Journalism in the service of society

Democracy in trouble

‘…we in Nigeria must be very careful of what we and who we copy from and who we love. We must find a way of writing our own constitution that is devoid of ethnicity, religion, politics and quota system so that we can begin to derive strength in our diversity’

Democracy in trouble 2

SOON after the Second World War, the battle line was drawn between those countries that embraced democracy meaning Capitalism, Free Movement, Freedom of the Press and Religion and to some extent government of the people, by the people and for the people and those countries that embraced Communism along the areas of East Europe then known as the Iron Curtain, China, some African countries later Cuba and some South American Countries.  The cold war then developed and the two major powers started expanding into countries that looked vulnerable in terms of development, particularly amongst the so-called non-allied nations. The attempt by the non-allied states to become a third power did not go far enough and do no longer exist. Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin wall with most Countries in East Europe opting for capitalism, free economy, free movement and what is known today as democracy. The one time very powerful Russian Empire controlling almost a third of the world with its brand of Communism found itself almost isolated in Europe only with a bit of power in Cuba thereby, Communism was almost going away but Russia did not take it all well especially when China an ally started their own brand of communism with a bit of openness and free development.

Even though Russia started a bit of Capitalism but stayed close with an ideology that was not too different from Communism now known as Autocracy that enable them to propagate the far-right movement that is now spreading around the world. We saw an attempted Coup recently in Germany, France, and a new far-right government in Italy. If Donald Trump had progressed to a second term as President, a good part of America could have been heading to Autocracy aligning with Russia, China and North Korea and some parts of Europe, which would have given Putin the comfort he needed to get back the Empire that Russia once was and possibly a good part of the world and he was going to do it without firing a gun. It must also be remembered that Britain leaving Europe was part of the underground plan.

Therefore, with Trump losing the election for a second term and the far-right movement not able to carry the USA, the war to get back some part of Europe had to start with Ukraine but underestimating the resolve of the rest of Europe, Nato and now, the USA.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece in this column titled “Democracy, Autocracy or Religious Monarchy; which of these systems is most suited for Nigeria”. And once again, I would take some aspect of the published article to buttress my position and research of what might happen to democracy in the coming years.

The present-day political discourse and structure that we practice known as the presidential system copied in part from the United States of America seem to be at a crossroads. Attempts have been made a few times to rewrite the system, with so much acrimony. Such attempts were made by the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo and later by Goodluck Jonathan, the two most powerful and influential presidents knew that what we have is not working and decided to do something and I commend them.

During the term of President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was the attempt to insert a third term agenda that truncated what was to become a historical transformation, and during the term of President Goodluck Jonathan; it was the inability, the distrust, and not knowing how to manage our cultural religious difference, our diversity and political ideology that made the rewriting of our constitution a mission impossible. The two attempts were dumped despite the huge cost to the nation and the hopes and aspirations of the people especially since the present constitution was becoming unworkable and unamendable. Our artificial geographical divide and self-imposed quota system and the issued derivation continued to make peace and unity of the nation a distant matter.

Some time ago, I wrote about the parliamentary system of government that we inherited from our then-colonial masters practised and known all over the world as the government of the people, by the people and for the people referred to as today’s democracy. The system has remained with the people of British and British-related former colonies for centuries. Some parts of the system have been modified and amended with growing times and in accordance with the aspiration of the people. United States of America for instance perceived to be the biggest democracy in the world simplified the system because of the many nations in one country. Amendments have been made because of the simplicity of the constitution now known as the presidential system. The same can be said of the parliamentary system in India, some Caribbean countries and down under countries like Australia and New Zealand. Canada also practices this system despite her proximity to the USA.

If Europe was weakened after the exit of the United Kingdom which was a grand plan and if Trump had succeeded in winning the second term by election or insurrection, that was to be the beginning of the major entry of the far right into most of Europe and the United States of America. But with the support being given by the United States in stabilizing democracy in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean; Trump, Putin and the Far Right’s movement would have changed the global political landscape that is now known as Democracy into Autocracy.

So, we in Nigeria must be very careful of what we and who we copy from and who we love. We must find a way of writing our own constitution that is devoid of ethnicity, religion, politics and quota system so that we can begin to derive strength in our diversity.

In the coming week, I will reach the remarkable age of 85, so for a few weeks, I will yield this column to some of my co-writers and researchers, Bunmi Obanawu, Onuorah Aligbe, Akin Olukiran and Oluebube Okafor but will resume my writing in the New Year if my hands and mental state continue to support the rest of my body. Also hoping that the ink in my pens continues to flow and, on that note, I would like to wish my readers A Wonderful Christmas Season and a Happy New Year.

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