead of making them account for their sources of wealth, civil and political timidity, cowardice and political illiteracy. All these anomalies are well known and documented by the political and business leadership, and they reinforce the underline factors that make for these malaises.
A nation actually gets the leaders it deserves. It is garbage in and garbage out. If the public does not invest adequately into the process and procedures that lead to the selection or elections of its leaders, the end can be assumed as having justified the means. Our leaders are products of our environment, culture, beliefs, and totality of our native systems. Nigeria nation need a complete renewal by emphasizing our moral values and beliefs, change of mindsets, and national reorientation
The 2011 Elections:
I do not think the current elections will lead to selection or elections of leaders that will initiate moves that will begin to correct the existing malady in or body politics, and our socio-political institutions due to the above mentioned malaises. It is my firm belief that the current president is clueless, uninspiring, visionless, timid, and does not possess the intellectual acumen to help shape the way out of our current predicaments. He is firmly beholden to the powers that be, as he is just a reflection of power. It is not possible to expect somebody with no power to exercise it. His stewardship so far is subpar, and I have not seen anything in his actionable plan that marked a clear departure from the subsisting mantra of his predecessors. I quite have a contrary view to the school of thought that he should be given a chance because he is the country’s first University trained to aspire to the exalted position of the president of the federal Republic of Nigeria.
An aspirant to this position must bring something unique to the table that totally differentiates him or her from the pack. I have not seen the character and temperament that are sin qua non to the office of the president of Nigeria in President Jonathan Goodluck. Nigeria needs somebody that knows what constitute power and its usages. She needs somebody that is bold, assertive, and above all charismatic, with ability to visualize and articulate where he or she wanted to take the country to, and identify ways and means of accomplishing it.
The political parties of the candidates to the office of the president of Nigeria is worthy of analysis in respect to expected accomplishment of their candidates. These analyses helps to compare their parties platforms to their positions on national issues, identify trends in their past actions or professed thoughts that they have what it takes to execute their parties platforms. Understanding their personal beliefs in relations to the needs of the country, and ascertain if they possesses the gusto to put national interests above that of partisan politics will go a long way in electing the right candidates. Since the People Democratic party is the ruling party for the past twelve years, we have had ample opportunity to actually analyze its promises to actual achievable.
Our observation of its platforms to its achievable is quite damning. It has woefully failed to deliver in germane areas of security, infrastructures to propel economic development, agriculture, because we cannot feed ourselves despite the abundant of arable soil, mismanagement of the economy, pervasive corruption and run away unemployment. The health sector is virtually comatose. To be sick and poor in Nigeria is an instant death sentence, succinctly put by one of my friends’ resident in Lagos, Nigeria.
Juxtaposing the PDP to other political parties also present some challenges already identified in the country. The Action Congress of Nigeria controls Lagos State since 1999 till date. While some observers give praises to the accomplishments of the party and its government, it is my view that the performances of the state was rated high due to lack luster performances of the Federal government and PDP controlled states, where looting of the treasuries was the order of the day. States resources were looted with impunity, until EFCC under Ribadu started to exercise its powers. ACN government is just performing marginally if one compares the resources at its disposal in relation to what it could have done with it; had it spent it judiciously to meet the developmental needs of the state. There is no doubt that there is monumental corruption in Lagos State most especially in the management of internally generated revenue. The current governor could have achieved more if he had the power to do so without undue interference from the party. It is my submission that the ACN government has performed below average despite the hoop la about its achievements.
The ANPP controlled states seems more enterprising than the PDP as well, but in totality, they are all performing below their potentials in terms of the way the states resources are deployed to meet the needs of their citizens. Based on observations, it is crystal clear that, ACN or ANPP government would be more beneficial for Nigeria, if we based it on what they have been able to do in the states they controlled. We have twelve good years to analyzed PDP records against other parties, and will humbly conclude Nigerians were better off in 1999 than now.
