As the wild wind of democracy blew across the governance systems in Africa, it left many behind in regards to political ignorance and incapacitation, but it made others who had the advantage of being the first responders to it to redefine it as a rule of a few, by a few and for a few.
The civil wars fought in many of the African states were mere scrambles for who will get to sit on the stool. The people never asked for it; the elites were testing each other’s strength. Governance hasn’t changed in the way it is practiced. The monarchical system in which a specific family or group of families produced the king hasn’t gone yet. Today’s governance culture wears the garment of democracy but bears the nature of class-rule.
The skin is Esau’s, but the voice is Jacob’s. In Africa, especially Nigeria, the people hardly do hand-pick and vote for a candidate. The candidate will always make himself/herself available and with-it tender promises that could persuade the electorates. But it doesn’t end there. The Nigerian electorates see politics as a van that is headed for the goldmine. Every politician is marked out as one soon to have a financial turnaround or increased fortune. With that mindset, the electorates also do come for a bargain at the table.
Will that amount to their votes being counted as their choice? Of course, it can’t. Money-politics has robbed the people of their right to demand the dividends of democracy. There ought to come a time in which the African electorates will be permitted to shop and recruit for themselves who to represent them. Men and women of goodwill should be sought for from the community and by the community.
Power is yet to reside with the people. It is a tactical move by the elites to keep the people away. The solution to the failure of democracy begins here. Get the people to have the final say on what goes on. That is the way out.
By Itoro Orok
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