NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY IN MAY
AS the children march today to mark Children's Day, more profound matters are being settled all over the country. Governments are being formed; politicians are doing their best to remain the circle that decides others' future.
Which is more important, the children or the desires of politicians? For a country that frequently mouths concerns over its future, the importance of politicians over everyone and everything, is a matter that has harmed democracy.
Dame Abimbola Fashola,(m) flanked by Mr. Tope Ashiwaju (right), Public Relations Manager and Mr. Deepak Singhar, MD, Dufil Prima Foods during the 2011 Indomie Children's Day Fiesta in Lagos Wednesday. Photo by Joe Akintola, Photo Editor
The crass for power has become the most profitable business in Nigeria to the detriment of other enterprises.
May is an important month in Nigeria. It starts with Workers' Day, a day for marches too, though with an angry stridency reflected in the long demands for better welfare and complaints about unfulfilled promises. The children follow and the politicians round it up on May 29.
May 29 this year is remarkable. It is the first time the swearing in of the President and governors is taking place on Sunday. The official church services for May 29 have been moved to Saturday since the President will be taking the oath about that time. The other
May 29 on Sunday was in 2005, right in the infancy of the intrigues that preceded Olusegun Obasanjo's tenure extension.
Nigerians are anxious about how this new presidency will be different from the ones before it. Will there be a brand new President, riding on the steam of his powers? Will the President use his powers for the common good or to please a few? When will he move from promises to accomplishments? Will we hear another great speech on Sunday or a short list of things that the President will do to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians?
Eleven May 29 celebrations down the line, Nigerians are tired of speeches, promises, appeals for their patience and more insulting recourse to accusing them of paltry patriotism. These accusations resound throughout the country, more so in the States where governors see themselves as emperors
May 29 remains a dream about the potentials of democratic governments to make Nigeria a better place. The misapplication of the support Nigerians have granted politicians as they manage the democratic process has suffered inestimable abuse. Some of those abuses keep casting slurs on the brilliant scores that would have been awarded Nigeria's constitutional rule.
Among those to be sworn in on Sunday are some who may be gone in the next six months, when the courts would have dealt with electoral petitions against them. Others may remain in office, though they know that they have acquired the office in the most undemocratic ways.
Multiple reasons can be adduced for the reluctance to call May 29 Democracy Day. The most promoted point is that the military, who by fiat created May 29, 12 years ago, cannot be the body that have given Nigerians democracy.
Compared to the inclinations of the military, civilians at all levels have run the country since then with minimal faithfulness to the dictates of the Constitution, which many of them see as a great inconvenience.
Nigerians pray that 29 May 2011 will finally usher in the freshness that will make democracy worth living for while they make the sacrifices it demands.