NIGERIA AND THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

Each time they announce that there is going to be an election in any part of the country, my heart will begin to pound heavily and uncontrollably. I will become worried, troubled, disturbed and restless. I will no longer be myself. I will lose sleep.

It is not because I would have any preferred candidate in any of such elections, such that if the fellow failed to win, the heavens would fall, or that I am a diehard supporter of any of the political parties that would be contesting any of such elections. Not in the least.

My worry is because I would be foreseeing the quantum of human blood that was going to be shed at each and every such elections; I would be foreseeing the lack of value for human life that is now prevalent in Nigeria; I would be foreseeing the callousness and brutality at which some people would be descending on their fellow countrymen, simply because somebody somewhere wants to become Governor or President.

When I foresee all these things and begin to ruminate or to think over them, I will become worried. My heart begins to bleed, and I will begin to shed tears. Then. I will begin to mourn the death of democracy in Nigeria.

Since 2015, we have lost count of human lives that have been wasted and the billions of naira worth of property that have been destroyed in the various elections that took place in different parts of the country, simply because some people want to govern us.

We have seen what happened in Bayelsa State in 2015, in Ondo State in 2016, in Ekiti and Osun in 2018, etc., during their gubernatorial elections, as well as in the February 2019 General Elections, where many people were killed in the name of democratic elections.

Election in Nigeria is now no longer the game of ballot papers and ballot boxes, where the electorate would be free to make their preferred choices. Election in Nigeria has become a battlefield, a tug of war, the survival of the fittest, the contest between armed military personnel and ordinary civilians, which the former, because of their superior fire power, had always won. This is a very big dent on our democratic credentials.

It is very sad that those presently at the helm of affairs in the country are not bothered about these killings. All they are interested is that they won elections, even if all the people in the country were killed in the process.

This is akin to what Chief S. L. Akintola, former Premier of the defunct Western Region, was alleged to have said during the “Operation Wetie” in the First Republic, when people were being slaughtered on daily basis, and Akintola said that he would be satisfied being the Premier of the Region, even if there was only one person remaining to be killed.

Unfortunately, our President has a military background. So he is not rankled by any sight of killings or violent deaths. That was why he told those who were not satisfied with the outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa States elections, to go to court, without saying anything about the killings that took place in those elections.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, himself, a retired Military General, also declared the 2007 general elections “a do or die affair”. That is why retired military officers turncoat democrats, can never give us true democracy, no matter their pretensions.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan will forever remain a hero of democracy in Nigeria when he insisted and still maintained that his political ambition was “not worth the blood of any Nigerian”. This was a sitting President who allowed all the abracadabra that happened in the 2015 elections where he was a contestant, and willingly conceded defeat. That was when the world gave Nigeria an excellent pass mark, that the country was on the path of true democracy.

Now, those gains have been reversed. You can no longer win election in Nigeria unless you are supported by armed military personnel working with the Independent National Electoral Commission, and in the end, you will be counting both the ballot papers and the number of people killed. That’s what they call democracy.

I shed tears when I saw the picture of young National Youth Service Corps Member who was on election duty lying stiff inside a coffin, waiting to be buried. (Hate Speech!). He was killed during what they called a civil election. Yet some people were celebrating that they won election.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, attributed the killings in Kogi and Bayelsa States to “fake policemen”, who he claimed, overpowered the genuine police officers deployed to the two states. This is absurd, the so-called “fake policemen” overpowering the over 60,000 police officers which, the IG claimed were deployed to the two states during the election.

In any case, if this were so, it is an open admission of the failure of government to perform its primary responsibility, which is the protection of lives and property. In that case, when a government openly admits that it lacks the capacity to defend or protect its citizens, the only option left to it will be to resign.

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