One thing that has probably seemed odd in the political system of Nigeria is that some things we do are not always thought of as “politics”. There is therefore, some variation in the understanding of politics.
Thus, when we talk about office politics, campus politics, church politics, family, workplace politics and so on, we mean activities that fit into the definition of politics to enhance common decisions for groups of people.
But in the real sense of the word, politics, we often refer only to that kind that has to do with governance in the State. State in this sense refers to a country, such as Nigeria.
Democracy is widely seen as government by the majority, which can be christened “popular power” in accordance with the popular definition by its being “government of the people, for the people and by the people”.
Aristotle, in his “No friend to democracy”, said “democracy exists where the sovereign authority is composed of the poorer classes, not the owners of property”.
Democracy began and reached its peak in ancient Athens. With the decline of Athens, it automatically declined. Athenians held that a life deprived of direct involvement in rulership is without merit, for the citizens involvement in the exercise of sovereignty is the major business of life.
Democracy requires the consent of the governed, formal political equality, inalienable human rights, including the right to political participation, accountability of power to the governed and the rule of law.
This means strict adherence to the principle of equality as well as the rule of law.
The importance of equality is underlined by the tradition of filling offices by lot, the rotation of offices and the adoption of very short tenure to enable as many people as possible to take a turn or participate in holding offices.
Unfortunately, the concept of democracy has been bitterly abused or bastardised in Nigeria to this day. The players know about it but do not give a damn. They are in the least confused about the meaning of democracy and merely address themselves to the idea of popular power which sparks off criticisms and fear among the ruled and opponents.
The practice of democracy in Nigeria has become merely the formation of multiparty for electoral competition rather than adopting the doctrines and theories which are regarded as the classics of liberal democracy.
The founding fathers of Nigeria’s democracy took the momentous historical step of challenging the consensus on the meaning of democracy instead of merely denouncing democracy as being done by the present crop of politicians who use it harmfully.
In Nigeria, democracy has in some degree been reduced to an ideological representation without well internalised realities and serious considerations. There is little or no political order in the Nigerian system. What we have is political disorder.
According to Thomas Hobbes, human nature demands political order, for humans are irresistibly egotistical. For Nigerian politicians, their existence is a continuous striving for the satisfaction of an endless stream of desires, a striving that ends only in death.
The current situation in the leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is putting the country’s democracy in question. The crisis in the party is a crisis in democracy. Democracy is the unifying discourse which is supposed to tame national and international politics to foster peaceful co-existence in a country.
It has been globalised to the point that it is no longer threatening to the political elites around the world, but unfortunately, Nigerian politicians have trivialised it and do not embrace it the way it should be. People no longer enjoy political legitimacy without being subjected to the notorious inconveniences of its practice.
The leadership of the PDP in collaboration with the government should concentrate on improving the economic activities of the country, create employment for the teeming unemployed graduates and skilled youths, and ensure the security of lives and properly of the citizenry while avoiding undue destructive issues that can only bring unnecessary consequences to the people.
Exerting or creating unnecessary authority with unacceptable rules obstruct development and cause division between states and people. We should try to exploit the available riches and opportunities at our disposals to better the situation of the country as well as create a synergy that would promote unity, freedom and peace.
Nigeria’s political problems are largely home-grown and blamed on the rulers. Our rulers rule by corruption, oppression and deceit. Despite Nigeria’s wealth, its citizenry are wallowing in abject poverty and hunger as a result of long neglect, inefficiency and unwise investments by the government.
The country is frighteningly lawless and blatantly corrupt with ethnic divisions and mistrust. Nigeria is seen and known to be playing a positive role in African affairs, and, perhaps, in world affairs too, and putting lots of energy and money into other countries affairs.
The country so dominates the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that this organisation would have been boneless without Nigeria. It is a member of the AU, Commonwealth, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as the UN, and is active in a unique sample of international organisation.
Though the country’s political and economic problems are largely home-grown, the colonial past bear some responsibilities, but receding ones. The military era were controlled by rulers without political experience or with minimal experience of governance and precarious authority.
Their authority was personal, derived from charisma or rank, so that the choice for the people, so far as they had a choice, lay between the demagogue and the general. Some were good, some were bad, but all lacked systematic political backing.
They were obliged, therefore, to rely on their wits or swords. The natural outcome of any regime without focus becomes either an entrenched tyranny or constant shifts and instability while freedoms are curtailed or abused on the plea that the autocrat or the one party state would be more efficient.
