Article by a Veteran journalist.
Musing On Democratic Values
By Tony Masha
We have always canvassed the view to those who care to listen that the farther we move away from 1st October 1960, that glorious day when the British imperial lords disentangled themselves from the administration of our political affairs, at least on the surface, the more Western democratic values or what we imbibed of them vitiate, and, therefore, the more Nigerian political elites, the inheritors of the neo-colonial state, retreat into their natural habitat of debauchery.
But the question is why? Well, we are inclined to think that core democratic values such as the culture of tolerance, the equality of citizens, the distribution and management of collective wealth to provide equal opportunities for every individual to attain his or her full potentials, respect for the dignity of the human person, transcending racial, religious, and ethnic bigotry, etc, which are sine qua non for building a civilized society, can only be assimilated by those whose social conscience have evolved beyond that of primates.
Thus, we cannot reasonably expect Islamic zealots, drug addicts, and motor-park touts, who have hijacked Nigeria’s political space for decades and whose veins are laced with simian cells to comprehend, let alone embrace the noble and intangible universal concepts of right and wrong, liberty, justice, the sanctity of electoral franchise, etc, all of which are inseparable component of democratic norms.
As a corollary, it must also be emphasized that acquiring pieces of papers as certificates from various neo-colonial educational institutions at home and abroad does not in any way alter or improve our social conscience but certainly enhances our chances to access high-income employment in the formal sector, elevates public perception of our worth in politics, and of course promote our prestige in the social sphere.
In other words, we are persuaded that garnering of academic laurels and titles of Professors and Vice Chancellors, for instance, is not necessarily sufficient proof that those who have so “distinguished” themselves can dissect the distinctive difference between right and wrong as universal constructs precisely because they may well be entrapped in the evolutionary quagmire of the cave-men where unbridled greed, primordial affinity, and “stomach infrastructure” are celebrated as dominant virtues!!
It logically follows also that rabid sycophants, hackneyed, and hired writers masquerading as journalists, legal luminaries, charge and bail lawyers, and other self-serving pseudo professionals who vehemently defend prevailing impunity, brigandage, and the general decadence in our society because of crumbs they scramble for and extract from the tables of mentally retarded power wielders, dwell within the same realm of barbarism as their paymasters.
Beyond all that, it ought now to be stated that the entire gamut of the state instruments of intimidation to wit: the armed forces and the police, customs and immigration, the prisons and the courts, etc, revere and defer to constituted authorities instead of acting in the interest of the citizens as is the case in civilized climes.
All this is to infer that these predators afflicted by the emperor syndrome who are bestriding the Nigerian political terrain as colossus, indulging in massive appropriation of our collective patrimony to satisfy their base instincts leaving public infrastructure and social amenities lying prostrate; turning millions of youths in the North into beggars and Almajiris and in the South into hoodlums and street urchins to be used to unleash religious mayhem in the North and engage in all manner of electoral infractions in different parts of the country including maiming and murdering non-indigenes, preventing them from exercising their democratic rights of voting at the polls as we witnessed in Lagos during the last general elections, are patently impaired to organize a modern society.
Although, these scoundrels, these gang of goons posturing as leaders who deploy the state coercive apparatus and non-state violent groups to be perpetrating racial, religious, and ethnic cleansing, killing thousands of innocent and defenceless citizens, forcing millions of others to seek refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps especially in the Middle Belt, may be jubilating in their enclosed cocoons that they are succeeding in their conquest agenda, but they are also simultaneously and unwittingly portraying themselves before the civilized international community that they have not fully evolved human consciousness but are entangled within the precinct of primate membranes.
It is precisely because of their apparent mild mental disorders that these buccaneers loot public treasuries to acquire mansions in choice cities of the world; destroy education system and send their children abroad to school; turn hospitals into mere consulting clinics (if you permit the cliche) but rush abroad to get best medical care for themselves and family members; allow road networks to dilapidate; provide no electricity and potable water so millions of citizens have to buy generators to get power supply and dig boreholes to have access to water; build no houses for citizens and so millions of people live in shanties; allocate security details to themselves while the citizens are left at the mercy of hoodlums, bandits, kidnappers, unknown gunmen, Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, etc, all of whom are ravaging, rampaging and pillaging the country. Essentially, it is also necessary to recall that alarmed by the palpable state of dementia of the political elites, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Farida Waziri in 2016 advocated that Nigerian Politicians should be subjected to psychiatric tests before they can be allowed to occupy public offices because in her view, only mentally deranged individuals could be so destructive of a society they are “elected” to develop!! What ought to become crystal clear from the preceding is that these politicians with character deficit and flawed family upbringings who have turned Nigeria into the poverty capital of the world and a land flowing with human blood are necessarily hamstrung to engender the much-needed new social order. Thus, the historical task of rescuing Nigeria from its path to perfidy, from its present state of anomie lies with conscientious self-professing public ombudsmen who have transcended racial, religious, and ethnic chauvinisms and who should now draw inspiration from their innate humanity not only to proffer theoretical therapies for the prevailing nauseating social miasma but also galvanise the teeming multitude through pragmatic praxis to usher in a fresh new dawn. Some hope!!
@Tony Masha is a Lagos-based journalist