Democracy in Nigeria: how far?

It’s an open secret that many things are still not working well in this 50 year old country. Yet, many people will try to make me cry by reminding me it is May 29, democracy day they call it. We operate a system which makes 90% of its money & financial security through crude oil. But even the region that contributes this oil is underdeveloped. We operate in a democracy whereby the votes of the people do not count in elections again. We have a nation where there is political apathy between citizens & the government. Of course I do not blame the people for their lack of interest in politics. Many have been frustrated, left desolated and depressed by the insensitivity & unscrupulous nature of the government to their needs and calls.
Do we really practice democracy in Nigeria? May 29 marks the 11th year of democracy in Nigeria but still, we don’t enjoy portable water, uninterrupted power supply & the basic amenities that we need. Thousands of people die daily in our hospitals due to lack of efficient working facilities. Our leaders still travel abroad to access the standard health facilities over there we are left to manage with the old fashioned equipments here.
. Education should be free. Why should the government charge students for school fees when their parents are being punished with unemployment and joblessness. A lot of money are being wasted in Abuja. Children of looters are the ones schooling abroad and in these private universities all around. Yet, the masses are not being given any chance of survival. Infact, the masses’ best opportunity which is public schools-primary,secondary,tertiary- are fast turning to private schools with fees being hiked at exorbitant rate.I know of a state-owned tertiary institution in Osun state which collects more than 100,000 naira as tuition fee.
In Nigeria, we only follow what philosophers call “Thrasymachus belief”. That is, “justice is the interest of the stronger”. When a political office holder has not been affected or disturbed by an anomaly in the society, he or she will not correct the situation. If there happens to be an epidemic disease in an area or a road is in bad shape with many potholes, the government will not move to correct that problem until it affects someone in that government. Not until a governor or minister discover how bad it is to get stucked in an unnecessary traffic hold-up, they won’t see reasons to tar the roads .
What we actually have since May 29,1999 is alienation of the people. Infact, May 29 should not be democracy day but “masses movement day”. The masses should come out & question the activities of these “so-called leaders”. Is it democracy when the people cannot have access to portable water,electricity supply e.t.c.
Someone like Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was young like us(Nigerian student) his own predecessors, Pa Awolowo and co were busy preparing a future for him and his generation so as for them to also have an headway. Through selfless service, Pa Awolowo was able to create free education for all in the western state. But when Obasanjo got to the apogee of power in 1999, he began to create ways for private universities to emerge and to take control of education in the country. Olusegun Obasanjo is just a despotic autocrat.
Nigeria footed the education of Olusegun Obasanjo while he was young. He enjoyed the free education he couldn’t provide during his own time and infact, now that he is old, Nigeria still pay him salaries and pensions. Yet with all that he has got from this country, he has never for once see a reason to pay us back in good and in kind. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo created all this “useless” Open universities during his regime, where people get “stupid” and “unpracticable” degrees in sandwich courses. The word “sandwich” in the language context means a food that is for refreshment, not the real food. With this, Obasanjo ridiculed and worsened our education to the sorry state in which it is.
The major defect in our electoral system is our constitution. According to the constitution we have, precisely section 131, the least qualification required to contest a presidential election is school certificate. Now, could this not be a reason why many of our leaders are illiterates. The constitution does not give any chance to the masses. It is an open secret in the Nigeria of today, you need at least 100 million naira to contest in the Senate. You will have to buy campaign buses, buy cars, build houses for the traditional rulers and settle the local govt. chairmen before you can even be sure you are really contesting. Now, how many men of integrity in Nigeria has such money to waste. The “wicked” constitution does not support independent candidature.
Everyday, my prayer is always that all of Nigeria’s enemies should still be alive to be able to witness the full greatness of this country which is coming soon. But to be really great, Nigerian people needs to ask questions. We need to question our leaders who walk about around us. When the majority is passive and dormant, the minority will continue to deride them.


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