-By Austen Akhagbeme:
That the recently concluded General elections in Nigeria left a sour taste in our mouths as regards the processes of preparation, execution and outcomes are no longer in doubt.
This has thrown up, for the umpteenth time, the recurrent issues of unity, ethnicity, elite hypocrisy and electoral violence. And this is capable of disparaging the appreciable positive vibes the election brought to the table.
For the first time in a long while, a third force emerged to unseat age-old political permutations and punditry. The Labour Party became a moving train that turned the apple cart in the unexpected direction to the benefit of our representative democracy and the quest for a departure from the usual and the familiar.
The crises of confidence that engulf the electoral umpire by the people’s numerous accusations and the various accusations and counter-accusations by the political parties have left us with a politically gloomy atmosphere that seems to have postponed “the evil day” to the ball court of the judiciary.
While waiting for the judiciary, so many questions need to be asked and more answers provided to address the present deepening mistrust among Nigeria’s federating units vis-a-vis the rebirth of the monster of religious politicking among the conquering ruling elites.
Politics have once again been reduced to tribal tirades and everyone seems to be in support of their ethnic convenience as against the general well-being of the generality of the Nigerian people.
Highly educated and supposedly informed and respected individuals have returned to the convenience or inconvenience of their ethnic cocoons, firing ceaselessly at the relative peace we have mutually enjoyed over the years, to the spiteful consternation of the other and equally intolerant ethnic group.
Yet, all these are brought about and further deepened by our very variant of Democracy and the democratisation process and not a military regime. Then, how united are we as a nation and how disunited can we likely become amid this melee, in the nearest future?
Democracy is blind and ineffective when it cannot address the basic problems of representation and fundamental rights of citizens. Our Democracy seems to be powered by disjointed and highly competitive cyclical elites who seem to have conquered us all, using the instrumentality of ethnicity and religion. It is a pity!
Our hydra-headed dilemma as a nation can be likened to the proverbial chicken and the egg; which one comes first in our troubleshooting scale? Is it the people or the system? For example, was the Nigerian electoral body the problem or the people that run it?
We must once again, take a cursory look at our institutions and the need to strengthen them beyond the easy influences of the men that run them with the connivance of state power.
Our politics should go beyond petulant perversities and the mundane levels of unnecessary hate, bigotry and negative energy being displayed by both the older generation and the younger. Let us reject the elite manipulation that is putting everyone on overdrive. It is a deceptive strategy from hell.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online