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The Problematique of Nigeria’s Democratic Expeditions: Prospects

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The strength of a nation is known, not because of it size, geography, demography etc, but through it principles of democracy or the system of government it practices.

A quote from Sir Alexandra Pope suits the happenings in Nigeria political dispensation or theatre of politics in recent times; It reads, “for forms of government let fools contest; whatever is best administered is best”

The question is, the siege at the National Assembly on 7 August, 2018 is it right? Of course the answer is a hell no. Let it be record that previously, the Senate president’s house was locked down, and that of the deputy senate president was barricaded the security apparatus last month. Again, in the last administration of Jonathan, it good to recollect that the national Assembly was locked down respectively, and the members shamelessly climb through the gate, to beat the security agencies deployed to stopped them from getting access to the chambers.

Today, the same setback is taking place, what an unfortunate reality and retrogressive growth in the fibre of our national development as a supposed democratic nation. This is not healthy to the expected swift progress of the Nigerian state.

The challenge with Nigeria democracy is lack of constitutionalism, the constitution of the country is not been regarded, respectfully followed as a working compass since 1999. People act without considering the law of the nation.

My concern as an academic is this, what example are we leaving for the future generations and future Nigerians yet unborn? To be more emphatic and expressive, what example, precedent is the 7th and 8th assembly leaving for the future politicians?

Is this how our democracy should be run? Who is in charge of the law and governance of the nation and what is their mindset towards national integrity and progression?

It was in 1748 that Baron de Montesquieu proposed the principle of separation of powers. In his wisdom, he advised that the three arms of government must (should) be separated from one another and their roles distinguished for the main purpose of smooth administrations of the forms of government chosen by any state. This has worked in other nations.

From 2014-2018, we have the same bad omen bedeviling our National Assembly complex and members. What is actually the challenge? Is it the form of government “democracy” or the system of the practices of the said “form” of government that is the problem? I don’t want this to end as an act of accusation and counter accusation between the APC and the PDP, their supporters and the media analysts; I want therefore proposed a way forward to put an end to this unwarranted quagmire in our system. Nigerians must come together to condemned this act in totality and possible solutions proffer for the future success of the nation democracy.

In a country where the judiciary is strong and solid, the juries would have had the powers to put this democratic madness and abnormalities in order. Still, the judicial system in Nigeria seems to be compromised. They lack the will to stand for the truth because of their personal or collective sentiments and bias. So how can the nation progress when the executive arm is the only independent arm while the legislature and judiciary are use as tools by the presidency, either to mare democratic processes for selfish reasons or to try to distract the system from flowing fluently as it ought to be.

These happenings in our democratic expeditions aren’t right at all. This wrongful use of the military and paramilitary agencies against the legislative body is not good and must be stopped. Its highly regrettable to see such things taking place in this clime of ours. If nothing is done to put a stop to this phantasmagoria, illusion, mirage and phantom dispositions of the executive towards the other arms of the trio divides, the worst will happen again in the subsequent regimes. Note that the blocking of National Assembly didn’t start in 2018; rather it happened also in 2014. Nigerians mustn’t allow this to happen again, there is need for the nation to take shape.

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There is need for Nigerians to go back to the drawing board. We must revisit the tenets of our democratic journey as a nation. We must as a matter of urgency review the mandate, hub, glue and strength of our national cohesion as a people. The round table and the boardroom discussions must begin in earnest.

Things must be done according to rules, rule of law and in line with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No government, individuals, groups, cabals; establishments should play games with our nascent and burgeoning democracy.

Time and again, we experienced a setback in our laws during the Obasanjo led administration. We saw how he was almost stronger than the 1999 constitution of the nation. After his time in office, we thought the nation will be on the right path, then a surprise came under Yar’Adua’s administration, how his wife was more of the president because his ill health, the national Assembly was mesmerized. It is clear that since 1999 up till date, the legislative branch of government has been under siege.

This is a clarion call for all to put hands on deck to see how to make the forms of government chosen by the nation to flourish and move towards the right path. The political contention is too much. We need sanity in our polity. The nation, the people and the constitution should be made to be above leaders and political parties in power. The leaders must be checked by certain laws or invisible hands as Adams Smith’s will say. It was President Trump that said “in America we don’t worship government we worship God” can this be said in Nigeria to be true? It is high time we started worshipping God in this country and stop hero worships of leadership.

Finally, Alexandra pope perspective is simple, if a certain form of government is not working, progressing as posited, they people have the right to choose another form of government that will suite their system. Countries history differs; some are monarchies, parliamentarians, Authoritarians, communists, republicans and democrats in nature. That’s what they can practice best and can be well administer in their nation. That is best to them. Nigeria must begin to have a rethink on the best form of government that will be good to it, because the Democratic procedures aren’t working yet.

I look forward to seeing a new Nigeria, where things will work according to rules, regulations, standard, doctrine and acceptable tenets. This is the Nigeria of my dream. A country build in faith, trust, truth and commitment under God not under man’s will. This is a prayer, a request, a concern and a vision. This divisiveness must stop.

Rwang, Patrick Stephen,
Department of Political Science, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe state.

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