Robust Representation, Panacea for Sustainable Democracy

Sanusi Muhammad

Sanusi Muhammad

This opinion could have been published long before, this credible platform gives me the opportunity now to express the opinion that the fear of some nasty wall geckos couldn’t earlier permit.

While cruising on the ship of opposition camp in politics, one is compelled to develop thick skin against traducers, hired miscreants, jobbers, clowns, blackmailers and the usual mischief makers that wrongly believe the purpose. In this days of abject poverty and idleness, those on the corridor of power and their hangers-on and appendages, believe opponents are in opposition for recognition for favor or to have a share of looted public funds. In my case, that is far from the point.

First, one needs no recognition for any favor from any living soul or settlement for whatever reason because, that adds no value to the Marxist ideology we cherish. One needs no recognition from anyone for anything other than to do the needful and save humanity from quandary and hopelessness artificially created for selfish purpose.

In spite of the enormous natural resources and huge potentials, Wase Federal Constituency in Plateau State remains grossly and undoubtedly underdeveloped and presently under siege by rampaging bandits. Regardless of all the social and economic policies of the central government that were implemented piece meal by successive administrations, Wase federal constituency remains laggard in social, economic and political developments.

Political instability, glaring abject poverty, severe youth unemployment that has ‘helped’ to transform the youth into cheap political tools by their deceivers feeding fat on what rightly belongs to them, heightened crime rate, poor health-care facilities with the only cottage hospital in the whole federal constituency in dilapidation without equipments but only a recently donated furbished ambulance for conveyance of dead ones, pervasive malnourishment and, recently, banditry has been a the predominant feature, within the federal constituency.

The situation in Wase federal constituency certainly defies conventional logic— severe poverty amidst vast natural riches, agricultural potential and abundant human capital.

This “development anomaly” also fits into the trends and narrative of political instability within the federal constituency, for which it has become notoriously infamous and synonymous with. Indeed, robust representation and non-availability of approved and paid constituency projects is one of the major problems in the federal constituency and, by extension, other areas in Nigeria.

In retrospect, the myriad of the constituency’s problems can be attributed without fear of contradiction to the absence of robust and determined representation, democratic growth and development; thus effectively ensuring democratic dividends to be stifled and non-existent.

It is an unassailable fact that democracy as is currently practiced in the federal constituency has only produced unpalatable results associated with the nature of the Nigerian state and the character of our elites. Our democracy has thus far tended to promote inequality rather than equality.

Hence, there can be no genuine democracy in a federal constituency where the people are grossly unequal in accessing what rightly belongs to them (Zonal Intervention Palliatives) but forced by their tormentors garbed in political attire to sing praises of non-existing service before accessing crumbs.

Robust representation in the national assembly, on its part, is absolutely imperative for social and economic progress. It involves justice, equity, protection of life and property, enhanced participation, preservation of the rule of law and improved living standard of the entire people irrespective of any imaginary difference.

Representation is termed bad when it fails to achieve the stated purposes, deserves rejection and condemnation by all including those attached with normal sense.

Robust representation is about the performance capacity and intelligence of an elected representative or as it relates to leadership capacity. Failure of robust representation, therefore, could expressly mean failure of leadership and a catastrophe to the federal constituency.

For robust representation to be feasible in Nigeria, sound anti-corruption policies devoid of mere speeches for image laundering intent or lip service must be put in place. There has to exist a strong functional supervisory body to supervise the execution of all approved constituency projects, a viable and independent judiciary, and the attitudinal transformation on the part of our political elite, the absence of which robust representation will continue to be a mirage.

Of recent, there were spurious verbal and written allegation by hired agents that a cross section of the elites of Wase federal constituency, are ganging-up to unseat the four-term serving representative in 2023.

Those making the baseless, infantile and laughable allegation are either being mean with the truth, comfortable with the system, mischievous or forgotten the history of how the present, supposedly outgoing representative scaled to the Green Chamber of the National Assembly in 2007. The ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) surfaced on the political scene through a well coordinated gang-up of other parties.

Therefore, what is new in a political gang-up worth a shout if not for mischievous intention and to confuse the gullible for an escape route?

Also, for robust representation and good governance to be realized, there is dire need for the entrenchment of internal democracy and adequate funding of the political parties.

In Nigeria presently, the political structure is styled in such a way that political parties are funded by wealthy individuals as their investments and other wealthy party members, as opposed to political parties being self-funded as obtained in other democratic climes. A situation where political parties are hijacked by a few wealthy and influential individuals who determine those to be presented as candidates for elections is the reason why robust representation and good governance continue to elude the nation’s democratic governance.

