Like previous administrations, the Buhari administration’s approach to democracy cannot be defined as vigorously people-oriented, responsive, responsible, pro rule of law, for human rights, and civic participation. Under these types of negative elements, the common people find themselves under expanding poverty, limping development efforts, and problematic democracy. People who are dissatisfied, who are hungry for justice and fairness, resort to various acts of lawlessness and extremism. In a place where people wish and hope to gain from various types and levels of corruption and where people feel helpless and pained, such an environment provides a clear opportunity for terrorists to exploit the anger and frustration.
In a country where one side of the country, the people and their leaders demonstrate superiority of faith and religion and agreement when it matters most, the other side betrays each other’s trust, sells each other out for personal gain, pawns their people’s political future for personal gain, betrays collective agreement, allows themselves to be sabotaged, and acts as tools to be used against their people’s interests. As such, disunity, confusion, and cluelessness become the drivers of an unstable economy and an undemocratic environment. In fact, Nigeria will increasingly remain unstable, insecure, and powerless in empowering its population under these destructive conditions.
The new Electoral Act was supposed to guide the on-going election season and campaigns. Instead, the electoral process beginning with the primaries showed markers of vote buying, delegates swapping, pressured substitution, ethnic, religious, and sentimental considerations.
It is clear that a national type of policing has failed as the leaders and VIPs come before the community in terms of safety and security. While it is absurd to think that a national police chief stationed in Abuja, the nation’s capital, can effectively enforce policing for 200 million citizens, the politically and traditionally corrupt leaders welcome such an arrangement as such are against a decentralized police system, like state police.
In a society where the taste for standards of professionalism and leadership accountability is bitter, in the wake of any gross and multiple security failures, no one sees the affected leaders personally resigning or being forcibly fired. On June 5, 2022, a mass shooting and bomb attack occurred at a Catholic church in the city of Owo, Ondo state. By now, all security and law enforcement chiefs should have been given two options; to resign or be terminated, as they remain poor fits in terms of true leadership.
What about this: Central Bank of Nigeria governor Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, blazingly exhibited partisan politics by trying succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 in spite of the fact, such awkward behavior could be dangerous and compromise the autonomy of the apex bank. He is still in office as of this writing. So called leaders continue to show disrespect for constitutional rules, a continuous attitude of contempt and disregard for the people they lead, and they do it with condescension. The madness of annual, incessant, indefinite, or lingering strikes by public university staff and stiff fights with the federal government has continuously damaged the university system. Acts of lawlessness and barbarity that were widespread in ancient times and the Middle Ages are now common with citizens beheading and setting each other ablaze for various religious and nonreligious allegations.
In the recently scheduled primary elections, it is not uncommon for someone who emerged as a winner to be replaced with a name that did not contest due to influence or threats from the powerful.
As long as there is an ethnic, religious, and corrupt approach to governance, better opportunities for all will not be there. The menace of terrorists will grow. So-called leaders in various states and Abuja, refuse to put national interests ahead of personal interests, anxiety and apprehension increase, an enabling environment becomes almost nil, and agitation for self-determination deepens. The 2023 elections will be held, in large part, in February and March of 2023. Let’s see what happens. I worry. There are too many ideological, physical, egotistical and yeye (absurd) threats to our young democracy.
I wish there was a way to conduct national therapy for the collective mess up, but meanwhile, each Nigerian needs to reckon with their approach to the Nigerian space, take a check on their own attitude regarding their actions in society and other surroundings.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via email@example.com