By Philip Agbese
“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.”? J.R.R. Tolkien in ‘The Lord of the Rings’
When loosely applied, the quote taken from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is apt for the Nigerian situation. Apparently, we have not only forgotten our recent history but we are on the way to being lost and losing our dear nation if nothing is done to stop the constant call to anarchy by some politicians who should, by all standards, know better. Statements which were once dismissed as “empty threats” from bad losers has been translated into concrete actions that are, today, eroding the very foundations of this country.
Democratic dispensation was ushered into Nigeria in 1999, leading to the emergence of the Fourth Republic. This came after a long time of despotic military rule in the country. Democracy was highly embraced by all with expected hope that it will deliver good dividends and socio-economic development.
Sadly, not long into this system of governance which we have long awaited, the Nigerian polity has become heated with almost more than a fair share of challenges, namely: corruption, electoral abnormalities, politics of godfatherism and mudslinging, incessant poverty reinforced by mass unemployment, insecurity and a host of others which are boldly threatening to truncate democratic stability and consolidation.
It is almost as if we have not travelled far from where we were prior to 1999; just because a few politicians think that we do not deserve to be happy, because they have been ‘wronged’ by not being entrenched in office or the fact that their political party is not in office.
Sadly and unfortunately, by protecting these new, strange ideas, we evolved a ‘Nigerian Democracy’, one which the rest of the world looks at with such strangeness that, in saner climes, what we call ‘democracy’ will have no name, colour or brand. Just that. Anywhere-bele-face-democracy.
In fact, the impediments to the nations unending desire for a true democracy seem to assume a more perilous proportion by the day. Have the men who hold sway in our democracy – politicians – been able to help the situation? Hardly. They have set themselves against the nation and the government which they should be looking out for. To put it right, they have shot themselves in the leg and they do not mind; as far as they can hobble on. As a result of the boundless madness, impunity, abuse of the law, ethnocentric yearnings, political regionalisation and a security situation which has been long ignored for too long, as well as other issues which have become synonymous with our ‘personalised’ brand of democracy, many have even dared to yearn for the return of the military.
The people we have as politicians are so clueless that some of them, witlessly, have continued to lead this nation down the lane of destruction with their remarks, approach to this brand of politics and love of self above all. Many of these ‘politicians’ who have no idea of what is fair and just clamour day and night, doing all they can, at any cost, to become our leaders – even when they have a history of stealing the nation blind at any given opportunity.
These anarchists masquerade as politicians and dare to take us back to the days of barbaric governance, making unguarded statements and sneaking behind some flimsy, badly interpreted law to take undeserved refuge.
Should we be worried? Yes, we should be. Anyone who is not genuinely mortified by the unfolding nightmare being brewed by the some ‘party’ leaders and chieftains is guilty by consenting.