As long as our political parties lack internal democracies and are funded by wealthy and influential individuals who dictate the pace of affairs in the party, robust representation and good governance would continue to be elusive and sustainable democracy non-existent. In addition, the successful conduct of free, fair and credible election is an important foundation of democracy and good governance.

Credible election ensures that the right and capable candidates are elected into office, capable of delivering on campaign promises and robust representation tailored to good governance, not selected and imposed candidates who are only interested in enriching themselves and their “sadistic godfathers”, thus advertently putting round pegs in square holes!

Robust representation and good governance can also be a panacea for conflicts in Nigeria. Since most conflicts stem from extreme poverty, inequality, ethnicity, alienation and bad representation and bad governance, good governance and robust representation are certainly be indispensable in effectively defusing tensions and preventing conflicts within the polity.

The civil society comprises numerous organizations which cover varied interests and segments of the polity, and it should undoubtedly become the major defender of our burgeoning democracy and also sustain it. Being closely involved in the government’s policy making and implementation, civil society can effectively monitor the democratic process and the performance of these governmental institutions and their programmes as is with BudGiT (Tracka) etc.

The simplest way to see civil society is as a “third actor”, distinct from government and business. Civil society is a reinforcing mechanism for effective representation and good governance in the overall interest of the majority of the people. The civil society has the responsibility in influencing public policy processes and consensus building on societal priorities.

They also provide a legal authority for public participation and the enhancement of civil education and expending opportunities for greater involvement in governmental programmes. In other words, civil society can positively contribute to sustainability of democracy by legitimizing and entrenching institutions and the culture of democracy as well as by contesting, de-legitimizing and opposing authoritarian, undemocratic and uncivil practices and dispositions.

Apparently, democracy transcends the forming and merging of political parties as the case with APC, elections, grapple for political offices and having a civilian government/leadership in power.

It is a process that involves the total and effective participation of citizens in determining policies and decisions which affect their day-day lives at all levels. It involves the responsiveness of the representative and government to the needs and aspirations of people.

It is based on the ability of a determined and focused representative not a mere political merchant in representation in search for business capital and other pecuniary interests to provide channels for discussions, consultations and mobilizations. Nigeria needs to develop her democracy in such a way that it largely empowers the majority of the people and guarantees their survival. Our democracy should be developed, whereby the system of representation and governance advertently and inadvertently develops the masses’ individual and collective potential, which would promote and contribute positively to the overall wellbeing of the nation.

Democracy viz-a-viz robust representation and good governance involves every stakeholder, particularly in the control of economic and political power in a way that inspires one’s faith and commitment in the corporate reality of the nation. This will certainly guard against the monopoly of state powers by the supposed “political godfathers” “money bags” and their lackeys. For Wase federal constituency to get robust representation as expected in a democracy and ensure the dividends of democracy reaches the majority evenly irrespective of party affiliation, the electorates must stand against perpetuation under any guise and change the changers in 2023 for fresh tested patriotic intellectuals with the wherewithal to takeover and fast track the federal constituency to pedestal of progress.

The federal constituency must and ought to unanimously unchain itself from the shackles of systematic slavery through deceit and pretence. The federal constituency is not for the progress or self-interest of an individual and group but yearns for even development at a lightning speed to bridge the widening educational, infrastructural and economic gap artificial created from epileptic and clueless and inept governance and representation that only creates miscreants that have the prison yards as their places of birth, brothels that catapults them to the standard of educated illiterates that survive on hooliganism, unbridled and unrefined sycophancy lacking appreciation and unruly behaviors for desperate survival not minding the gravity of their unruly behaviors on the reputation of those they claim as their parents which is alien and unacceptable to human civilization.

Lastly, it may interest the reader to know that Wase Local Government Area is so a fortunate single local government in Plateau State that enjoys the status of a federal constituency of its own but the least developed compared to other federal constituencies. It is a local government controlled by the ruling party, APC since 2015 that has the President, Governor, Senator, Member House of Representatives, Member State House of Assembly and the Local Government Council Chairman but is still lagging behind in all facets of development which sycophants, hangers-on and the undertakers hate to hear.

Is the situation not nauseating, provocative and sad that calls for change in 2023? Or are those in the majority comfortable with the situation at hand of rising rate of poverty, underdevelopment, insecurity and littered decayed infrastructure and perpetual stay in slavery unconsciously while hoping against hope? That’s a typical case of suffering and smiling with incapacitation to bail self out! Allah de!

Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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