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Nigeria's Democracy Should Not Be About Who Voted Who - Politics - NairaMan

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Nigeria's Democracy Should Not Be About Who Voted Who by nairaman(m) : 1:28 pm On Aug 11, 2016

There is a dangerous trend developing and growing astronomically at the moment. It is one pitting some of those who voted for Muhammadu Buhari on one side and some who voted for Goodluck Jonathan on the other. Scarily, this is more than a year after an election has been won and lost.

It’s obvious that the Buhari government is not all that it was made out to be before it assumed office and many Nigerians now know this and admit that much, including those who campaigned for him and voted for him. However, there is some kind of sick celebration going on in the other section of the partisan divide by some who voted for Jonathan. The latter now think they are the heirs of Nostradamus for seeing tomorrow, which is our today from yesterday. This silly “I-told-you-so” dance has pushed some of those who voted Buhari to come out to further defend their stance by claiming that the choice of Buhari was the only viable choice they had in that election as Jonathan was so-so bad that no matter who was pitted against him at that time, he was simply bound to lose.

For the record, I personally don’t buy such an ineptly disguised defensive argument or any argument along those lines. We weren’t electing people to be the Pope. Anyone who goes into an election thinking they are going to vote for some angel or some Christ are a waste of space. The reality of political choices especially in developing countries is that you are most times choosing between bad and less bad. Progress is made arithmetically, not geometrically. What you most times guide against is a rollback of progress already made, no matter how small and no matter how defined. For some of us, following from decades of predatory and nation-destroying de facto rulership of the military-industrial complex, Jonathan was that tiny progress and Buhari is a rollback. Fine, we said it during the campaigns and it seems to be bearing out now, but, hey, stop! Stop the sick celebration! The nation is in conflagration and no one, whether you voted for Buhari or Jonathan has a right to come out now and thump their chests or brandish a shield for self-protection. We all need to protect Nigeria and it starts with a full understanding of where we are NOW and how we need to approach things going forward as ONE! Yes, as ONE!

If you are a conscious Nigerian, a real patriot, a lover of our country and our people, forget who you voted for or campaigned against last election, forget all the stories you told to get that person elected or the other defeated. Just stop there and think. Think of nothing but the nation NOW. You get that?

Okay, if you’re thinking of the nation now, you will soberly accept that the campaigns are over, you will accept that we are already more than one year into governance and you will accept it’s not looking good. Again, at this point, forget the excuses. Whether oil price is at rock bottom or Jonathan carted away the national cake to Otuoke or wherever and whatever, leave out those excuses. Note only one thing. There is a government in place to review things and make sure they bring all those who have abused their office through corruption and other official acts to book. There is a democratic process for that. So, whether we are APC, PDP or independent, let’s all focus on the process and ensure that the authorities are acting right by the law. We want criminals to be brought to justice, but we don’t want those in the position of administering that justice to instead use the process for vendetta or use it selectively. We must always as one call them out on their impunity and keep their legs to the fire at all times. We are not only looking at how they are treating people not in their political camp, but more crucially we should be seriously looking at how they are running the affairs of state while they are there now. Our Black Book must never be closed. We are the people and we have sovereignty, not those we have elected to serve us. We are their bosses.

Now, here is the strategic thing: For our rulers who are invested in bad governance, their best strategy is to divide the people. For them, it’s easy. Once they consciously or unconsciously create a class of sycophants large enough to distort the waters of civil engagement, they know they are safe. They can steal to their hearts’ content, brag about it and rub it in your face while ordinary Nigerian are collapsing or dying on their feet. Sure, there will always be people howling against them, calling them out on their various acts of misgovernance and impunity, but as far as the sycophants are distorting that communal pool, ensuring that there is no solidarity in the civil populace against them, they are fine, very fine.

But for the people, it invariably becomes harder to hold government accountable when amongst you are people who refuse to accept the evidence of their own eyes, because of their emotional investment in the failure they see. Indeed, some simply insist on hanging on to false hope, because of the needless shame they have been infected with. The question then is how do you get societal solidarity for positive democratic action against failed leaders if you are still here prosecuting an electoral outcome that’s been decided more than a year ago? The whole point of an election is that people make a choice. You cannot point accusing fingers at those who made a choice yesterday that became the majority choice to produce the failed government of the nation today simply because they made that choice then just as they cannot point accusing fingers at you for supporting a choice that's voted out because, rightly or wrongly, the majority thought that choice a failure. If you are still with me up to this point, I ask you to pause….Think….

In whose interest are you saying “Ntoi!” today? Even if you are living large abroad and have no truck with the difficulties people are facing at home politically, economically and socially, don’t you have relations, kinsmen and women and friends who go through this and who you must feel for? I mean, if you are still a human being and have a drop of the milk of human kindness in you, don’t you feel something? Do you think every person who voted for Buhari is in the intellectual class you rail against for imposing him on us? Do you think every voter of Buhari was bought over by lucre? Do you think every one of them is so daft about their history that they chose a man you considered a failure the first time he was national leader and Head of State, a man you insisted has nothing to offer this time, because of his antecedents? Do you think sitting there and mocking them is the patriotic thing to do now that we find our nation here?

No, the patriotic thing to do is to forget the election and remember only NOW. Do not point any finger at anyone claiming they caused this or brought us here. In case you have forgotten, democracy brought us here. We made a choice based on the rule of the game and there are no regrets from all sides and there should be none. The patriotic thing to do is to seek people who think like you now (not people who voted like you or unlike you yesterday) about the nation and who are prepared to do something about it. And yes there are diverse ways to do something about it. You can join people of like minds who think that the best thing is to support the government and not criticise them or you can join others who think the best thing is to call out the government on its various acts of impunity and bad governance and seek legal and democratic ways (no matter how hard) to force them to do the right thing or correct the wrongs they are doing, because whatever they do wrong is against all of us. Of course, if you are in the latter category, they call you opposition, but you don’t have to be in the PDP to be that. It is your right as a citizen of Nigeria to express yourself. Your right to free speech and freedom of thought allows you to oppose the government and that is a patriotic thing to do, because opposing the government is not the same thing as opposing the nation. It does not make you a traitor, no matter what the security services tell you. In fact, there is no greater show of love to one’s country than to stand in opposition to a government intent on taking it down Calamity Road.

If you understand all I’ve said so far, then you must recognize the danger you pose to Nigeria by mocking those who voted Buhari or by being defensive for voting Buhari. Sheathe your swords, people! Stop making a great to-do about the vote; that is a distraction! The barbarians are at the gates of our nation tearing everything down, ready to devour us! Join hands with your fellow patriot, irrespective of who he or she voted for the last time, to save Nigeria from the scourge we face now. Stop the whole accusations and counter-accusations, begin to look at the issues affecting us all now and think solutions, no matter whose horse is gored. Think!

A word is enough for the wise.

culled from CRABS IN A BARREL by Kennedy Emetulu

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