Jonathan and the Power of Incumbency
There is no doubt in my mind that, Jonathan and his handlers within and outside the party are not leaving any stone unturned in their effort to sell him as the messiah. Lots of money and other capital are daily deployed to see that project Jonathan is successful. However, I was flagerbasted to see the show of shame and desperation staged recently, when Jonathan debated himself in the absence of other presidential candidates that boycotted the event because Jonathan was no show at the two previous debates. This is one incidence that makes me call Jonathan intellect to question. He must either be desperate in his attempt to convince Nigerians he is the most suitable for the job, or he lacks intellectual acumen to understand it takes two to debate a point or points of views.
For him standing alone on that podium, responding to already leaked questions was another low for us in Nigeria. Jonathan and his team were privy to the facts that other candidates had expressed their willingness to boycott that event; in that instance, the appropriate professional move would have been a news conference where he would have opportunity to read out the prepared answers to already leaked questions. The fact that his handlers sort for the questions ahead of time implied their guy is not on top of his game. The media group that connived with Jonathan’s team in this show of shame are not worthy of being members of the fourth estate of the realm. If the allegation is true, Jonathan and his team owes Nigerian Students or youth an unreserved apology for going against the moral teaching of honesty in all they do, including earning grades with authentic academic efforts. Had the debate actually happened, he would have cheated other candidates due to fore knowledge of the questions. This act is very unbecoming for a sitting president.
In conclusion, based on observation of unfolding socio-political event since Jonathan came to national politics with Late Yar Adua as vice presidential candidate, elected or “selected” vice president( Because the duo did not win the election), and as acting president and substantive president, it is my informed opinion based on totality of factors I considered germane to the discourse, It would be beneficial to Nigeria and her citizens if any of the three other presidential candidates of other parties wins the presidential election. Retaining Jonathan and his blood sucking Peoples destruction party in power will not augur well for corporate advancement of Nigeria. It is quite evident that ordinary Nigerian is yet to see any democratic dividends. They are worst off, and there is no assurance the situation will abate. But they have a chance beginning from this election to chart a new destiny of political participation that will usher in an era of promise made possible by collective awareness of their civil rights and powers exercised through ballot boxes. Judicious use of these votes and your willingness to make it count seems to be the only power you have to make the future generations proud of you.
I urge Nigerians for once to stand up to be counted. We must be vigilant and protect our votes. Protecting our votes is one of our basic civic responsibilities, most especially in this era of rigged elections. The only way to minimize incidences of ballot stuffing and stealing is ensuring you guard your votes by being physically present at the polling booths. If you just cast your vote and go home, you make it easy for Jonathan and his team to carry out their nefarious activities of stealing your votes without challenge. If you are there, may be; you may be lucky to have it counted and serve its intended purposes of sending Jonathan and his party packing from Aso Rock; and usher in a new dawn of possibilities for Nigeria and her impoverished citizens and generations yet unborn. God Bless Nigeria
Adewale Dosunmu, FLMI, AIRC
Allentown, PA, USA
I quite understand your position on the state of Nigeria, and Nigerians attitudes toward making it an enterprising country that we all will be proud of. I have hinged on this hope of having a country that I can confidently say works for me and many citizens alike. However, a better Nigeria continues to elude me and millions of patriotic Nigerians that have played by the rules without getting anything in returns. It is my hope that we get a government that will complement the huge human spirits Nigerians possesses.
My take is that, it is time for Nigerians to stop hoping and take actions about their welfare and that of generations yet unborn. The apt meaning of insanity is continual processing of a task in a particular way with the aim of getting different results. It is time Nigeria citizens put away the things that makes us a toothless bull dog in the affairs of our nation and act in a moral and convincing manner to enthrone sensibility into how we process our thoughts, and may be when we do, we shall come to realization that; that uncle that we all look as a champion is partly, and to a large extent; responsible for bringing the nation to her knees through deliberate duplicity in activities that take away from, rather than contributing to the advancement of Nigeria. May be once we can detach ourselves from these emotions, we would be able to take decisive actions against the people that have held this country hostage.
