E O EkeWednesday, September 17, 2014




ike everything else, capitalism and democracy have ugly faces. The normal trend is that good men who love law and order win elections and form good government to protect the interest of all. Often they find that they have to confront criminal capitalism in form of organised crimes and unscrupulous businessmen and women who would not play by the rules. In such countries, it is not uncommon to hear of presidents and governors declaring war on crimes, corruption and impunity, justice departments filing cases against people and companies who have engaged in inside trading and courts convicting and finning companies, which have broken the rules to make excesses and illegal profits. These are the checks and balances that sustain a good society. In such societies, electoral crimes are taken seriously and the route to power is well guarded.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said to be the case in Nigeria, the reverse is not only the case, but the norm. Sadly, there is no indication that this is likely to change in the near future, as the Nigerian criminal fraternity tighten its hold on power and government. The latest is hereditary democracy, pioneered by Obasanjo, where the incumbents, instead of the people decides who succeeds at elections. Everything the Nigerian government has done and continues to do, runs in the face of norms, common sense and conventions. In spite of evidence which shows that many of the people who have occupied political position in Nigeria have stolen from the people, successive Nigerian governments have shown no appetite to bring them to justice or reduce their influence in the polity. Despite the evidence that Nigeria defence budget and security votes for many years have not been spent of the army, soldiers and security, there seem to be no appetite to find out where all the money has gone.

Ex-presidents continue to have a role in national executive council and convicted criminal continue to walk the corridors f power and sit in our parliaments. This is undemocratic and not seen in any other viable democracy. Ex senators and governors continue to have security provided by the state at great cost, something that is not seen in other democracies. The spoils of offices in Nigeria continues to balloon, fuelling the desperate attitude which characterises Nigerian politics. Politics in Nigeria continue to be an attempt by unscrupulous people to shop for the party that would enable them gain power to do as they please. This is why politicians move from one party to another. It is not politics of ideas, but of selfish interests, which allows them to reinforce a system that enables them to continue to exercise influence in the governance of the country and avoid accountability and justice. I do not see how anything will change in Nigeria if politics continues to be the pursuit of the selfish interest of politicians and their misuse of religion and ethnicity to achieve them.

The current trend is for serving presidents and governors, to select their successors and they make sure that they select one of their boys. Even though the evidence so far has shown that Nigerian politicians, being mostly unscrupulous, are not good judge of character, as all they have succeeded in doing is selecting someone worse than them, this continues to be the case. The experience of Obasanjo, Orji Uzor Kalu, and Obi has not convince the likes of Theodore Orji of Abia state that it is a bad idea as he schemes to select the person to replace him. This is why a man can be parachuted from one political party over night to contest for governorship or senatorial seat, in another political party as exemplified by the latest case of Nuhu Rabidu and many others in the waiting to jump ship. All these actively undermine the bedrock of democracy by collapsing opposition and eroding the power of the people to choose those who exercise power over them. This trend which was started by Obasanjo has now gone viral in Nigeria polity with the result that governors, senators etc., now select their successors instead of the people. Any wonder that Nigeria continues to go from worse to worst

The latest selection in Anambra state may not be going to plan with Governor Obiano demonstrating within 100 days that Nigeria has not seen the worst of graft and nepotism. He has appointed more special advisers that Barack Obama and David Cameron combined. In fact, appointing Special advisers has become the latest way politicians fleece the people by appointing their cronies into useless positions, which serve no useful purpose but for the only reason that it gets them into the pay roll of the government and provides the governors associates to facilitate the looting of the treasury. In Britain and America, there is a limit to the number of ministers and special advisers a Prime Minister, a governor or president can appoint. This is done by limiting the budget for special ministers and advisers and the president or Prime Minister or governor cannot exceed it. Recently, David Cameroon appointed more Minister than his budget allows and he had to reduce the salary of the leader of the house of Lords, when the House of Lord protested as she is woman and it was seen as discrimination, he said that the conservative party will make up the salary. This is how good democracy is policed and it will not cost Nigeria anything to simply borrow what is working in other countries.

Somebody in government must ‘give a dam’ that corruption is fast becoming the norm rather than the exemption in Nigeria and that nothing seems to express itself in Nigeria, in the form that it is supposed . We cannot continue to have a government which does not seem to care about the cost of government. Nigeria needs leaders who care that corruption is taking a strangling hold in the country. Leaders who are motivated and determined to do something about poverty, inequality, lack of opportunity, toxic ethnic nationalism, religious intolerance, impunity and corruption. Nigeria needs leaders who would be concerned about the way and manner Nigerian soldiers go about defending the country from terrorists and the fundamental right of the people. Nigeria needs a government which values human lives and shows that it pains it that more than 300 innocent girls are enduring one of the worst experience any human can endure.

I have no doubt in my mind that these are what we need to tackle to give Nigeria a future. Nigeria needs leaders who will actively and unapologetically roll back the place of religion and ethnicity in our polity and enthrone civil values that promote equality, tolerance, justice and peaceful coexistence. We cannot continue to have leaders who wear their religion in their sleeves, but have no qualms about engaging in corruption, and putting their ethnic and religious interests over and above the interests of Nigeria as a country. The idea that it is enough to appeal to God should now be jettisoned. God has given us common sense and knowledge to make the bad good and the good better.

This is the only way out of this quagmire, if we will not consume ourselves in ethnic and religious violence. We cannot kill ourselves out of this problem. Every drop of blood of the victims in this madness waters the seeds of intractable conflict and more violence. We need to purse, pursue peace and use force to enforce peace not to exert revenge. Nigeria security officials must ensure the highest level of professionalism in its battle insurgences and crimes.

No one needs to be murdered without trial for being a member of boko Haram, MEND, MASSOB , etc. No one needs to buried alive, kicked to death, beaten into a pulp or has his hands and legs tied together behind his back and left in the sun to die because he is suspected to be a member of boko Haram, MEND, or MASSOB. There is no need to detain people without trial when the government can set up a special court to try them. There is no need to assassinate people, when we can appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to expose that facts and allow the law to take its normal course.

Inhuman and psychopathic atrocities are being committed by Nigerian security forces in this war against terror and the victims are Nigerians like you and I. Great violations of human rights and acts of wickedness are being committed by men in position of power and authority in Nigeria and this cannot just go on. Nigerians must say that we have had enough of politics of divisiveness and pursue ideological politics of values. We cannot continue to tolerate leaders who refused to declare their assets, turned blind eyes to the excesses of their wives and relatives and children and continues to simply do nothing about institutionalised corruption.

I suppose it is time to declare war on criminal democracy, where the elected leaders use their powers to subvert the system and abuse it to their own ends. This war should start by all eligible Nigerian making sure that they are registered to vote and Nigerians demanding for an open votes register. It must be wrong for about 200,000 thousand people to elect a governor in a state with over 3 million eligible votes. Nigerian elections are rigged by institutionalised disenfranchisement even before they are conducted. Nigerian deserve better.