Democracy

The One Year Hangover from Change

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The messiah of Nigeria and supreme anti corruption crusader who is friend to everybody and belongs to nobody (who cares what he said, he translated hausa to english and thought it would sound as good, it sounds better in hausa) has spent a year in office. We have had a year of the party who came onboard with the change mantra in power. I bet over this weekend we have read thousands of articles about this and I guess this is one more. Before I go ahead I would like to acknowledge that the PDP gave us 16 years of mediocre leadership and oversaw a kleptocracy which led to the limiting of the potential that is Nigeria. Whatever successes they might have had, Nigeria could have been a lot better; before someone enumerates the ways in which PDP succeeded I am neither a PDP nor APC voltron. My name is HRH SIR Farouk and I just want to make esoteric sense because obviously if I wanted to make common sense then what I would say would lack any insight and be the same with what any Tolu, Dike or Hassan would say. Anyway so a year after changing the party in charge and leadership, how do Nigerians feel?

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Break This Glass If Buhari Wins…

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As I write this, President Jonathan has called to congratulate President-Elect General Muhammadu Buhari on his historic win. It is the first time an incumbent president is losing in Nigeria. Prior to this elections and with the powers of procrastination I started writing a post which lay as a draft in my wordpress about how to win an election in Nigeria and the points I made were thus Read the rest of this entry »

Nigeria’s 2015 Elections – A Forecast

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An interesting and quite methodical forecast for the upcoming elections. I rather agree with a fair amount of the forecasting just that I see voter turnout in the Northeast to be slightly under 50%. I also see the voting pattern being slightly different in Adamawa, Edo, Imo and Rivers with PDP getting slightly more votes than forecasted in those states. I however think there will be an increased percentage of votes for APC in the North and South West in General with the voting pattern of the middle belt group left a bit in the air. If we have a free and fair election then we might have an election that can swing either way. When forecasting we might have to factor in rigging in whatever form it might exist. I think a method of rigging this election would be preventing election materials from getting to areas that aren’t a party’s stronghold. I believe both major parties have the machinery to rig, one through the power of government and the other through the power of money and thugs. Who do I predict will win? I see a slight victory for President Jonathan but then again the Nigerian people might pleasantly surprise me and opt for something different. Not that I think Buhari is better, I think removing an incumbent will send a shiver down the spine of the political class and tell them that if you do not perform you will be booted out of office. All in All, I hope above all for a peaceful election. Either Buhari or Jonathan, whoever wins or loses should accept the result and battle if they must through the courts.

I am also personally interested in the National Assembly elections happening tomorrow. I think we will see the emergence of other parties aside the PDP and APC as decent forces within the National Assembly. Now only if some of these parties when they win the National Assembly seats and gain political power come together and form an interesting third option in the run to 2019.

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kunledurojaiye

Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections are due to hold in a couple of days, barring any last minute changes to the rescheduled date, March 28. The poll was initially scheduled for February 14 but deferred due to ‘security concerns’, as stated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The postponement was not a welcome development to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the country’s strongest opposition political party, considering the massive momentum and traction gathered ahead of the planned February 14 date. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the other hand appeared to be in sync with the decision to reschedule. Popular public opinion holds that if the elections had been held as initially planned, the APC would have come out victorious, perhaps inching towards a landslide. This impression was further alluded to by the likes of Dr. Frederick Fasehun, leader of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), in a…

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2015 Elections: The Choice Before Us – GMB Part 2

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My Fellow Nigerians,

Not exactly 24 hours after the first post but I had to pause and watch the kickoff of both campaigns by the presidential candidates. For the first time in history GEJ sounded like he had some balls. Although he rambled on and on and was mostly on the defensive with almost every statement being prefixed with “they say”. However I do commend the passion he showed, a passion I never thought he had even though it was a bit of passion without substance. He did defend some of the accusations against him and dropped some new bombs at us (MEND hired to assassinate him, really bro? After you exonerated them 4 years ago?). Even if the opposition does not win the presidential elections, I believe our democracy has become richer because of the strong opposition we have. We are now seeing the ruling party sit up so to say because of their fear of the opposition which isnt an achievement in itself because indeed all governments should fear their people and we should be their first priority. Anyway, today let us enter the valley of the shadow of APC. Read the rest of this entry »

Democracy Day: What is Nigerian Democracy?

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Goodluck Jonathand

I was born and came to consciousness of what democracy was in an era of military rule. In primary school we were told that “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Sounds like a great soundbite and of course I thought my primary school teacher “Uncle Francis” (No, he is not my father or mother’s brother, we just had a habit of calling teachers Aunty and Uncle, smh) was so smart until I grew up and found out it was a quote from Abraham Lincoln. Back to the matter at hand, if democracy is people driven as implied by the definition; what if the majority of people in question are a set of selfish, bigoted, biased, unpatriotic, power hungry, wealth driven, corrupt and illiterate human beings waiting for God to come down from heaven to fix their country himself when clearly they aren’t God’s chosen people (read:Israel?)? Happy Democracy Day Nigeria!

