Nigeria, The Only Way Now Is Peoples’ Civil Revolution

by E O Eke

Map of northern Nigeria

With the retention of immunity clause in the constitution for the president and governors by the senate, the David Mark led senate has given Nigerians arrogant kick in the teeth and thereby further closing the door on peaceful transformation and democratisation of the country. This is the army juntas continuing their assault on democratic accountability and enhancing impunity. What can be the reason for this singular action, which continue to help the deepening of corruption and lack of accountability in the Nigerian polity.

This action will no doubt harden attitude and convince those with any doubt that in deed, Nigeria is firmly in the hands of a very corrupt, insensitive and arrogant criminal minded elites, who have no recognition and respect for the people, whose mandate give legitimacy to their positions and power that there is need for another approach to change.

This is a country where a legislator earn in a month more than what a British member of parliament earn in a year and every single person who has held the office of president or head of state is paid at least 23 million Naira, nealy £100,000 a month as pension and allowances; about two third the annual salary of the British Prime minister. You can begin to imagine the greed, criminality and insensitivity of the Nigerian ruling class. This is in a country where up to 70% of the population live on less than a dollar a day. What could be more immoral, criminal and heinous? How can the government find the resources to carry out its programs if it does not pursue a judicious management, utilisation and fair distribution of resources?

In rejecting this most important amendment needed to begin addressing the scourge of corruption and impunity, the senate has given justification for mass action by the people to force the change they need.

It is incomprehensible that Nigerian senators do not understand that they were not elected to do what they like or change the Nigerian constitution to protect the interests of president and governors, but to make the offices more accountable, democratic and less autocratic. How can anybody justify a life pension of £100,000 a month for a less than ten year service during which the individual stole billions?

How can we call what is happening in Nigeria democracy. How can the battle for the will of one or few men to prevail by hook or crook be called democracy? How can exercises, where governors rig elections to ensure that their sons and daughters emerge as party candidates be called democracy?

How can the disregard of due process, subversion of the constitution and outright criminality be called democracy?

Who would describe the selective use of police to intimidate one’s opponent as democratic? What is a system of government that disregards the views of the people and imposes what it wants, if not autocracy The greed and criminality of Nigerian politicians continues to drive the country to avoidable disaster.

In choosing to alter the constitution to make it more likely that corrupt presidents, senators governors etcetera, would not be held accountable for their abuse of power and corruption, the senators have shown that they do not have what it takes to occupy the office they are abusing. This is failure of the senate to read the mood of the country aright.

Nigerians are tired of politician stealing and getting rich and the law unable to hold them to account and would welcome any change that would ensure that politicians ensure judicious management of resources, corrupt politicians brought to justice and held accountable. It is surprising that the Nigerian senate does not seem to know this. Unless of course it is full of criminals who should be in prison as Obasanjo said.

The Nigerian senate is not fit for purpose and should be sacked and Nigerians must demand a true government of the people by the people and for the people. A government which recognises that its responsibility is to the people and not the protection of the criminal ruling class. Nigerians must demand a government where members of political parties directly elect party candidates and the people decide with their votes at elections. The current practice of electing delegates just created a small number of people who can be bought or intimidated by the criminal elites to cite their candidates. It does not produce the will if the people but of the godfathers. Participatory democracy where the vote of the people count, is the only way to avoid the catastrophe that will engulf Nigeria.

What the senators have done is sow the wind and unless something is done, that would compel politicians to abide by democratic and due processes, the country will harvest wild wind. Nigerian legislators must stop serving their selfish interests and begin to serve the people who elected them. This is would be true democracy which will give the country a chance. As they say, those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.

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