Nigeria – A Distressed Nation

Democracy as being practiced in Nigeria and most parts of the world seeks to involve every adult in the management of the affairs of his/her community, from the ward level to even the federal level.

The aim is to ensure that elected representatives, who are entrusted with the running of the affairs of the people, do so fairly, evenly and efficiently, to the satisfaction of the entire people or the majority of them.

Among the values of democracy are, participation by all in the process of decision-making, openness (or transparency) in the management of commonwealth and common problems, the right of the people to rebuke, correct and/or recall their representatives in government, who are not doing well, and the right and power to terminate through election a bad government and to replace it with another one at the appointed time.

Billy Graham, a famous American and world renowned evangelist, was reported in 1965 to have said, “This is the generation destined to live in the midst of crisis, danger, fear, and death. We are like a people under sentence of death, waiting for the date to be set …”

This is a situation in which Nigeria finds itself today. The problems of the country and the crisis are not a result of any one factor, but a concurrence of causes and effects, which combine to set the country for a conflict.

Some of the causes of our problems started from the structuring of the country by the military to fit its command and control hierarchical structure, which is, and will continue to be, a major factor that has been a potential source of conflict.

The Presidential system of government we are practicing has resulted to the present weak federating units, which have ensured, and will continue to ensure, dependence on the centre because each unit has lost the capacity to generate its resources. Due to lack of inclusive participatory and process-led federal arrangement, the country continues to remain without values and ideology.

The politicians used their ill-gotten money to acquire political power. In getting there, they want to get their money back. They enjoy the comfort of the political posts, which are too attractive and ensnaring. The people of this country are desperate to be freed from poverty and frustration.

We need homegrown democracy and not the one we are practicing. The elite are not interested in developing a middle-class – when such class will diminish their status and importance. The government must accept the fact that Nigerians have rights to life, dignity, personal liberty, fair hearing, private and family lives, freedom of thoughts, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association and movement and freedom from discrimination.

The present proposed coalition with Saudi-Arabia is purely a Muslem agenda. We are practicing the American Presidential System halfway. The system can be described as a “fable” with four strong legs: the Congress, the President, the Bureaucracy and the Courts, while our own can be described as a “stool” with three legs. Four legs on the ground are stronger than three legs on the ground, and that is why the Presidential system in the United States is stronger.

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