“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power – to serve the people.”
Bush might be speaking to the present generation of Nigerian leaders. It is undeniable, if unfortunate, reality today shows that most Nigerians entrusted with powers abuse it. Their problem could be located in deep-rooted psychological misconception of power as an instrument for personal aggrandisement and vanity.
The fact that all is not well with the dynamics of political power in Nigeria has always been highlighted by strange occurrences in our democracy.
Since 1999 when we resumed the present republic after hiatus of about 20 years, (albeit interspersed with the incomplete engagement with democratic process of the 90s) one can count series of happenings ranging from the strange through, the outlandish to the outright bizarre.
We can all recount Emeka Ngige’s saga, when some law enforcement agents, apparently emboldened by some surreptitious power brokers, kidnapped a whole governor and transported him to another state and then asked him to resign!
We have witnessed the Oyo State farce where 18 legislators instead of 22 (as required by law) in a 32-member house of Assembly held a nocturnal meeting in an hotel and purported to remove a sitting governor while the authority still upheld the removal before the court quashed the “impeachment”.
As a matter of fact, between 2005 and 2007, five governors were impeached in a period that has been described as “period of impeachment gale” in the nation political history. Majority, if not all of this impeachments were characterised by flaws, procedural aberrations or outright illegality.
Not to be forgotten is the saga of undisclosed interregnum when the actual condition of a terminally sick and incapacitated president was being concealed to the whole nation for months-on-end by a cabal, who practically continued to run affairs of the nation in the name of the president as if nothing was amiss.
It was when the President eventually died that the cabal finally disclosed the inevitable. Till today, nobody can say for long the nation was in artificial interregnum!
Let us also remember the saddening crisis in Rivers State which has kept ratcheting up with calamitous consequences till today when courts are bombed at will by some Godforsaken faceless terrorists. We had seen how in that state some five lawmakers had attempted to impeach the Speaker in the house composing 32 legislators; we had seen the fighting that led to hospitalisation of many lawmakers.
Such was the degree of anarchy that common thugs were on Tuesday July 16, 2013, reported to have taken over the roads leading to the Port Harcourt Airport and thus prevented four reigning state governors (governors of Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano and Niger) from visiting Governor Rotimi Amaechi in Governor’s Lodge in his capacity as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
What about the entrenched culture of Ghana-must-go! It may be rightly said that our democracy is a “Ghana-must-go-fuelled democracy”. Ghana-must-go is the name of that voluminous, giant- sized bag used by the Ghanaians to pack their belongings when they were ejected from Nigeria by Shehu Shagari’s government in 1983. The same brand of bag later entered into Nigeria socio-economic and political lexicon as a neologism when it was put into new use.
This being facilitated by the fact that the Nigerian society is still heavily cash-laden; we have not gone cashlite not to talk of cashless. Thus, if you want to sway delegates at elections, Ghana-must-go, if you want to obtain very important approval from the officialdom, Ghana-must-go, if you want some important members of opposition party to cross over to your party, Ghana-must-go! Indeed in all situations you want to procure undue advantage, Ghana-must-go! Only God knows how many Ghana-must-go bags have gone to “sustain” this democracy!
Indeed, most of the eccentricities bedeviling our democracy could be attributed to sheer incapacity or refusal of our politicians to grasp the real rationale behind political power. Many see it just as an instrument of personal aggrandisement. The nation may continue to grapple with strange occurrences of all kinds until our politicians learn to practice democracy in consonance with fundamental ideals underlying it.
Ketefe may be followed @Ketesco
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