Retributive justice in the Nigerian political system -by Adias Adeleye


The Nigerian political system, it is noted, has been characterized by a powerful ruling party and a disappearing but badly organized and comparatively weakened opposition at the federal level.

The only visible opposition in the Senate and the House of Representative is being provided by members of the Action Congress [AC] since the other parties ANPP and PPA are believed to be a part of the contraption of PDP's national government'. In fact, dominance of the ruling party in the legislature is so great that the PDP could make any law except turning a man into a woman.

The awesome power of the ruling party and its absolute use of such power continue to affect the cultured minds of many political observers that an impression is being created that the concept of democracy will soon cease to exist in Nigeria.

It is sad to recall the statement by one of the elders of the ruling party that election is a fight to finish, after, meaning that an electoral contest should be seen as a battle field to employ any weapon, irrespective of its destructive capability.

Within the same party, we could recall with sadness the statements by the same elder that, the 'Greeks that bestowed democracy on the world 'did practice it without political parties' To Chief Obasanjo, former President and Chairman, Board of Trustees [ PDP], 'multi-party bickering is definitely a luxury we cannot afford'. It is therefore understandable that a continuous rule of a single party could last indefinitely and the opposing forces correctly labeled, 'The dying opposition'.

However, some political analysts in their moment of exuberance often forget the uncanny characteristics of many a Nigerian versed in the art of self-defence and counter attack [as football commentaries would say] when the offensive party is duly punished for its aggressiveness.Of recent, 'The Party', i.e the ruling party has suffered electoral defeats in bye-elections in Edo and Ondo States.

According to the Governors of the two States [rescued by decisions of Appeal Court] the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] had been made to perform its statutory obligations satisfactorily.

Thus, to a winning party, the INEC Officials are no longer sinners but saints. It is becoming clearer that no opposition could thrive in any state controlled by the ruling party.

If this is a standardized plot to check the PDP on its perilous journey towards 'one party state', then it calls for a serious political sober reflextion. It is surprising, if not embarrassing that PDP as a party should complain about “rigging” of elections in states not under its control.

After all, many analysts believe that the party is being paid back in its own coins. As that simple layman would say, 'do me I do you, God no de vex'.

t is agreed that such negative political attitude arising out of the desire to seek retribution in a political contest would not aid progress in a democracy. The electoral system should allow for free and fair contest so that the will of the voter remains supreme and respected by INEC.

That is also why Nigerians are appealing to President Yar'Adua and his ruling party to allow sincere electoral reforms [as contained in Justice Uwais Committee recommendations] to guide future elections in this country.

Apart from moral obligation, it is absurd for one to appoint an umpire for a game in which one is an active participant. It requires the firmness of a statesman to appreciate the sense of fairness in a complex political game.

The pity is that impression is being created that the present leader is a slippery political animal. Many Nigerian who are not happy with the state of the polity are advocating for the formation of a 'mega' party to confront the ruling party in its ruinous path to total dominance of the political system. To some, the drive for a combination of forces to destroy or checkmate the activities of the ruling party is not a serious proposition.

The beauty of democracy is the existence of multi-party system. As many parties as possible should be allowed to canvass for the votes of the people on specific issues. The results of elections could throw out clearly a winning party or cluster of parties that could form a national government that would operate agreed policies already put to the electorate.

The present problem of the ruling party is the doubt that their leaders were not freely chosen and fairly elected. The opposition parties seem to contain some dangerous and ambitious demagogues who have done nothing that could be gladly recalled or spoken words that could sooth the pain. Everybody is a leader in his own right and domain.

The sinking of individualism to achieve a glorious unit has become elusive, it is like everybody for himself, God for us all. This perhaps sums up the characteristics of the opposition which is dying. If we are unfortunately thrown into a situation where the government is oppressive and intolerant of the opposition and the opposition is divided, weak and poor [where money is politics], the only solution appears to be like a people waiting for divine intervention.

The political leaders [represented by NPN party] in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s did not wait for God and they got instead Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalam – all military dictators. As for us hapless Nigerians, we crave for the pursuits of policies that would ensure political stability and economic developments.

In conjunction with his self appointed sanitation of banks exercise, CBN governor Lamido should see [with the ominous silence of Finance Minister] that the Monetary Policy produces a regime of cheap money for industrial development and also the channeling of excess funds towards funding the underfunded real sectors of the economy.

He should not continue to indulge In the wrong action of mopping up excess liquidity. No surplus funds in a developing economy. Government should on its part, encourage an enhanced minimum wage for workers and pensioners to raise their purchasing power, reduce tax burden on individuals and companies to encourage increased consumption of locally produced goods.