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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Igboeli Arinze


culled from VANGUARD, April 1, 2004


Our style of leadership almost qualifies Nigeria as a failed state.

DEMOCRATIC Nigeria today is in a state where three main  schools of thought are central in iyspolity  as regarding our democracy. These three schools of thought are that:

1. That democracy is working.

2. That democracy isn”t working, but it is better than any form of government.

3. That democracy isn”t working and that there is a need for a change.

These three thoughts ought to have some level of attachment between the three classes or social groupings within our society. For example, with the facts on ground, the killings and assassinations,wanton corruption in society, lack of political benevolence and democratic dividends,  poor economy, the disdain for the rule of law and other comical events that make our democracy a joke before other nations.

Working Democracy

Presently only those who are benefiting legally or illegally from this government can say that truly democracy is functional. When confronted they use the issue of freedom of speech and the illusionary belief that there is a change in the socio political cum economic climate in Nigeria.

Their points happen to be superficial holding little water and to the chagrin of many commentators like me these same men who now claim to be prophets of democracy were blatant military apologists and even swore to die with them. They waved to the cameras, sang praises for their leaders, led 100 million. Men marches and at the end smiled to the banks. Profiting from their trade of sycophancy to the shame of the Nigeria today, these men call the shots at the highest level of government. The murderers, looters and permit me to say sexual perverts operating under the democratic system they shunned and said we were not ripe for. The results, a deep sore that will not heal.

Non-working Democracy, but......

The second school of thought can say that democracy appears not to be working but prefer a non working democracy to a return of the khaki men. Those who fall into this category are the intellectuals, the activists and many students who did have a taste of the venom of military rule and thus cannot afford a dééjàà vu. I remember challenging, a prominent writer and social commentator, Joe Igbokwe on why he was always defending President Olusegun Obasanjo, and showing encomiums on him. He told me that it was in the defense of democracy and not President Obasanjo. I must say that it did sound logical to me and so I held my peace.

Democracy to us means our today and our future. It is the best option for Nigeria. The fact that Nigeria is yet to attain the maturity for the conferment of democratic dividends to the people is the only reason why we should nurture democracy until it is strong enough to cater for it self. We should do lest the house falls again and drags us back.  That would be suicidal.

Non-working Democracy, ripe for change

The third school of thought appears to be that of what many Nigerians would call the common man's deliberation.  The man on the street who seeks to earn a living wage, to make ends meet from his very low income that he earns. This man, an example of Bob Marley's song a hungry man is an angry man. Indeed he is really angry at everything in the system, his job, his employer, if he is an employee or at his employee if he is an employer.

On so many occasions, he  takes out his frustration on green bottles of beer only to arrive home on the high side and possibly transfer the anger to his wife and children. Do not be deceived for this class includes many of our intellectuals and even members of the elite. Politics goes beyond all these. Yet this class of men who are fed up with democracy and might give anything to overthrow democracy even if it were a mere wish. Do I foresee a future revolution in Nigeria?

Democracy remains the best option for the nation and Nigeria going by our past experiences.

Democracy and living conditions

Democracy in Nigeria if well implemented would enable us make meaningful progress, transform standards (living) delivering the dividends to all irrespective of one's ethnic background or family background. It will deliver and create individuals and institutions that will continue to see power and authority as a means to serve the people and the nation where values that contribute to the benefits of all in the society and stand for the dignity of man at all times are upheld.

You will agree with me that this is not the type of democracy we yearned for when on   May 29, 1999 the mantle of leadership, was given to President  Obasanjo by the Abdulsalami regime. Indeed, it is true that the Government inherited so many problems but I can authoritatively say that this government has created more problems for itself than it has solved.

The state of Nigeria can thus be summarised as this massive corruption in our various institutions, ethnic hatred and religious bigotry, disdain for the rule of law, a poor judiciary, degradation of the rights of the people, a battered economy and an increased impoverishment of the people the twin evils of inflation and unemployment continue to hold sway. Our Universities are in bad shape, churning out half baked graduates. Ours is a natural society similar to the animal kind of life, the survival of the fittest and to be among the fittest you don't need brains in Nigeria just have the support of government or own your own militia with a bullet proof car thats all. To crown it all we have a bad style of leadership.

Ours is like a failed state.


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