GEJ 2015: The Fate of Democracy in Nigeria at Stake

A few days ago, the people in the city of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja were hibernating in a consuming gridlock and swimming in a pool of transportation inconveniences as incepted by the declaration by President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term which was held at the Eagles Square. But, shouldn't that be as expected? Whether we choose to nod our heads in the direction of the president's second bid may not necessarily be of significance at this point, the onus is on us to understand that a compromise on a day like this is part of our civic responsibility too - as citizens for the sake of peace- while the traffic officials were out to do the best they can do at managing it.

While some are equivocal about his Excellency humble and bravery intention to continue his administration, especially his political opponent and counterparts, other have their comments reserved. However, what should be of more quintessence is the examination of his intention in the spectrum of democracy survival and sustenance in our nation. The pertinent questions we should ask ourselves are; 'if GEJ is maliciously engineered out of the second term administration, what would be the fate of democracy in our confederation, Nigeria?' what would be the gospel to be preached about democracy to the leaders of tomorrow-the youth? What would it profit the bank of our democracy under balance-sheet of its sustainability or continuity?

Plotting the line of the Nigeria's democracy Historiography, we all as citizens would acknowledge that its modal point was marked when the past incumbent president of the federal republic of Nigeria, General Abubakar, who succeeded General Sanni Abacha's upon his death transferred power to president-elect Olusegun Obasanjo on 29 May 1999- our Democracy Day.

Trialing down the line of our democratic rule a little further, we should recollect that Nigeria had been ruled by military leaders since Gen. Buhari seized power from Shehu Shagari in 1983 after what was believed to be a coup. Although democratic elections had been held in 1993, they were annulled by then ruler-ship of the federation -Wikipedia.

While the air has been cleared out that late Moshood Abiola was the winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, much ado has been the call for the change of the democracy date from May 29 to June 12 which has been theorized as the ideal democracy day by the political historians or scholars. However, the date of democracy may not necessarily be the focal point but the substance of democracy itself. The political antecedent which head butted the body of democracy and left its leg bones dislocated at that time is a déjà vu of what might be, come May 29, 2015 if necessary precaution is not taken and heeded to adherently.

Though many may fail to recognize; the journey of democracy in our federation clocked a hundred years this year- the preceding year to the next election- following the Amalgamation of northern and southern protectorate in 1914 by Lord Lugard, then the newly appointed and first British Governor-General of colonial Nigeria. The amalgamation created the nucleus of democracy that was later manifested in our constitutional imprints. As a result, the true celebration of our centenary celebration is most effectively showcased by our uplifting of democracy which is best demonstrated by everyone's cooperation irrespective of our ethnicity, religious, political party and other inevitable group belonging.

In corollary, following the prediction by the United States in 2006 that Nigeria would no longer be in existence by 2015 is a cue thrown by their postulation of our democratic stability and the chances of its survival in another decade of governances as at that year, 2006. Accordingly, it was said that Nigeria as a corporate entity was likely to splinter along tribal and sectarian lines by 2015 if some of the inherent fault lines were not properly managed and controlled.

However, if is this will come to fruition or not is hinged on the continuity of democracy under a favorable climatic political air. Nigeria can only break up outside or at the verge of a ruptured democratic structure. However one question to be asked at this point; is it a thing of coincidence that the break up prediction made by the United States in 2006 on the ground of tribalism and insurgency intercepts with President Jonathan second bid?

Consequently, the peg of democracy was drastically shifted by the sudden and sad demise of the late president, Umaru Musa Yar' Adua in 2010 having President Goodluck Jonathan as the vice president. This shift left holes in the ground of Nigeria politics at the federal level tailing down to the states and local government tiers. The prevailing conditions and constitution in the Nigeria's number one political house, Aso-Rock at that time realized and saw to it that the only person who by right and rite is deemed fit for the occupation of the presidential seat was then vice president.

Since the president assumed office till date, times have changed in quantum; crossing the river Jordan of militancy into the South-South to the land of Boko Harm insurgence has given serious head ache for the country as a whole. The first term of Jonathan administration was greeted with insurgencies and laced with Political disengagement and moral dept by other elects leaving blemished stains on political parties and party members that are yet to be completely wiped out. This begat a mirage of behavioral dysfunction, camouflaged under political hostility. These political disengagements which surfaced in form of party's members defection, party factionist, open call-out etcetera have all seem to be the strings been pulled by political antagonist to hamper the moving forward of democracy in our nation.

