Africa

Nigeria’s Polity and Paradigm Shift

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, a step forward or a step backward.   The recent political events in Nigeria calls to question the type of democracy we are perceived to be practicing.
Some of us still harbor the illusion that Nigeria is a democracy just because we elect our government. We seem to have some pretty odd ways of demonstrating our commitment to the ideals of democracy as an institution.
Democracy is not simply a political catchphrase but something very definite for us that we have relentlessly striven for a great deal, having in mind the inglorious years of military rule.

The beauty of democracy is when those vested with the responsibility of acting in the people’s interest, exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of challenging circumstances and the foolishness of democracy is when the governed armed with an inalienable right to express discontent against unpopular government policies suddenly turn deaf and dumb. “Nigerians”
We have condescended low to accept everything that comes hook, line and sinker. The anguish of helpless masses has fallen on deaf ears that I continue to wonder if those people tagged leaders are humans after all.

This anomaly is visible in all strata of the Nigerian nation; it is indeed ironic that lots of irregularities have been smuggled into the contemporary Nigerian society with misinterpretation of the constitution as a veritable tool.
Take the issue of governance in the context of majority and minority tribes as a case study. There is no constitutional provision placing the right to govern to the majority tribe or a particular geographical zone should produce who, what and when. This unwritten rule has further limited us than uplift us.

In my analysis, I like to use Kogi state as a case study, because of its uniqueness and importance in the country at large, but it’s indeed a pathetic situation there if you ask me.
The potentials of Kogi state cannot be equaled in any other state, aside oil producing states, suffice to mention its rich arable land is capable of feeding the nation if properly harnessed not to talk of its huge mineral deposits too.
In Kogi state, there are three major tribes; The Igala’s the Okun’s and the Ebira’s just like the wider Nigeria with the Ibo’s Hausa’s and Yoruba’s. The Igala’s are the majority tribe in terms of population and landmass and the rest is better confined to the books of history.

This trend has collaborators in virtually all state of the federation too, so it’s more of a general phenomenon. It’s only in this country I see that eligibility for political position takes the dimension of tribe and the infamous zoning arrangement.
What happened to content of character of individuals and Blue print for development? What about exposure and experience? These are fundamental questions we need to ask ourselves.
Tell me of what difference will it make if an Okun or Ebira man that is intelligent, exposed and experienced governs Kogi state? Does it mean that the state will not move forward? Does it mean that because they are minorities, they cannot actually be better leaders?

This applies to the larger Nigeria; where I think emphases should be placed on the intellectual ability and blueprint for development of aspiring individuals rather than majorities, minorities, zones and catchments areas jargons.
I might sound a bit hard, but it’s a total deviation from the tenets of democracy for a group or sect to hold onto power like a birthright.
•Joshua Ocheja,
Lagos

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