Sunday, April 14, 2019
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Jos, Nigeria

he news broke Thursday that Africa’s longest serving leader and president of Sudan – President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir – has been sacked from power after about 3 decades of presiding over his people by his country’s military. He was immediately arrested and escorted out of power in a most unfashionable manner but at the same time, that manner well suited his greedy hold on power. In another word, he deserved the disgrace.

For the records, Al-Bashir ruled the Sudan for almost 30 years and right in the full glare of the African Union, made absolute nonsense of democracy. Democracy as it is, made little or no impression on him and the results are quite obvious. During his reign, his inability to foster equity and guarantee a sense of belonging to every Sudanese led to the balkanization of the Sudan into what we now called South Sudan and the Sudan.

South Sudan was therefore excised out of the Sudan. It was applauded then as victory for the people who wanted sovereignty over continuous civil war. But the truth was simply that democracy was being strangled to death and it was the slow-motion picture that was the cinema we referred to as independent south Sudan. We take for granted – in this continent – men whose sole prerogative was to demean democracy.

We are too comfortable with the idea that any leader’s greedy desires had some way of being satisfied in a democracy and that whatever any leader did as president was normal whether it plunged the country in to civil war or economic recession. In that regard, we are yet to truly define – but that is because we don’t even understand – what democracy is and what it is not. If Al-Bashir believed in equity and fairness, there won’t be the south Sudan.

Equity or equal citizenry, fairness and justice are by the way the factors upon which democracy flourished. In other words, democracy is about equal citizenry and equal citizenry is democracy. When it is said democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It only meant equity – that is to say; every citizen’s input counted! For ten years, Al-Bashir preferred war to peaceful and equitable coexistence with the oil-rich south.

Whatever made the mostly Muslim Sudanese to clamor for his removal is not yet fully understood but suffice it to say that his ouster was only going to compound issues for the Sudan just like in Libya. For one, when the issue raged between the oil-rich south and the Sudan, many bigots in Sudan – just like we have them in Nigeria – openly sided with the oppressive regime captained by Al-Bashir instead of allowing equity and fairness.

Today, the rich revenue that would’ve profited the Sudanese – the Sudan and the south Sudan – is profiting the imperial powers. Juxtapose Al-Bashir - a known enemy of democracy – with what the APC is doing in Nigeria; and you’d find out that the African Union just stood moping while sworn enemies of democracy did what they liked. Was it right for the ambition of selfish men to supersede the content of the constitution?

The answer is NO. Now, where was the AU as Omar Al-Bashir – a legitimate member of the AU – manipulated self in power for almost 3 decades? Was it taboo if the AU called certain leaders to order once-in-a-while in the spirit of sportsmanship? Why wait for the army to be seen as stabilizing agent before they reacted?

If you asked me, I’d say that the military should hence be globally recognized as stabilizing agents if that will help check the impunity of the political class. For when politicians and those that blew their trumpet cannot learn to check their excesses and, when even the AU was afraid to make input; what they ask for indirectly was for the army to come help out.

I watched the protests when it began in Algeria and I knew that with success there it will soon spill over to any neighboring country. Ordinarily, the misconception that a politicians’ selfishness can be satisfied in a democratic system of government explains why Al-Bashir had to hang on until the military stepped in otherwise I am aghast at the reasons he may have to insist on staying on even when the people said the stay was enough.

For me, Al-Bashir’s ouster meant a number of things chief of which are our mindset as Africans, the place of religion and the great value of equity – that is, peaceful coexistence. For me, I believe that Africa was only fooling self by holding onto a style of governance that is characteristically opposite to our character and our culture. Democracy is for civilized people. It is for those who are ready to accommodate people of other cultures and belief.

Democracy – in short – is not for those given to tribalism nor is it for bigots or the greedy. The place of religion in a democracy is not in the front but behind. The quest for Islamizing the Sudan at all cost ended in the balkanization of the country into two. One would’ve expected that the Sudanese (the Sudan) will have no reason to revolt against the one man who promoted religion over the dynamics of economy and government.

In short, I expected religion to be a major earner for the Sudan’s economy but the economy is not only in shambles; it has not being revived despite that Sudan no longer had infidels as citizens! The oil that would’ve benefited all was lost because of the stupidity of men like Al-Bashir who continued to think that religion had any capacity of earning revenues.

Because of extremists like Al-Bashir, the value of democracy as a system of government that encouraged equal citizenry, peaceful coexistence and prosperity for all is never appreciated. Since the Arab Spring of 2011, I noticed that it is only extremist countries that are either enthroning or dethroning leadership. I am yet to see prosperity, ingenuity and joy in those countries or any secular country where there was so much discontent.

Just see how religion is destroying the northern part of Nigeria. Of what use – for instance – will the gold mines in Zamfara serve the people or even the federation now? And instead of Africans from Nigeria to learn and profit from what is currently going on they are busy holding onto the same sentiments in the hope that a day will come when every Muslim will turn to Christianity or when every Christian will turn to Islam.