Yes, some of you are thinking shame on me for being so darn pessimistic. If you are looking for a feel good message, I believe a prosperity preaching pastor would be more up your alley. Don’t get me wrong, I bet there are things to be optimistic about in Nigeria but forgive me if I fail to see them at this moment. Democracy is great in principle and when you look and think about it, Nigeria has managed to sustain 14 years of democracy and that is quite an achievement. From the pseudo-dictatorial days of Obasanjo to the laissez-faire, amnesty giving and slow motion presidency of Yar’adua to the clueless and drunken stupor of a presidency of Goodluck Jonathan (You gotta love a man that can handle his liquor. Link), of course one would be amiss to mention that all the regimes have had one thing in common, corruption to varying degrees of intensity.

I have heard it said that a people deserve the type of leadership they get. Definitely that is the case in Nigeria. How do you expect your leaders not to show ethnic bias and nepotism when majority of Nigerians mistrust people of other ethnic groups or regions or on the flipside only trust people of their own ethnic group or region? How do you expect the leaders not to be corrupt when people are consistently cheating each other in business, marketplaces and homes daily, when people are basically waiting for their turn to taste part of the national cake? How do you expect the government or leaders to value the lives of their citizens when the citizens don’t feel outraged or upset over the loss of a single Nigerian life as long as it doesn’t affect them?

Truly truly I say unto you that even if we have a free and fair election it wont solve anything whatsoever. Why? Well first of all if democracy is the will of the majority, what if the majority vote based on ethno-religious bias and do not vote for the most qualified candidates? Will that produce leaders capable of changing Nigeria? Do I hear someone living under the delusion that Nigeria is on the fast track to being a nation free of ethno-religious bias? (#nawash) What if the people vote based on monetary persuasion? When such leaders get elected and seek to recoup their electoral investment with interest through corrupt practices, are they not somewhat justified? What if the parties are only concerned with the attainment of power for the sake of power, influence and wealth and not because of any genuine desire to move the country forward? What if the politics of the country is not policy driven and almost all the parties have similar or same manifestos? I guess the concept of choice goes out the window. What if even an election amongst 35 governors cannot be properly done without controversy? Where is the hope for 2015? What if the country still has political godfathers capable of single handedly deciding the outcome of an election with their power, influence and wealth? What if the parties keep recycling the same politicians with the same ideas they had 30 years ago? What if the youth are not any better and seek power for the sake of popping more bottles of champagne in Abuja clubs? Democracy is a hell of a thing, no?

Democracy is a great thing when you have a people that are willing to put aside petty differences. It is a great thing because it gives rooms for a pool of ideas to be shared and the best ideas are utilized to move the country or polity forward. Democracy is a great thing because it allows for checks and balances and leaves no room for any individual group to completely control a country. Democracy provides for an independent judiciary, legislature and media. Democracy makes the government accountable to the people that put them in power supposing they did. Democracy is a beautiful thing when a country has moved beyond vying for regional dominance and seeking to find policies that will better the lives of citizens. Democracy is delivering dividends in security, education, health, power, infrastructure, agriculture, poverty eradication, reducing the wealth gap, fighting corruption, fostering unity, peace and progress.

Once again, Happy Democracy Day my fellow Nigerians. Ladies and Gentlemen, What is wrong/right about our Nigerian democracy? How can we make it better? Is there hope for this country? Will the poor not wake up and eat the rich one day? I humbly await your comments.

Democracy Day and Democrazy in Nigeria: Celebrating Pharisees and Poor Performance

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John the Baptist

So tomorrow May 29th is Democracy Day here in Nigeria, a day created by our former President, Olusegun Obasanjo to celebrate democracy or more accurately celebrate his ascension to the throne of the Nigeria nation because in essence that is what the democratic experience in Nigeria has become, a monarchial system with the president at the head. It is a system whereby a strong willed president can get his way most of the time. This is not to discredit the role of the opposition in the Nigerian democratic experiment or the role of the people. The legislature for the most part has remained a rubber stamp for executive policies. It is perhaps of recent that I have seen some semblance of a sign that the legislature is making an attempt to do its job (third term dismissal, subsidy scam probe, pension scam probe, etc). With that said, I sat down yesterday and watched the church service in commemoration of democracy day.

It was an event filled to the brim with who is who in the current administration; it had the president and his entourage in attendance, senators, some governors, representatives, generals and chiefs of the armed forces and paramilitary services. Not to be counted out of the festivities was the acclaimed godfather or our president, Chief Edwin Clarke. I spotted him dancing and jiving with a mien of self-satisfaction that his boy is at the helm of affairs albeit a dilapidated state of affairs. I am sure the billions in his account might be a more accurate reason for his satisfaction. Ole/Thief/Barawo knows no ethnic group or tribe, for all have chopped in our nation and come short of the glory of God. Perhaps that is just conjecture. There was the unmistakable presence of a group of Christian clergymen from several branches of the Christian family. From what I gathered, these were the group of pastors and men of God who had the president’s ear. Of course they had every right to be there after all, this was a church service.

