Democracy ought to refer to ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people. By this simple definition, a layman can easily comprehend the meaning of the meaning of this. A system of government whereby people or citizens of a country elect a government by themselves to protect and assist them in realizing their life dreams and expectations. But can we say we are practising this in Nigeria?
Democracy in Nigeria has since changed to the government of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians only. Just look around you and see. There is no manifestation of democracy on the faces of the masses, the have-nots, the down trodden, the masses despite the noises about democracy and its invincible dividends, they are still wallowing in abject poverty, squalor, hunger, disease, underemployment, and other nefarious man-made problems. How else can one explain the bloated salaries allotted to the high ranking public officers and the servants are being owed many months of pay despite the meagre amount?
Even the educated ones among the masses, graduates of various fields of ten to twenty years in service aren’t even enjoying the dividend of the so called democracy. This is because the salaries of the so called educated man are struggling to meet up with the demands of the society. Majority of government facilities enjoyed by the masses such as portable drinking water, electricity, good health care system, free education etc. are all a story of the past. The common man has even become his own government, providing power, security, water and so on by himself.
From 1999, since the civilians took over governance under a democratic arrangement, we have suffered progressive deterioration of not only the country’s infrastructural network, practically all our institutions critical to socio-political and democratic advancement have collapsed. Even governance itself is grinding to a halt.
What is evident beyond any dispute is that most politicians, especially of the ruling elite have no positive idea what democracy is about, and it is debatable whether they have any clear cut plan for moving the nation forward. If our experience thus far is the benchmark, then we won’t be wrong to say that for the current breed of politicians in power, democracy is a government of the privileged few for the benefit of themselves, their families and their friends. The democracy we practise here at this point in time is one that fosters the most despicable level of corruption ever known in Nigeria since independence. It is choking the life out of majority of Nigerians.
Therefore, as far as an ordinary Nigerians are concerned, democracy is not for them, but for the politicians and their cronies. The masses are yet reap any dividend if ever there is any, of their democracy. What the masses are expecting to see is genuine, real and concrete improvement in their standard of living, and not fleet of foreign flash luxury cars, mansions and paraphernalia. We are tired of empty promises, rhetoric propaganda and long grammar. We need to see action, real action and not deception. Let the masses see the dividend of democracy on ground; we want to see it with our naked eyes, not on paper or on TV screen.
It is high time we stop living in a world of illusion, deception, hypocrisy or hide and seek game. We should face reality and stop deceiving ourselves. The world is changing very fast, some smaller counties, less endowed than Nigeria have gone far in terms of human development. Some countries are going nuclear, while we are still backsliding.
This is a plea to Nigerian politicians to emulate honest leaders like Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, and the likes who are all of blessed memory. All these people did not accumulate billions at the expense of the masses. They did not acquire or pile fleet of expensive cars while majority of the people (electorates) are suffering in silence. Our present political leaders should remember that they are not going to stay in this brief world over hundreds years. All of us in one way or the other will leave this world, whether we like it or not and definitely account for our deeds. It will be too late to cry when the head is cut off.