PDP MUTILATION AND PARSIMONY IN A DEMOCRACY
The title of this paper critically and theoretically sounds like a message, or at best a proposition underscoring a principle of democracy and all political struggles associated with them, especially in a nascent democracy like that of Nigeria. As a prologue, the other side and the under side is not ignored as they are important headaches of Nigeria's democratic experiment, in an ever-continuing paradoxes, and the dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, that has remained elusive in bringing about the desired change.
The foremost concern of man since Plato, is rationality as truth-bearer, followed incessantly and causally by ontological commitment to principles and continuity in public sphere. Democracy fits into this furniture well as an over-ending and continuing debate and dialogue on what is and what is not for the sake of justice, to sustain, commitment continuity and development.
In the observatories of Black Africa's political process Nigeria, since 1999, has witnessed sundry experimentations on noble, weird and bizarre political ideas, from PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) zoning formula, Obasanjo's tenure elongation, multiparty system, two party system, electoral reform, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Banking reforms, transition from vice-president to president election and tenure twists like the Anambra state saga.
A political framework or system of government x may be adopted by a country N, but this x must join N to become part of N where x is supposed to have been assimilated by N on the basis of what is called acculturation. In this sense democracy, for instance, is predicated on Nigeria and not Nigeria predicated on democracy. This sense of predication in language, culture and logic is expressed in a prefect truth quantifier principle as (x) (Nx) meaning that every democratic principle or agent (x) is such that it is of Nigeria. To that extents democracy in Ghana, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan could no longer be said to be the democratic culture passed to them by the West.
To these nations and peoples democracy has an intrinsic value in their culture, and no matter the violence that goes with each transition, the only constant variable is continuity in people's choice and commitment to democratic goals. In these countries, culture of resistance even violent ones has stood the test of time without dismembering them and novel democratic norms in tune with their cultures have equally emerged with good empirical basis and well developed theoretical content.
Nigeria, in spite of over fifty cultures, could germinate and sustain a democratic culture which one could call the Nigerian. Eleven years of civilian rule is enough to lay a solid foundation of Nigeria's democracy but retrogressively some democratic subcultures have emerged and some subdued by the whirlwind of conscientious resistance. Much as it is good to have had a failed tenure elongation under General Olusegun Obasanjo, it is also good to witness a situation of one party theory under PDP. They are good for our democratic experiment and will succeed if and only if they are in consonance with our cultural conscience. The metamorphosis or the growth of PDP is a transcending and encompassing political metabolism which effects the destiny of the entire citizens of this country. Emerging from the party alone are majority of the democratic sub norms as well as most economic and social problems of Nigeria today.
Political subcultures emerge and disappear quickly but cultures emerge slowly and undue permanently. Yet under the PDP one part system, all is not negative as the positive integers in the democratic value appropriations continue to subsist. The principle of necessity underscored the elevation of Vice President Jonathan to Acting President even as the then President Yadua was critically in the hospital. The principle of necessity entails that something must be done in place of the other as it s true in all possible world; as a political or democratic doctrines an action is predisposed to be taken for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. When President Yadua became confirmed dead, the principle of exigency points to the constitution which empowers the Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan to take over as the president. Exigent action is not a necessary one but often important as end required by a constitution, law or convention. So the principle of exigency and the doctrine of necessity had their ways as democratic norms and political cultures in the emerging Nigeria's political value system.
Yet within PDP alone as the only party in government since 1999 are not only the traditional political vices like ethnicism, chauvinism, prebendalism elitism, charlatanism, and so on but also democratic nihilism and opportunism, a negation of what I call in our nascent democracy, Democratic parsimony and minimum mutilation. In the mist of this the former president Olusegun factor has become the invisible hand of Nigerian political realm. Having benefited from the doctrine of necessity and constitutional principle of exigency the political calculation of the new president to contest the 2011 election has set the nation on the keg of possibilities; the PDP is pregnant with contradictions, PDP zoning formula as a means of uniting the country under one party system is at stake, the northern political elites will feel cheated, the south would be having 8years and the north 3years in one round, the south-south would have had 5years or more, the south-east, north-west, north east, middle-belt would be waiting, perhaps indefinitely. Now if former President Obasanjo as an indissoluble factor in contemporary Nigeria politics says president Goodluck Jonathan must contest, he should also tell Nigerians when it would be the turn of the south-east, north-north, north-east, north-west etc. The point is that if president Jonathan contests and wins, PDP or Nigeria's one party system would have lost the allure and beauty of internal cohesion and democracy as a result of reckless abuse of what I call democratic poisoning and maximum mutilation engendered by political opportunism and lack of adherence to commitment to the principles of continuity and democracy.
The total field of democratic space is transcendental and encompassing and opportunism or chauvinism or rather the selfish drives of an individual subsists as a boundary element interlocking or blocking from the periphery the coherence and progress of humanity. It is therefore important that the quintessence of humanity be preserved by transcending encompassing totality parsimonically and minimally in commitments to principles. I Infer democratic parsimony from Africa Nigeria's political experience as a principle prohibiting the engineering or multiplication democratic subcultures without necessity or repudiation of undertakens or political actions whose democratic recognition is irrational. Africa generally is in want of democratic nominalists and purists. Right from 1960s ethnicism corrupted the nominalist and purist principles of democracy. Democratic nominalism is strick preservation of only rational concepts and ideas in democratic of governance.
Therefore, the doctrine of minimum mutilation of democratic norms would have advised our political leaders in Africa especially the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo to conserve as much and meaningfully as possible necessary principles and commitment in political engineering. There must always be some respect to conservative principles for posterity and survival of democracy. Analysis of trends of events socially and economically in Nigeria since 1999 shows that they are large scale fall outs of the problems of PDP as a party having monopoly of power. The current reform agenda of PDP should be geared towards democratic parsimony, democratic nominalism and minimum mutilation of democratic principles.
Hitherto, the party, an amorphous but not meg-party is peopled by political job seekers and businessmen who block the teleological end of society, propagate elitism, chauvinism, prebendalism, and above all, political opportunism and maximum mutilation of democratic principle. If PDP has a zoning formula let it be and President Goodluck Jonathan would serve Nigeria better if he presides, not participates as, an impartial empire in the 2011 elections.
•Maduabuchi Dukor is the Executive Director of essence library and Professor of Philosophy of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.