Democracy Day: X-raying the current dispensation

May 29, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Jerome-Mario Utomi



From all indications, it appears Albert the Great had Nigeria in mind when he defined a miracle as ‘a wondrous fact or event beyond the power of any creature and produced by the Almighty with the purpose of proving the truth of his existence.’


Nigeria becomes a fitting example of the above definition looking at the legion of challenges it had survived within the last three years. Fresh in our memories is the harsh economic depression (or is it a recession) that was designed by yet to be established architects and its exit of the recession in a manner that analysts described as an unmerited success.


To provide some context to this discourse, it’s not as if the Government did not make any effort to move the nation forward within this space, as they were appreciably locked down by the hydra-headed challenge with the dwindled economic fortunes prompted by the drop in the price of crude oil in the world market as a major impediment.


It is, however, an unhappy truth that contrary to this belief, especially when viewed from a wider spectrum, the vast majority of Nigerians with discerning minds seem not to concur with this position as they are of the opinion that not too strong political will and unclear creative leadership strategy for tackling these problems on the part of the government remains the fundamental factors responsible for this challenge.


To support the above assertion, critical minds have pointed out that ‘if we look honestly at the realities of our national life,’ it is clear that we are not marching forward but groping and stumbling; we are divided and confused; our moral values and our spiritual confidence sinks, even as our material wealth ascends.


Obviously, a well-crafted argument that has as a consequence brought political, socio-cultural, security and economic difficulties while painting a picture of bleak future on our geography.


Without much labour, insecurity is identified as the most fundamental of these difficulties in the country, with the blood of innocent Nigerians used daily to irrigate our arid political land by the herdsmen, Boko-Haram and other ethnic militia.


And, standing as eloquent testimony of the masses’ displeasure over this current security challenge is the recent peaceful protest/procession by the catholic churches in Nigeria where the church among other things explained that ‘’the procession or the protest was necessitated by the inability of the government to act on the several verbal and written complaints by the church; with regards to insecurity and bad governance, with the likes of His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie asserting that the president’s silence towards the killings showed that a cow in the estimation of the president has become more valuable than human lives.


Miserable as it is, this security challenge is made worse by our nation’s inability to meet up with the United Nations’ prescribed one policeman to 400 people ratio, while the hired policemen remained ill-equipped and police as a body underfunded.


As if that is not enough woe for the country, this period of our existence as a nation is also reputed as an era when the nation became more divided, when tribal loyalty is viewed stronger than the sense of common nationhood with different tribes/ethnic groups jostling to be more Nigerian than the other.


But if you think this is the highest challenge currently confronting the country, wait until you cast a glance at this; the Joint Health Sector Unions, the body entrusted with the management of the nation’s health sector has been on a protracted industrial action over the failure of the government to meet their demands. Lamentable but expected, within this period of the industrial action, many innocent Nigerians have descended down the valleys of the shadow of death over minor sicknesses.


Arguably a disheartening development but it’s also of appreciable importance to this discussion to mention that within this period under review, strike actions in our educational and other sectors have become not just incessant but a regular trademark to the extent that before the dust raised by the ASUU strike will go down, that of the NASU is up.


Another contentious development that demands attention is the orchestrated corruption fight by the Federal government. Objectively, the Federal Government may have created a cloud of opinion that views corruption as the enemy of the state. But doubt remained as the real fight only exists superficially; this state of affairs, has precipitated knocks and lampooning from all quarters with that of the Transparency International (TI) as the strongest.


The Group had through a statement dated Monday 28th May 2018 among other things complained that the Federal Government of Nigeria has in the run-up to elections expanded the use of opaque $670million a year – funds that fuel graft.


On the political sphere, a peep at the centre will reveal a not too impressive outing, with the squabble between the Executive and the Legislative arms which has refused to abate or wane as the most telling evidence that the centre cannot hold. In the same token, the just concluded Congresses by the ruling All Progressive Congress which was characterized by factions and parallel congresses is a pointer that nothing afterwards may have changed politically.


Meanwhile mixed reactions have continued to trail the management of the nation’s economic sector as many are of the opinion that the handling has not been too impressive. But as someone who cannot support an argument based on sentiment or allow sentiment to determine my actions, it is a barefaced truth that any nation faced with the above multi-faceted challenges, coupled with an epileptic electricity supply, non-functioning Refineries and unemployment situation will definitely not expect a robust economy.


Consequentially, therefore, it has become a common knowledge that the democracy practiced so far on our shores has neither underwritten social justice nor guaranteed social mobility.


Looking ahead, it is possible in my views, for this administration to achieve a people-purposed result. And doing that will necessitate the government developing the moral force to transcend from being self-centered to people focused.


Equally important, Nigerians on their part must develop the willingness to elect come 2019, leaders who can ‘demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads; those that will establish long-term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline to get a result’.





Jerome-Mario Utomi

Jerome-Mario is a Social Entrepreneur and an alumnus, School of media and communication, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

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