Growing up, one could easily differentiate the peace that was enjoyed during the military regimes and the crises that have been occasioned by the emergence of democracy. The military regime had the capacity to deploy swift responses to unrests that erupted and it also has capacity to hire and fire without any fear of political backlashes. There were whimsical tendencies over pronouncement of policies and cancellation of any. Such make the citizenry to develop and live with fear of consequences for negative actions that were capable of disturbing the peace of the society.
The need for respect for hierarchy and successions also makes appointed individuals to have the zeal to succeed on given appointments and there’s also less familiarities with people you’re superintending because like in state governments, the administrators are usually not from the various states they are posted to so the relationship automatically becomes that of work and delivery. Little wonder why the major achievements in the nation had been arguably made during the military eras where processes were mostly whimsical alongside the bureaucratic processes, a combination that somewhat worked less for freedom of speech and association which was largely absent.
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Fast forward to the emergence of democracy where expectations were that of freedom of association and participation as good as they are but with their resultant challenges which could sometimes threaten the basic existence of the society.
Democracy is indeed supposed to be a very progressive mode of governance owing to the opportunity for participation by all members of the society containing people with different modes of ingenuity. However, the only ingredients to getting the optimum benefits of this beautiful democracy as described above is the sanity of the players. How sane are our own players in Nigeria? The crises that have riddled the nation and their resultant causes are a perfect answer to that.
A check into the major crises that had engulfed Nigeria from the emergence of democracy in 1999 to date showcases them to be a result of political militias that had been formulated for the sake of overpowering opponents and then ultimately transforming into monsters that cannot be tamed by even those who brought them about in the first place. The only thing that can make one to decide to employ militias for election victory is intellectual weakness to be able to formulate strategies that are sound enough to win elections.
Our democracy has only harboured very intellectually lazy individuals who see elections as a ‘do-or-die’ affair, thanks also to the lucrative nature of the politics even though that is normal everywhere. The people who feel they are intellectuals prefer to sit by the side to analyse and criticise and surprisingly also, when some of them get the opportunity to get in, they transform to become like the others and the cycle keeps rotating. The infiltration of these thuggish people into Nigeria’s political space is majorly responsible for Nigeria’s current state and something requires to be done to save the imminent breakdown of the society.
A lot of people had encouraged President Muhammadu Buhari to employ a military tactic in dealing with lots of issues just like President Obasanjo did which worked for him in the cases of Plateau, Benue, Ekiti and Bayelsa. People, however, forget that the circumstances have changed in the sense that democracy had just come during Obasanjo’s time while it has become more entrenched now with different lawyers interpreting the constitution the way they deem fit, most times sentimentally.
I was having a conversation with a friend lately over the likelihood of the emergence of Kashim Shettima as the National chairman of the APC with a view to cleansing the political system to pay more attention to excellence as against brigandage as qualification for political participation. I totally concurred with such idea owing to the feat Kashim had attained in Borno with the support he gave to a brave professor to succeed him as governor and the progress such has brought to the state is a story for another day. In fact, a university professor has emerged as a local government chairman in the recently held local councils elections and such is exemplifying cleansing of the system.
It is all of these that has made us to continue to encourage participation in the system, especially by those who feel they have got what it takes to lead and make a difference. Those who believe that only ideas and strategies can win elections and not thuggery and guns.
May the Lord help us in our efforts to sanitize our polity for national development. Ameen!
Hashim Suleiman can be reached through email@example.com