I have watched with keen interest the journey of the Nigerian state in our democratic experience over the years. It is quite befuddling as it is equally bemusing the unbridled manner with which successive governments since the return of democracy have chosen to treat the ideals of the democratic principles. Those with good taste including my humble self have often shuddered in disbelief how a nation can believe so much in democracy and yet observe it’s tenets in the breach. I have quite often reminisced at the celebrated speech of the legendary African-American rights activists, Dr. Martin luther king Jr who jigged those popular lines on the 28th of August,1968 at Washington DC titled “I have a dream”; to ascertain the feat of our improvement and level of observation accorded some international human rights instruments which Nigeria is a signatory. But as customary of the putrid system and near autarchy we operate that have birthed quite an avalanche of petty dictators and sadistic persons who care less for human rights, we have backpedaled a hundred times. In fact with the state lethal machine under the leaders, nay rulers inflexible grip, they wrought unspeakable harm on anyone in their vicious bulldozing to drown voices of courageous dissents whom they subtly christianize state foes.
Nigerian practice of democracy absymally betrays the paper definition of the principles of democractic governance and yet unabashedly we even declare a public holiday to celebrate what is obviously grossly absent in our political clime.
If my memory still serves me right, democracy as described by the iconic American Statesman which appears to be of universal relevance is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. European historians in their common way of concocting historical facts in the march of civilization to mend their indeficiency would have us believe democracy came from Greece to the rest of the world. This very incorrect documentation robbed the Igbo of what would have gained them a space in the guinness book of records as originators of democractic systems and ideologies, though the debate rages on in monumental proportion.
Over the years, democracy drew to itself all tenets of human rights of which freedom of expression and press is pronounced. Interestingly, after suffering the pangs of lengthy years of military unprofessional meddling with civilian jobs which saw the country bled profusely politically and socio-economically, Nigeria declared May 29 shifted to June 12 by present central government to reflect the anguishing yawning of millions of Nigerians who believed the latter date as the authentic of its democratic watershed national importance.
Whether the practice of democracy in Nigeria is worth the parameters to measure constituents of democractic governance is a question left your conscience to ponder.
In the present political dispensation, there have been grossest breaches of human rights by states with undiluted impunity. Protesters and agitators of change are clamped down upon, flagrantly battered , teargassed and unfortunate ones hauled off into dark unsanitary custody devoid of trials. A government that cannot brook opposition nor take chances with the potentials of court of public opinion is grossly undemocratic.
Only few states of the country can be said to have engaged her people in a civic manner befitting of humanity principles. In Enugu State, we have a democratic totem in His Excellency Rt. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, a hero of democracy as rightly described by Ndi Enugu.
Unlike the building seemingly conspiracy theories to gag the media and shut the citizens’ window of expression on government policies affording exchange of ideas, constructive criticism and others, the government of Enugu State encourages massive involvement and participation of all and sundry in governance. Untutored media personnels are allowed enlarged investigative territory to operate which they readily abuse for lucre reasons addressing from their unprovoked aspersions and infantile propaganda marketed against Ugwuanyi who reserves the scepter to revoke their tenancy.
Yet, we have not heard of anyone barricaded or slammed into detention for airing his or her beliefs about the government, instead they are pelted with juicy offices to translate those ideas into tangible results. We haven’t heard of protesters or rallying Youths of the state hammered under the anvil of routine state oppression. We have not heard of missing persons or the extreme scores extra judicially cancelled for eternity. As a leader, Ugwuanyi is accommodate, very absorbing uncommon character of today’s ruler-ship. He represents the traditional Igbo man and his philosophical beliefs of personal liberty, individuality of opinions and fundamental freedom of varying degrees of means to state them. Conversely, in the face of shrinking national economy with tokens parced out to states, yet some troublous governors wage undeclared wars on imaginary foes using state’s lean purse at the expenses of democractic lives of the people.
Surprisedly, his Excellency the governor of Enugu state has no significant rival for the trophy of rule of law , natural justice and the larger democratic principles. The recent human rights civic center inauguration is evident of Ugwuanyi’s apostleship of tenets of democracy.
Enugu state is truly in the hands of God!
A Political Analyst
Media Team Member: Enugu di n’akachukwu movement