I do not advocate violence by this statement, but rather calling on Nigerians to use their constitutional rights to bring those that refuses to abide by the laws. We have enough laws on the books to make this country workable, the problem is enforcement. We as people can be a catalyst to the enforcement of existing laws. We need to start by demanding accountability from our elected and appointed officials.
For me, I’m tired of misplaced hope and resiliency. Our resiliency could better be used in other areas that would advance our society instead of docile compliance that ultimately leads us to the guillotine. We could be resilient in our agitation for equity in salary and emoluments of our law makers. There is no justification for huge payment of salary to these people without commensurate accomplishments. May be, being resilient in ensuring we do not allow our elected and appointed officials from taken us to the cleaners as being currently done could be a justified resiliency. I maintained my earlier stance that these people have succeeded in legislating themselves into prosperity. The members of our national assembly still remain the highest paid in the world. Have you felt the impact of their jobs in your life? Your answer is very obvious, or else you live in a different planet; or you just want to be outright mischievous.
God Bless Nigeria, and May he remove the wool from the eyes of its hapless citizens.
Allentown, PA USA
Adewale I thank u for making time to analyse all this political jagus were haven in nigeria but I have qustion for u , do u think party has any thing to do with our bad leadership , don't u think what we need is someone who can help building our nation and help develop our economy . Lets hope we put right people thanks
You asked a very relevant question about the nature and characteristics of leadership pervasive in our country, most especially within our polity. You see, the kind of leadership we have in Nigeria could be aptly described as transactional in orientation, no strategic dept, and completely devoid of progressive vision and ideas. It will be wrong if we classify it as visionless, because they do have their own myopic vision of enriching themselves by using the instrumentality of states to advance their criminal enterprise.
As far as I’m concerned, and based on empiric observatory facts, there is little or no difference between the leadership as represented by the ruling PDP, and the conglomerates of opposition parties like ACN, PRP, ANPP, APGA, CPC and hosts of other registered political parties. These political parties have a lot to do with the leadership and parties are mutually exclusive. These leaders or personalities formed these parties, drafted their manifestoes and political programs. Furthermore, carefully perusing their platforms would reveal minor but not significant differences in their approach or methodology to be adopted in solving what they perceived to be the problems of our country; or the program they believed would make a difference in the lives of ordinary citizens of this country. Mind you, these documents in its selves have nothing to do with the core believe of the authors. It is seen more as a business plan of the political parties. Their contents mean nothing unless efforts are made to actualize them through implementation.
The problem of leadership in Nigeria has nothing to do with dearth of competent leadership materials, because they are dime for a dozen. The issue here is that these people are completely overwhelmed by the organized cabals that have hijacked the country. One common denominator that runs parallel within the political parties is that those with good intentions and leadership skills that could get things done usually do not have the money to actualize their ambitions within these parties. The transactional nature of our politics makes it difficult for such people as well to be appointed to positions where they could use their skills and talents to help steer the socio-economic ship of the country towards prosperity and stability. The transactional nature of our politics was demonstrated by moves by powers that be within ACN in Lagos State to replace Governor Fashola widely perceived to be providing dividends of democracy in many forms to the citizens of Lagos State. They had to retreat once they realized the move could spell doom for the party in the state, consequently, the deputy governor was the casualty of that transactional move as she was replaced to placate the status quo.
To be candid, I do not think Nigeria will have the type of leadership that will propel it to relevance amongst comity of nations, stabilize the country economically and politically, and provide security of life and property if the current system subsist and I will tell you why. The rulers of Nigeria are to powerful and well organize to be dismantled by the current uncoordinated oppositions. The only way to change our country is mass citizen participation in the electoral process. Mind you, these people are always ahead of the crowd in protecting their illicit gains. The battle ahead is herculean for Nigerians.
God Bless Nigeria.
Adewale A. Dosunmu, FLMI
Allentown, PA USA