Politics, they say, is a game of number. Whenever the aforementioned politics is said, democracy is its backbone. Abraham Lincoln, one time president of the US, defined democracy as the ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’. Today in Nigeria, the reverse is the case. The government is not of the people, not by the people as well as not for the people.
Any nation experiencing such level of deprivation cannot be said to be peaceful in one way or the other. The violence meted out to the people by social conditions such as marginalisation, acute poverty, oppression, political thuggery, fear and injustice are more harmful and grievous than any physical violence. Nigeria was once a land of opportunity to many Africans and a standard of what was good in the whole African culture.
It was also pride of black man everywhere and possibilities for the young generations as well as the love for peace and unity of one Nigeria, which until today has kept us one, as a nation and as a society. Precisely, since the advent of democracy on May 29, 1999, the oneness of Nigeria had been shattered. Religious bigotry inserted. Politics of do-or-die invaded. Ethnicity as well as religiously-motivated crises diluted the once known ‘WAZOBIA’ nation!
A solid foundation was laid by our founding fathers, whom till today we vow not make the ‘labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain’. With all the mineral and natural resources bestowed to us – be it crude oil, granite, gold, coal, etc, and also our richness in diverse cultural heritage and mass population – they are capable of proving Nigeria as the leading economy nation in Africa in reality, not on papers. The Nigerians of nowadays, in many social media platforms and blogs, are pointing fingers on each other, blaming each other for the wrong reasons, due to religious and ethnicity differentiations.
The fact that this issue is still with us shows that peer group has not been of much practical use. This is inevitable when and where reason is divorced from knowledge and the process of its acquisition. There is always danger in opposing what you don’t know, especially when you make the mistake of thinking that you do. But there’s even the greater danger in opposing that which you simply don’t understand.
Not that you wouldn’t but that you couldn’t. For when you don’t understand many things, you’ll end up opposing everything. Do-or-die politics had borne the brunt of the insurgency, which has led to the loss of so many lives, loss of livelihood of numerous others, burning and looting of business premises, market stalls, whole markets, public schools, recreation centres, etc, all in the name of winning. One of the major blows and challenges we are facing today is endemic corruption. Corruption had been the major blast in the Nigerian civil society today. What is the government’s take on this?
Absolutely nothing! Begging, hawking, ‘almajiranci’, kidnapping and some thugs group formed in the name of ‘ECOMOG’ by politicians to win elections in a do-or-die affair affect the growth of the economy of the country, which resulted in laziness for the youth, which foresees violence and threat as the major source of income for their daily ‘hand to mouth’. The educational system in the country is now flowing like a sinking ship. The ‘iroko’ tree once said by the giant Chinua Achebe is not only falling, but rather felled already! It’s said that ‘to whom brain is given, sense is expected’.
The youth, particularly, who are the future of Nigeria, are in our hands. And also great minds think alike. It’s only when you and I merge heads together, shun bigotry of any level, embrace the spirit of our forefathers, put Nigeria first before religion that is when our dream will come into reality.
Let politics be devoid of thuggery and violence and it should be an inclusive and participatory democracy for all level. And to the government, let our mandates be considered: conduct free and fair election and equal justice be regarded so as Nigeria will be free from this unending mental slavery. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.