But such regimes failed to deliver the goods. Industrial and commercial failure became the order of the day-roads and educational institutions decayed, and the health system deteriorated, with corruption at all levels and sectors thriving.
The instability of the Nigerian State and its disappointing performance are due to the kind of leader who power poverty, corruption and crime in swollen proportions. They indulge in u-conceived and ill-managed economic policies which produce crippling external debts.
This is against the principles of a strong economy, which is the prime element in political power and in the public glare, while economic weakness and inequality promote disorders.
The political independence and sovereignty of Nigeria had not been able to assuage the height of poverty plaguing the citizenry and remove dependence on other counties. The country’s trading system among other trading nations still suffers some barriers in tariffs and quotas as the economy weakens day by day, despite the fact that Nigeria has entered the international economy.
Worse still, the country’s economic ties with other nations are not properly protected due to the corrupt tendencies of our leaders.
Nigerian manufacturers are ill-equipped for international economic competition and they produce inelastic goods for which demand (except in the case of oil is less than world standards. The effects of economic recession is clearly marked on the faces of majority of the nation’s populace and there is desperate poverty, in some areas famine.
The rich are getting richer, while the poor soar in abject poverty. Governments at all levels have talked for decades about poverty eradication without implementing the policies.
The time is, therefore ripe for new measures to be devised principally
APC: C’River LP Disowns Decampees
The Labour Party (LP) has disowned one Mr. Maurice Ekeng, who claimed to be Chairman of the party in Cross River State, and his purported exco who defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC)
The party, in a press statement made available to newsmen, yesterday, described the action of Ekeng and others as “laughable and unfortunate for an old man who parades himself as an elder of the church”.
The statement signed by Comrade Dr. Ofem Lekam, State Publicity Secretary of the party said, “The attention of the leadership of Labour Party in Cross River State led by Ambassador Ogar Osim as Chairman and Comrade Asuquo Etim as State Secretary has been drawn to publications claiming that the State Chairman and members of his executive have decamped to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“Mr Ekeng is an impostor who was never made a State Chairman at any Congress. We challenge him to publish the names of his executive, pictures taken in 2021 extra-ordinary NEC meeting in Benin City where the National Chairman, Julius Abure and the Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim were elected, as well as that of Home Land Hotel Calabar where the National Leadership represented by the Vice Chairman South South, Prince Reuben Nuka inaugurated the current State Caretaker
“The impostor from all available evidences is a member of APC sponsored to create confusion in a peaceful party of idealists who are making sacrifices in travelling round the nooks and crannies of the state to revive the structures of the party at all level in the state which is already making monumental impact in the state ahead of 2023.
“We want to put it on record that, Labour Party is intact, and is not contemplating merging with All Progressive Congress (APC) and any other political party; rather it is a party to beat come 2023.
“We appeal to the general public to disregard any news making the rounds that the LP Chairman and his executive have decamped, it is the imagination of political jobbers and mischief-makers whose occupation is to sacrifice their integrity and ideology just for peanuts.
“It is also instructive to advise Mr. Bassey Ita serving at APC Secretariat at Marian Road Calabar not to allow the temporary excitement of the moment to cloud his sense of reasoning by accepting people claiming a platform without verification.
“It is pathetic that Mr. Bassey Ita is yet to realize that with Governor Prof. Ben Ayade now as leader of APC CRS, the days of kangaroo administration of APC CRS should have been over by now in Cross River State.”
INEC To Deploy 5,346 Personnel For CVR
INEC said on Monday in Abuja that it would deploy 5,346 personnel to 2,673 registration centres for Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) resuming nationwide on June 28.
Its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the declaration at the presentation of INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) and online registration portal for the exercise at a meeting he held with media executives.
IVED is an Android tablet to be used in place of the existing Data Capturing Machine used for CVR in previous exercises.
Prof. Yakubu said that before now INEC had 1,446 registration centres where it registered 14. 2 million voters between 2017 and 2018.
“Learning from the experience of what happened, we have now almost doubled the number of those centres.
“Our hope is that unlike 14.2 million we registered in the previous exercise, we are targeting a minimum of 20 million registrants this time. It will take the number of registered voters to about 100 million,’’ Yakubu said.
He said that majority of the 5,346 personnel to be deployed would be INEC officials, while ad-hoc staff would be used where the Commission lacked the required number of personnel.
He said that the Commission was working with stakeholders for the security of personnel and equipment to be deployed.