Boko Haram, Nigeria's number one insurgent group and an off-shot of long brewed political accidents and religious backlash have buoyantly disbursed their act of wickedness and wreckages in North-Eastern states of the federation. These states; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Taraba which is along-side prone to tribal, communal, and religious crises than the sectarian war.

Undeniably, the most remarkable feat of the Boko Haram insurgent was attained when they captured the poor girls from Chibok School in Borno State which are yet to be released. The spectre of violence in the North-East has continually heightened – the most recent of their calamitous was the suicide bombing case at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potisku, Yobe state.

While the slated date of his declaration may have coincided with the disheartening perpetuations of Boko Haram on the school's assembly that sad morning, it is not enough for critics to see the President's hustings as reprehensible, insensitive and a quick return- rather a move to shame the glory the insurgent are desperately pushing to claim over our federation.

However, judging the performance of the president's governance from an angle only would be one-sided, unfair and inhumane for any one or party to do. Failure is permitted in any examination but the extent or rate of failure is what should be of more concern. While the talk of Boko Haram and the seemingly intractable security challenges might have gone soar on our lips, the achievements of the Jonathan administration tabled at his declaration comprised key indicators in economic growth, transport, agriculture and energy which are evident in our society. Beyond this, the president rather than undermine the seven point agenda by his predecessor, upheld it for selflessly for the sake of sustainable democratic rule in our nation.

The fight for democracy is beyond blood-shed and of more ill-potency than of Boko Haram because what we stand to get or lose in the fight for Boko Haram is a pinch when compared to that of democracy. There is more to democracy than meets the eye for the layman; Just recently, the president and former President Olusegun Obasanjo attended a Council Chambers for Council of State meeting together in Abuja in spite of the Open letter that was written by former president expressing his displeasure on some issues in the country that were trailing the path of error in our democratic sojourn.

Likewise, the frosty relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II was warmed-up following the meeting of the two in Abuja recently to and reconciled differences. The meeting which had all the senior members of the Kano Emirate Council and other elder statesman in attendance was reported to have been instigated by the emir for the just-cause of peace sustainable democracy in our nation.

The hatchet which was buried by the likes of these eminent fellows was done so for nothing but the bolstering of sustainable democracy in Nigeria. It is an exemplary act for anyone or party who sincerely stands for a sustainable democracy in Nigeria to emulate. Togetherly, we ought to pursue a nonpartisan approach towards ending the insurgency. In a country where the ship of ethnic differences and boat of political haggling could take a quick spin or capsize into a river of chaotic water, we should realize that unity is necessitated at a cost but not at the expense of democracy.

The health of Democracy in any nation or any federation of the world is anchored on its sustainability. Democracy Sustainability is only possible under a political environmental condition that expressly favors it. While oppositions parties are eagerly tapping into the circumstances created by the Boko Haram and using it to their own advantage, it is in the interest of us all to see that the insurgent group are out to break the back bone of our democracy at the detriments of we all as civilians, citizens, statesmen, elder-statesmen and the country as a whole.

If the political atmosphere is made un-conducive for a sustainable democracy via pollutants being released into the air by insensitive counterparts, then the sweat and blood of the forerunners of democracy in likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, late Moshood Abiola, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and many others have ended up at nothing but a waste. More so, the hallmark of our Independence, which was marked when we reached a dated sustainable democratic rule in 1999, might be forfeited cheaply to a lost-cause of political trade off.

Therefore, in view of immortalizing the creation of democracy, we are all urged to see president's declaration for a second term in a political UV-light so that we bank-in the real notes and not counterfeits into our national democracy save-box. The president has taken this bravery step as a gladiator of democracy in spite of the spikes and arrows hovering over the political air space in the nation.

To my fellow compatriots, the president is an upholder of the nation's democratic fortress; we all as citizens, though of different ethnics and religion, should embrace democracy whole heartedly in our various little and individualistic ways. To those that belong to one political party or the other, in as much it is binding on you to fulfill a part of party's obligation, you shouldn't be blinded from the truth of democracy. It is in the best interest of our federation to downplay our political foul plays and tantrum for the peaceful sake of Nigeria and optimum profiting of democracy.

Adebiyi Adeyemi:– [email protected]

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Articles by Adebiyi Adeyemi