A true democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Democracy is a game of numbers, where the will and the aspiration of the majority prevails and determine the shape, style and purse of government and governance. In Nigeria, the only thing that resembles a democracy is election cycle, and the outcome is fraught with all manner of malpractices.
Our democracy was hatched in our collective pain and suffering under the military. The call, clamour and the travail was a strong and united one devoid of religious or ethnic sentiments. We had one common enemy and they were the men in uniform. We were all united in this call; Muslims and Christians, traditionalist and agnostics. Hausas, Igbos, Yorubas, and all the other tribes and tongues wanted the military to go. The supreme price paid by some of the leaders and voices of this agitation was not in vain because the military returned to their barracks and bases.
With the military out, the people kicked the ball of nation building and good governance to elected politician these 15 years and counting. Despite the fact that we have earned more as a nation than any 15 years period in our history, we have a lot to show in terms of grand theft, political rascality and recklessness. We have seen innocent Nigerians killed violently second only to the civil war. The people we purportedly elected to lead us are banded together to work for themselves and their cronies, while the ship of Nigeria runs adrift.
Our political class and their cronies have evolved a new version of democracy. It is very similar to our traditional system of government, with public officers seeing themselves as emperors and kings that can do no wrong and should not be questioned or criticized. On the other hand, the people are seen as disgruntled, ungrateful, and always complaining bunch of citizens suffering from entitlement mentality.
In our democracy, it is abundantly evident that the ruling elite are united in their disdain for the people of Nigeria. They are in one accord in their quest to plunder our commonwealth. We know that whenever they disagree openly, it is not because of the interest of the people, but because one group feels they are being marginalized in the business of corruption.
In our democracy, we see politicians dribbling their ways into the hearts of the people in order to stay in power, using religion, ethnicity and tribalism. Before they get in they are religious and pious. When elected they become devious, ravenous and money gobbling. The elites are united in their style and strategy their purport religion or ethnicity notwithstanding. For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be sliced and diced by corrupt politicians to gain power that will do us little or no good.
In other for us to experience a change, we must unite. It is bad enough that the political class is band of corrupt, short sighted, religious and ethnic bigots; they have allowed their political differences to spiral into terrorism. They have birthed a monster that is killing the poorest and the most vulnerable of our people. We are all living witnesses to the senseless killings and traumatic experiences among the poorest and most vulnerable members of our commonwealth. We have seen boys shot in the head and others with their throats slit in their school dormitory. We have seen horrible images of burnt and mangled bodies carried in wheel barrows. Villages burnt, women raped, men killed and hundreds of girls kidnapped from their school that stands in ruins.
We the people must unite again like we did under the military. We must unite to stop the stealing of our money. We must unite to stop the forces threatening our collective people. We must remind ourselves that the average Nigerian is enterprising, peace loving, and hard working. We must remind ourselves that we the people are not at war with ourselves. We must let the politicians know that the war is theirs and they must not allow their political difference to further consume our peace as a people. We the people outlived the many evil juntas. We the people are the owners of the power. We have the power to vote in and vote out. We should allow our suffering to unite us as corruption unites them. Once we the people can unite we will win, divided they win. God is on our side.
Sunday Ogidigbo, is the Pastor of Holyhill Church, Abuja. He microblogs @SOgidigbo. Seed him feed back via firstname.lastname@example.org.