Yakubu disclosed that the design for both the online portal and IVED were done by INEC engineers, taking into consideration Nigeria’s peculiarity, including weather, for its durability.
He said registrants would be able to know where machines for registration are located via the portal.
He also noted that the Commission was working on ensuring that Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for internally-displaced persons were reproduced for them so as not to be disenfranchised.
Many would have lost their cards while under siege, he said.
Prof. Yakubu also said that PVCs for newly-registered voters would be produced on quarterly basis after the registration, noting that the list of the registrants would be displayed at the registration units for claims and objections.
Presenting the online portal and IVED, INEC’s Director of ICT, Mr Chidi Nwafor, said that the online portal was designed to serve various needs of eligible Nigerians for the registration.
These, according to Nwafor, include new registration, review of registration, and review of personal details or voting centres, PVCs replacement or collection.
“As a new voter, you can pre-register online, or as a registered voter, you can revalidate your voter registration, request to update your information or transfer your voter registration to another polling unit, Nwafor said.
He said that registrants could register their details online before going to the nearest registration centre selected by them for photographs and finger prints capturing to complete the exercise.
Nwafor said that the portal was designed in a way that once an intending voter completed the online registration, an appointment for physical registration would be generated by the portal for the registrant.
He added that any registrant who could not meet up with the appointed date and time could reschedule the appointment via the same portal.
He said that the portal also made provision for people to contact the Commission in the event of challenges during online registration.
He noted that a registrant had 14 days to complete the online pre-registration and a year to complete the whole process.
He advised registered voters to make use of the portal to identify polling units or centres nearest to them.
Nwafor also assured that the Commission was putting adequate security in place to protect the device and the portal against hacks or cybercrime.
He also said that concerns about underage voter registration would be taken care of as those that registered online would still visit the registration centre before the process could be completed.
The media executives in a communiqué issued after the meeting suggested that the CVR be devolved to INEC LGA Council offices based on thorough appraisal of security situations and related factors.
They also recommended that the CVR be gradually devolved to other designated registration centres nationwide after assessments of security situations and other factors relating to safety of personnel and materials.
They tasked relevant stakeholders, especially political parties, traditional institutions, religious leaders and Civil Society Organisations to mobilise all eligible registrants to participate in the CVR.
PDP NWC Harps On Unity Over Anambra Guber Poll
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) has called for unity among stakeholders in Anambra state, ahead the June 26 primaries for the state governorship election.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, made the call during the NWC meeting with the party aspirants, leaders and other stakeholders from Anambra, held in Abuja on Monday.
Secondus said the meeting was called to enable the NWC to interact with stakeholders, as elections held off season were always very stormy and tough.
“We are here basically for us to make sure first and foremost that all our leaders and all our aspirants are in unity. It is very important for this trying period and you know the period, we are in,”he said.
Secondus said that unity was key, especially now that the country was passing through challenges including insecurity that must not be taken for granted.
He said the only way to get out of that was to make sure that things were done properly.
“Let there be fairness, equity and justice, which is in deficit in our country; and that is what the PDP stands for.
“We stand for fairness, equity and justice under the rule of law. This is a party that believes that all Nigerians are one. We must live together as brothers and sisters,” he said.
The party chairman said that Anambra was key to the mission of rescuing Nigeria and uniting the country.
“Anambra is the economic key of our country and we must conduct our affairs to show the world that PDP is different and ready to rescue this country.
“That is why we are to interact with leaders of our party, and at the end of this meeting, I think we will go home happy that on Saturday it will be the freest congresses ever that are conducted.
“So, Anambra, we want to advise, we want to call our people, the time to put down ourselves is now.
“This is the time to look at each other. We must not allow both Anambra and our country to fail. We must show that good example.
“You have been leading in several areas, you must lead politically now. Our leaders must be statesmen. They must look beyond an individual and narrow interest.
“It is time for us to look at Nigeria. If we get it wrong, the consequences will be great. It will reflect on other parts of the country,” Secondus said.
Also, PDP National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu, said the meeting was customary anytime PDP had major contests.
Akobundu said the meeting was called to ensure everybody was carried along in the primary to ensure peaceful outcome.
“It is for this reason that the NWC directed to meet with all stakeholders in Anambra.
“This is just a cross section of our quality stakeholders in Anambra that were invited to attend this meeting.
“It is simply to rub minds, have an interactive session and discuss ways and means that we can employ to have hitch-free primary with everybody on board.”
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