Japheth Omojuwa: Democracy Day? But whose democracy? (YNaija FrontPage)

This democracy is closer to kleptocracy than it is to any genuine democracy I have seen elsewhere. To say otherwise would be to lie to you and to do that would be to do exactly what the president did in his “Kleptocracy Day” address yesterday.

Yesterday, was officially Nigeria’s Democracy Day. It is a democracy because we have elections – or a semblance of it, we have lawmaking arms of government and we have laws. We have a lot of the things that make it look like we have a democratic system on our hands but in truth and indeed – like the motto of the former University of Lagos – we are nothing but a government run by a select group, for its purpose, and its ends.

Ours is a shame on the ideals and essence of democracy. Any democracy that breeds more poor people, more anger, anguish and frustrations amongst the people is nothing but a crime against them. You cannot have democracy without the rule of law. Where a president can unilaterally remove a judge in his own case and benefit from that action cannot be said to be democratic.* Where a bunch of people can steal almost a third of the national revenue in a single year and still run the affairs of the state without punishment is as far from a democratic environment as the Jonathan government is far from being loved by the students of Moshood Abiola University, Lagos

You cannot have democracy outside of the people’s interests and wishes. Where people write the results of elections and pretend the voter turn-out is unprecedented is criminal even in a lawless state let alone one that it pretends it has a “stable democracy.”

Schools are down and out, factories are shut and bankrupt, insecurity is a norm, poverty reigns supreme, corruption has reached transformational levels, hunger, anger and destitution are the order of the day. For instance, what is democratic about the fact that we know those responsible for the fuel subsidy scam and many also believe they will not be made to face the law? How can we believe in a system where the president indeed sent names to the SSS for a cabinet re-shuffle but instead backed out because he yielded to powers beyond the interest of the people? Are we going to continue to pretend we have something in place or we are going to truly build a democratic society? Is it a democratic society if I am demonised because I don’t agree with a government policy? Is it a democratic society if private news organisations now have to depend on the government news agency for happenings at the seat of power? That is how it is done in North Korea but they at least never pretend to say they run a democratic society.

You cannot call a government of men, instead of law a democratic system. Let us not be deceived by the many charades and pretense at democracy. We should look to have a true people democracy where people can use their ability and competence to achieve dreams and not have such suppressed by state backed wanton corruption and moribund institutions. Many will not agree but if this so called democracy continues on this front, a revolution is inevitable. When it happens, I’ll be part of it if I live to see it. All our problems as a people stem from a failed political system.

Can we have democracy without accountability and transparency? Fuel subsidy scam, pension scam, SEC scam, scams, scams and scams but the ministers under whose watch all these scams happened remain in office to either help carry out more scams or to, by their act of incompetence and gross negligence allow this wanton corruption to continue.  How can you run a government where people never get punished for failing? Yes, yesterday was “Democracy day” but trust me, you will not see Nigerians celebrating this except “those of us in government” because this “democracy” is for those in government and not the people of Nigeria.

We can make it better. To do that, we have to accept before anything at all that this “democracy” has so far not served the people of Nigeria but a privileged few, who continue to deprive the majority the right to self-determination and economic justice. If you fail to accept the reality of where you are, moving forward will remain an illusion. This democracy is closer to kleptocracy than it is to any genuine democracy I have seen elsewhere. To say otherwise would be to lie to you and to do that would be to do exactly what the president did in his “Kleptocracy Day” address yesterday.

This is @Omojuwa

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

*No democratically elected president has removed a judge sitting over his own case.

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Comments (3)

  1. We MUST also 're-define'( I say so because there seems to be a Nigerian definition) the word SERVICE. So that intending leaders would have a re-think before running for office.

  2. Good article, I was thinking the same thing the day before democracy day on my blog. Solutions? We have to guard our votes, prevent rigging. Be vigilant about what is going on in the seats of power and not be shy to let our opinions be known. We must clamor for direct lines of communication with those in power.

  3. so what's the way forward? it'll be great to see more articles that talk about a solution and not just identify the problem.

    Nice article though.

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