Democracy at the Crossroad in Nigeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe and in AfricaProf.R.A Ipinyomi Sunday, August 11th, 2013
By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
Getting to a crossroad when one is on a wilderness journey can be challenging and requiring a sound, correct and a quick decision. Choosing the wrong paths always ends disastrous whereas making the right choice will be profitable in time, pleasant experience in the journey and getting to the Promised Land at the end. Like the prodigal son many countries in Africa have gone their own way, lost connection with common value systems, went on the way of corruption and self pleasing, ignoring parameters that would lead to development of Africa and the dignity of Africans, and they live only to please a few donors.
On the other hand nature has been kind to Africa that if we had the correct leadership we would have been donor givers, made Africa a haven on earth for others and Africans dignity would have been second to none. Unfortunately we always find ourselves at the crossroads because of blind leaders and inept administrators, because our competitors know that Africans have potentials second to none, because our adversaries and colonial masters are still living with quilts and doubts about letting Africans go. Already they wish to keep our icon on a life supporting machine fearing, not for Mandela but, what would happen when they turn off the life supporting machine. We are once more appealing to all that, whether Mandela lives or dies, nothing would happen negatively to the continuous coexisting of the black and white races in Africa or anywhere else, only let’s trust and love each other passionately. Such attitude would only lead to finding genuine solutions to the political troubles in Nigeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and others.
In Nigeria, the general elections in 2015 promise to be the defining factors, because we do not have genuine machines that would conduct credible elections, divorces of ethno-religious factors. The elections would not be about moving Nigeria forward on things we presently lack such as, economic development, improving the state of our security, improving our dilapidating infrastructure, improving on our healthcare system, providing standard education for all and making it affordable, and the like. Unfortunately these major components needed in a modern society would not determine how we vote, and the votes we cast may not matter after all. We still bury our mind in factors extraneous to development and building a modern economic system for a free society. Ironically the Brotherhood in Egypt, now several weeks on the street try to regain what they carelessly lost by their insensitively to popular aspirations, find themselves as prodemocracy rather than otherwise. Their wrong approach to politics and lack of realities has put Egypt at some crossroads. Similarly in Nigeria the elected officials only caring for their personal pockets and comfort and totally neglecting their constituencies have put Nigeria in a crossroad. If this is how democracy works, where an elected person earns 36 million per month whereas the electorate earning only 18 thousand per month, (a Senator earns 2,000 times the minimum wage he recommends) then democracy is evil. Politics and money are different games. Politics is to make a name and achieve objectives; not where to look for or steal people’s money. Only those who have vision and aspirations for their communities should ever participate in politics. Those who wish to be rich may go into business and only partner with politicians to enact favourable economic laws on taxes and investment environment.
The newly registered All Progressive Congress APC extending invitation to President Goodluck Jonathan to join their party goes to confirm that APC and other parties in Nigeria are filled with only reused and recycled old politicians. The composition of those who signed up to register APC gave us enough fear already; they are sectional and may not be inclusive enough. The ruling PDP since 1999 has led the country deeper into insecurity, dilapidating infrastructure and economy, inequalities of wages and opportunities, lower GDP and life expectancy, lack of job and economic hope for our youth, bigger division between Christians and Muslims to the extent that Bok Haram is still been fought and its sponsors yet to be publicly identified and nabbed. We wish the opposition parties in Nigeria would recognise the enormous responsibility awaiting them and respond correctly instead of just repackaging in new names. Similarly the continuous existence of Mugabe in Zimbabwe must be blamed on the opposition parties, starting from the Joshua Nkomo to the present Morgan Tsangaris eras. In Zimbabwe the minority white and the western democracy would receive the bigger blame than Mugabe at the end because they have made him more relevant than he ought to have been by their anti-people sanctions and postures for their own sinks. Here we find that the oppositions and the ruling parties are not different except in labels.
We must all agree that Nigeria consists of various complex socio-cultural diversities and requiring the intricacies of balancing these diversities within the polity for national stability. Nevertheless it has what it takes to be a great Nation without too much compromise to religious bigots and ethnicity. Nigeria is not lacking the human resource to provide good and effective governance for the nation but our argument has continued to be that since independence the wrong sets of leaders always emerge. After each election a good party should make overtures to those they believe have the capacity to assist them gain greater acceptability among the electorate, develop and build the nation accordingly, whether or not these are politicians. It is such people that should be paid the 36 million per month and not the elected individuals. Nigeria Senators should not have been paid more than the salary of a judge in the High Court or a lecturer like me in the University. Abuse of politics and its practice would always bring us to the cross roads and the first causalities are going to be these politicians and members of their families who refuse to understand.
Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi,
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