Democracy of propaganda


Even Nigerians themselves by now must have accepted their fate that hoping that anything good will come out of the type of democracy practised in their dear country is nothing but a wild goose chase.

After more than 24 years into the current so-called democratic dispensation, it is doubtful if citizens can point at many things as being the benefits of democracy and as the masses continue to look far into the horizon, there seems to be no iota of hope that things are ever going to get better. What is more, the first 16 years were spent under a party that failed to lay a very solid foundation that could have transformed the country into a safe place for all.

The man at the helm of affairs at the time spent most of his tenure travelling all over the globe ostensibly to invite investors into the country. Nobody among his coterie of ministers was able to remind him that there was no need for such globe trotting and all he needed to do was to first of all fix his country and investors would start trooping in on their own.

How will an investor in his right senses consider a country with an intractable epileptic power supply as a fertile ground for investment? In any case, he had declared at a time that he was never under any obligation to accept any advice from any of his special advisers. It was after two full tenures had been wasted that he suddenly woke up from his slumber and started flirting with the idea of third term.

To achieve his phoney ambition, he made overtures to the National Assembly so they could alter the Constitution to pave the way for the actualization of his coded plans, forgetting that such action would amount to changing the goalposts at the middle of a match.

He was so desperate to have his way and, therefore, overlooked the overwhelming excesses of the then-first National Assembly which appropriated so much of the nation’s resources to themselves, thereby laying a foundation for successive national assemblies that have continued to portray themselves more of national locusts.

To add insult to injury, the same over indulged first National Assembly sold off the Apo quarters built purposely to house successive National Assembly members to themselves thereby forcing subsequently elected members to seek accommodation elsewhere, all expenses bankrolled by the state. It took people of goodwill to frustrate the bid for third term and the baton was handed over reluctantly to someone not well suited for the job because of health challenges and whose regime later represented another setback for the country.

Yet, in spite of the shortness of his administartion, President Umar Musa YarAdua still succeeded in leaving an indelible imprint on the sand of time and in the memories of Nigerians.It is to the credit of the graceful YarAdua that the secret manipulation which has remained the biggest hallmarks of Nigeria’s electoral umpires was exposed as he openly confessed that the election that brought him to power was far from being free and fair. It was also the same highly sincere leader that brought lasting peace to the Niger Delta through his granting of amnesty to the warring militants thereby proving that what governance requires is more of intelligence than brute force.

Yar’Adua’s untimely death brought a tragedy of very big proportion to Nigeria as the country got into the hands of those who officiated over total liquidation of Nigeria. The gentleman that succeeded YarAdua was obviously too calm to steer the ship of a country as big and diverse as Nigeria and simply watched on as things moved from bad to worse, the highest point being the issue of the Chibok girls.

The ouster of the regime remembered mostly for its plundering records brought renewed hope as the new man in the saddle had recorded some enviable reputation in the past and everyone had hoped on him to make a big difference. And quite as the people thought, his regime showed some seriousness at the beginning, which everyone thought was a sign of many good things to come.

Most of the key players in the former party were quizzed and made to cough out part of the public funds they had embezzled. The government also declared that the country was embarking on single account for the entire country and everyone hailed the idea as long overdue and would block all loopholes and frivolous spending without accountability.

The first shock the nation got was that rather than “naming and shaming” those who were found guilty of stealing public funds as the regime had earlier promised, everything was done under concealment while everyone waited with bated breath to see what the overall outcome would be .

Worse still, instead of the number one citizen continuing in the monthly presidential chat where the citizens were briefed about the state of the nation, the citizens only kept guessing until the information minister lost his fame and everyone started holding whatever he said with a pinch of salt. The regime later became notorious for approaching the National Assembly almost every time to approve the ceaseless loans, which fact were more than what all the predecessors combined took.

Of course there were some landmark achievements also recorded by the administration such as the completion of the second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the restoration of the rail system, and the establishment of the project called NPower, which provided some engagements for unemployed youths, among others.

But by the end of his eight years reign, most Nigerians were more than convinced that Mohammad Buhari had done more damage to Nigeria’s economy than all those who ruled before him though the damning claim was never substantiated.

Now, after all said and done, the same party still retained power by fire by force and the fate of Nigeria and Nigerians continues to hang in the balance. Those who have the means are relocating out of the country in large number while those who do not have such an opportunity continue to pray for divine intervention.

Oyewusi the coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote from Lagos.

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