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2019: Masses’ chance?

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NIGERIA is experiencing much expected political re-engineering having in October 1, marked her 58th birthday as a nation.
We have journeyed so far since the nation joined exalted nations of democratic countries. While the nation has experienced so many democracies since inception, we must know that change takes time and persistence.

No matter the experiences we have gathered on our journey as a democratic nation till date, we should realize that the future holds an exciting country. We need not be held back by the past.

It is understandable to feel dismayed by the mistakes and concerns of yesterday, but it is a mistake to allow the past to become a prison. The past can no longer be changed, so the second condition for fruitful change is a step slightly from the past. The past is an information bank from which you can learn. But it is not a web in which you are caught.

As we go to cast our votes during the 2019 general elections, let us realize that much of the future is not under our control. We must accept uncertainty and learn how to the face future with confidence. You must therefore go out and exercise your democratic franchise and help elect leaders of your choice – those that will help when voted in to make the right legislation that will remove poverty, pain and agony inflicted on our people.

Writing on politics in the National Light issue of October, 29, 2009, titled, ‘2010: Don’t elect a mule”, I pointed out in a half paged thought provoking article to the electorate that “many voters seldom take the time to investigate a candidate’s moral standards, political philosophy and position on vital issues.”

In Anambra East Today, a newsletter Vol. 1, issue 1, Jan-March 2014, I advised politicians to play within the rules of the game and guide democracy we all fought and took from the military. All voters should wait and vote wisely in order to affect an enduring democracy.

Therefore, political aspirants into whatever positions should give meaning to democracy rather than redefining it, by the way it impacts positively on the lives of the people thereby bringing back the much expected hope, promise and expectations which Nigeria’s current democracy was ushered in.

Moreover, as political activities heat up, let the democracy we fought and won from the military not be infected by the bug of our curious contagious national ailment- the Nigeria factor. Let democracy not be tinkered, molded and reshaped into a grotesque that defies description.

In The News Magazine of November 8, 1993 (Pg 14), titled: Democracy Will Thrive, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, in an interview, pointed out that Nigerian politicians today are not honest and are too greedy. He had thought that the younger generation would make Nigeria greater but they have succeeded in destroying Nigeria.

They have been looking for money and they have thrown morality into the gutter. “It is a pity indeed. I should be crying to witness this tragedy. I think I should be crying instead of laughing. The situation is very grave and serious”.

In the same publication, Chief Ogunsanya advised us to be very upright in our day to day activities. We must always be very sincere in our behavior. We must stick to the honest path; our leaders must not see public office as an avenue to make money. Indeed, there must be an effort to change the value system. Leaders must not encourage sycophancy while the followership must discipline itself.

Writing on Democracy in his book, Sociology, the Study of Human Relationship (3rd edition), W. La Verne Thomas et al, informed that “in a democracy, power lies in the hands of the governed. The people help to make decisions that affect their lives”.

He imagined what would happen if every American of voting age had to vote on every social issue! Instead, in larger societies, citizens periodically elect representatives to make decisions for them. Such societies are known as representative democracies.”

Moreover, in the same publication, the authors revealed that “in a representative democracy, voters are still very much involved in the decision-making process. If citizens are happy with the decisions their representatives make, they will vote for them again at election time. If, on the other hand, they do not think their elected representatives did a good job, citizens will choose other candidates when election time comes”. In Nigeria, the time is now!

It should be noted that in democracies, the people have a say in decision making. In addition, leaders are elected by the people. They do not inherit their positions or seize power by force.

In this connection, with the adoption of the newly draft constitution and change over to a democratically elected civilian government, the separation of powers, which forms the bedrock of the freedom and democracy that everyone so much cherished should be the practice.

Notably, some of the essential features of democracy are as follows, there must be existence of law, enjoyment of fundamental right, periodic election and sensitivity of government to needs of people. Others include free press, free judiciary.

Therefore, as we go to elect our leaders come 2019 general election, we need great wisdom as we vote, that truth and right may have a chance.

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