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Democracy Or Autocracy In The Next Level

By Kazeem Olalekan Israel ( GANI)
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"There's a natural mystic
Blowing through the air
If you listen carefully now you will hear
This could be the first trumpet
Might as well be the last
Many more will have to suffer
Many more will have to die
Don't ask me why
Things are not the way they used to be
I won't tell no lie
One and all got to face reality now
Though I try to find the answer
To all the questions they ask
Though I know it's impossible
To go living through the past
Don't tell no lie
There's a natural mystic
Blowing through the air
Can't keep them down
If you listen carefully now you will hear
Such a natural mystic
Blowing through the air
This could be the first trumpet
Might as well be the last
Many more will have to suffer
Many more will have to die
Don't ask me why
There's a natural mystic
Blowing through the air
I won't tell no lie
If you listen carefully now, you will hear
There's a natural mystic
Blowing through the air" Bob Marley's Natural Mystic

Nigerians once again have made a choice which in effect would manifest on the country for the next 4 years. It is understandable that election is a periodic sacrifice that is rendered to water the tree of democracy in order for it to flourish. As said by a one-time American President, Thomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote to William S. Smith, a diplomatic official in London on November 13, 1787 that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure", this sacrifice that we have collectively made is in no doubt a manifestation of a basic duty that is expected of us in a democracy.

It cannot be gainsaid that jubilations would have erupt in certain areas of the country as I type this in celebrating the recorded victories of some persons, but, in the midst of this jubilation, we must reflect on the effect the choices we made today would have on us as a people. If ever some persons were in doubt before, recent events should persuade all Nigerians that liberty, constitutionalism and the right to choose are sustained at a price. As the elections is being round-off, the conspiracy theories of some disgruntled politicians in the society would begin to manifest by publicly discrediting the elections while simulating tension and running a vicious campaign of calumny against the electoral umpire in a bid to tarnish the entire electoral process.

However, the very survival of Nigeria as a corporate entity depends on making the Buhari's government adhere strictly to the rule of law and abide by the provisions of the Constitution as this is the only way through which our democracy can be strengthened and sustained truly. In short, the government must at all time subordinate itself to the Constitution. Also, Nigerians must resolve and be ready to resist any attempt to foist an illegal government on them by not passively accepting evil. This has been demonstrated in Tunisia, in Thailand, in Ukraine and in Burkina Faso where the masses sacked both the sit-tight President and the rubber stamp Parliament and refused to be ruled by a military junta. It took street demonstrations by the masses of Burkina Faso to halt the tenure elongation plan of their immediate past President and dictator, Blaise Campaore. Similarly, in 1989, in Romania, the people, who are actually the custodians of power, revolted against the authorities and succeeded in ending the autocratic rule of Nicolae Ceausescu despite being faced with soldiers’ bullets. The point is, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

No doubt, this is the time for all stakeholders to commit themselves to democracy and the rule of law and desist from supporting illegality all in the name of combating corruption. As the Nigerian people made a periodic sacrifice today, we must come in terms with the reality that we owe it a point of duty to stoutly resist any attempt to scuttle our budding democracy. The government must as a matter of necessity in strengthening our democracy put an end to the culture of seeing itself as army in perpetual combat with opposition leaders and concentrate basically on governance. It is important to note that the opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold it accountable to the public. It represents an alternative government and is responsible for challenging the policies of the government and producing different policies where appropriate. A government has to remain answerable to the public at all times while a good opposition put the spotlight on serious issues and have them resolved quickly.

As we commence another 4years journey under a man with scant regard for the rule of law, we must put an end to the act of ignoring or rationalising injustice with the use of false equivalence. In 2015, we all agreed to sign out from the old ways and start a new lease of life, we left our vomit and decided to passionately adhere to the principle of change though the change has proven to be a mere cosmetic change of name and colour characteristics as it has already been proven that there is little or no difference between the PDP and the APC. As a people, we all have crucial roles to play in a functioning democracy and we must all stand up and be counted as we work towards the actualisation of the aspirations and expectations of the Nigerian people from the government. We must cease being a thermometer that justifies the neo-liberal ideas of the government but morph into a thermostat that transforms and revolutionises Nigeria.

If we embrace injustice today because of our myopic or selfish interests, it would definitely be our turn tomorrow to cry foul as victims of injustice.

God bless Nigeria!
Kazeem Olalekan Israel ( GANI) writes from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Kazeem Olalekan Israel ( GANI) and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."