The clergy men went on and I was amazed to see that it seemed that they were in a competition to see who could pray the most and for those who were able to give a sermon, we witnessed the cushioning of criticism of the government and the state of affairs in Nigeria today. This is not to say they did not lament the state of affairs in Nigeria today. I remember the prelate of the Methodist church I believe couching some criticism in his over an hour long sermon! Yes you read that right, ol’ boy was speaking for more than hour. It was almost like each clergyman that came on was being paid by the hour or minute and hence proceeded to give the type of long, wordy and boisterous prayers. This reminded me of what Jesus said about the Pharisees and Sadducees in the bible,

“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with verses of scripture inside and they wear extra-long tassels on their robes. And how they love to sit at the head of the table in banquets and in the most prominent seats in the synagogue!” – Matthew 23:5-7

“Two men went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed the prayer, ‘I thank you God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even life his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.” – Luke 18:10-14

I am not a fan of the president but I do feel like he is surrounded by sycophants who don’t tell the poor man some hard truths and I feel that there is nowhere where this is more evident than in his relationship with the clergy. Our president was acclaimed to be God’s choice for Nigeria by many of our pastors who showed religious bigotry in the last election, some with subtlety. Basically, they implanted a sense that voting for Buhari was akin to voting for the Devil’s choice. How true that is, I raise my hands in ambivalence. Some of these clergymen surrounded themselves around the president after his election and proceeded to reap the fruits of their labor. This labor however is not labor in the lord’s vineyard; it is labor in an earthly vineyard, yielding wines of power, prestige and wealth in some cases. Based on hearsay, people even give contracts to some of these clergymen to give to the president. He listens to their advice more than some of his ministers. Ladies and Gentlemen, which way Nigeria? They pray with the president every Wednesday and Thursday yet we are not seeing any results. Are these men praying to God or to Mammon?

Before you label me antichrist, I am not against prayer in the corridor of power. I was just a little annoyed and disgusted by what I see as the president’s need to press upon the Nigerian populace that he is a religious man. He puts together these showy services every democracy day, Independence Day and so forth. He has it televised and broadcast for all to see. I riddle him this, kai Mr Azikwe (any self-respecting Nigerian will demand our president remove Azikwe from his name, we no gree!) when are you going to televise your governance. In fact we should have cameras follow you everywhere like Big Brother so that you won’t be able to engage in corruption. If anything going by the current state of affairs in Nigeria and insecurity, the president should engage in prayers asking for God to have mercy on this nation for indeed a lot of things are going to shit. Mr President, we don’t need to see you on tv engaging in prayer, pray in private and deliver results because if I were to go by the correlation between the amount of prayers we see from you and the progress in this country, I will give up on faith and become an atheist. Yes, I was that offended by the service.

Democracy they say is a government of the people by the people for the people. This was what I was taught in primary school. Out of the 51 years since independence, Nigeria has experienced 23 years and counting of democracy. So in reality, that is almost half! We are no longer a nascent democracy. We should demand from our government good governance, transparency and performance in all areas of endeavor. I am not Ezekiel, so I won’t bore you with the litany of problems present in the country. If you live here or read the news, you know it. This is not lamentations. Our government should listen to the truth and stop all this perambulating like headless chickens. It is a government and party that is afraid of the truth that will engage in exchange of insults with Buhari who basically said using a hausa proverb that rigging won’t be tolerated in 2015. Mr President focus on the present, let 2015 be. If we are truly in a democracy, the people will decide if they want you to stay longer. Shikena. Heck, if you perform a miracle turnaround of Nigeria in the next 2 or 3 years, I will campaign for you. I swear by all that is good in this world. As for the legislature, when a former president calls you armed robbers he knows what he is talking about. You accepted bribes in the past to pass his executive policies so of course he has the guts to confidently say what he did. Your dignity is already soiled in the minds and hearts of the Nigerian people, there is nothing you can say that can convince us otherwise. Through your actions, win back the Nigerian people.

Forgive my rant, it is my style. Democracy in Nigeria today for me means high handed people in power who fail to listen to the people until it is too late. Democracy is power to those who can afford to have a voice. It is not power to the people, the people are busy trying to survive and make it while the dividends of democracy have been insecurity, higher cost of living and poverty. It should never be the case in a country that the cost of dying is cheaper than living. Dear clergymen who surround our president, do not obfuscate the truth. Speak the truth and it shall set you free. Dare to be that lone voice in the wilderness much like John the Baptist crying, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” I truly believe that this democracy is heading to hell in a hand basket unless we all stop lying to ourselves and speak the truth and demand service from our rulers. For in our democracy today we have rulers and kings not public servants.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the reading public, what does democracy mean to you? What should our democracy be like? Is the force feeding of the Godliness of the president not a subtle way of suggesting his infallibility?