Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Away With Democracy Day

By Polycarp Onwubiko 
The federal government should stop the annual jamboree called “Democracy Day” on May 29 because several of us consider it an inanity and brazen frivolity. The annual celebration of the supposed ‘democracy day’ on May 29 exposes the country as a laughing stock and people who are not serious on development and civilized value system. It showcases us as a people who have brazenly refused to join advanced and civilized countries of the world, to showcase scientific inventions but to celebrate electoral fraud and other faux fax. 

The fact remains that Nigeria adopted democracy as a form of government in its 1960 Independent Constitution and 1963 Republican Constitution. Democracy would have taken firm root in Nigeria but for the vaulting ambition of some northerners who want to impose their decadent ethno-religious value systems and control government at all costs. The consequences brought about electoral brigandage and political crises which led to military regimes which for all intent and purposes were led by their kith and kin. The intransigence also led to the fratricidal civil war from 1967-1970.

The military autocrats brazenly maintained the overt and covert agenda of the feudal caliphate and centralized governance, thus bastardizing the principles of federal system of government, which promotes true federalism; thus forcing the country to be practicing jaundiced unitary system of government or ‘hegemonial federalism’. Of course, the consequences are what stares us in the face, and if inch-by-inch leading us to the brink of a failed state. It should be pointed out without equivocation that true federalism is a desideratum to reinvent Nigeria.

However, consequent of the jaundiced mindset of these imperialists who occupied the presidency more than other people, the concept and practice of true federalism were lost. It was this same pull-and-push mentality that forced former President Olusegun Obasanjo to chicken out to the forces they pulled together and became so naïve that he declared May 29 as ‘democracy day’. It should be pointed out that if for anything, if we count out October 1st, the day that should truly be declared ‘democracy day’ was the day the same Obasanjo, in Military uniform, handed over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the first elected politician to take over power from the military. Not that Nigeria had never been ruled by civilians before then, but Shagari’s ascendancy was unique in the sense that it marked real water shed for the democratisation of the country. Even though that republic was short-lived through a military coup led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the current civilian president, it remained a reference point in the annals of the democratic history of the country.

Like the foolery called ‘Democracy Day’, it is also instructive that some states in the country, including several that If impunity is not brazenly celebrated in Nigeria, the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and now civilianised Muhammadu Buhari, ought to have abolished this non-sense called ‘Democracy Day’ celebrated on May 29. There is virtually no need for ‘democracy day’ to be marked at all or no that day because there is no precedent anywhere in the world.

It is equally necessary for the newly created states to stop celebrating the yearly ritual in the name of state creation. Rather than channel public fund to more profitable venture and things that would impact positively on the lives of the people, they engage in a jamboree celebrating phantom and in the process, wasting several millions of tax payers’ money. It cannot be overemphasised to tell these states to jettison this jamboree because of its resultant waste of public funds. Instead, the governors of these states, should use such monies to embark on social and economic development of their respective states. It has been observed that rather than use such occasion to carry out profitable venture, state governors and their goons use such occasion to siphon huge amount of public fund celebrating phantom in the name of supposed social economic accomplishments. Even as they did this successively, has there been any government that ended its tenure and any of those so-called ‘landmark’ projects or achievements outlive them? Have they not left behind huge debt burden for their successors, while all the so-called commissioned projects pale into thin air.

Such frivolities like ‘Democracy Day’ or ‘anniversary of state creation’ should no longer be celebrates. It only breeds new set of economy looters; new set of noveau thieves and celebrated 419ers. All those things amount to emptiness and should be avoided, especially now the nation’s economy needs better management and handling. It is one of the avenues through which needless statutory wastes are lost and nothing can belittle our strivings to make Nigeria great again than continuing with all these frivolities.

*Onwubiko is a Commentator on national issues. email

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