By Otas Osayande
Those who thought that democracy is the government of the people, by the and for the good of the people may not be thinking of the Nigerian democracy, after all. In Nigeria;s democracy there appears whiff of sorrow as the practice is completely differ from what is operational elsewhere because of the way and manner the political class runs it.
In democratic society the rule of law operates. The people hold sways, they are seen as the master because of the friendly policies enjoyed in the hands of the political leaders who remain servants of the people, and maintain law and order.
These views, to say the least, made majority of Nigerians to run berserk with excitement when in 1999, democracy tootled majestically into the land, after years of military dictatorship.
But as events unfold, the political elites including watchers of democracy were seen, palpably, in a conundrum, at different times, as pernicious policies were rolled out daily, and then, forcefully swallowed by the masses.
Indeed, those in government today see themselves as tin gods, claiming ownership of the Nigerian nation, thus to their whim and caprices run the affairs of the nation as personal enterprises, obviously, inimical to the wellbeing of all and sundry. Leaders operate like a dictator, as if we are still in the military days of the Sani Abachas. In many circles people of different ideologies and status, particularly those who cherished democracy and stake their lives for it believe that the Nigerian democracy is stinking, in foul and topsy-turvy state since one cannot differentiate between now and the military era.
Since Nigeria surreptitiously ushered in democracy, those who were opportune to find their way to government still behave like the military rulers, treating the masses with disdain, rolling out obnoxious policies that is forced them down their throat, and those who dare kick against them are either maimed, arrested or killed. From the time Obasanjo took over power in 1999 till this change era of President Muhammadu Buhari, the masses are still dancing to the old music of dictatorship.
For instance, in 2013 when Mrs. Lucy Omagbon, a lawyer, got the mandate of the people to be the chairperson of Ovia North East council in Edo State and swimming in the euphoria of that new office sacked no fewer than 160 junior workers because she “had serious challenges of meeting up with workers salaries”.
Expectedly, the sacked workers led by Comrade Sani Moses Edos, Texco and Igiebor protested against it by brandishing their employment letters before the council boss, Mrs. Omagbon who, instead of giving them listening ears, employed the security agents to chase the workers away. Thus, the peaceful protest snowballed into violence during which some government properties were destroyed, resulting to the arrest, brutalization and detection of the leaders at the police headquarters and SSS office in Benin City. Sadly, the like of Mercy Enabulde and Agbomiruekhu Osaro who managed to escape along with others from the iron grip of the security agents died weeks after.
But 27-years old Sani Moses Edos who escaped death by the whiskers and others were declared wanted by the police, in spite of the outcry of the council’s chapter of National Union of local government Employee (NULGE) and other social critics against the draconian and atavistic way the workers were treated.
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole is also on the same page with those who always applied the rule of force in the pursuit of his policies.
Comrade Oshiomhole rules the state with impunity. He employed scores of fierce looking-able body men (they are called Oshiomhole police) to deal with the masses. They use sledge hammer on bus and taxi drivers, market women including pure water sellers and other tots to cough out money to Edo state Government purse.
I remember, though in pains, two incidents when the heartless Oshiomhole police descended on a nursing mother who sells pure water at Oba market in Benin City and a bus driver at New Benin market. Their offence was just a mere refusal to part away with N20 and N800 respectively as their daily contributions to Edo Government’s purse.
Aside these, on February 26, 2014 a team of customs officers attached to Idiroko border reportedly shot dead a 30-year-old Timothy Oke via Stray bullets at Koko village in Ogun State while in search of smugglers. Very recently too, but in an uncivilized manners, three officers of Nigerian Army brutalized two friends – Lasisi Sherildeem and Ayorinde Adewale at Total filling station, Mushin, Lagos for a mere traffic issue. It is sad, indeed in the face of democracy to witness almost always how harmless civilians are being brutalized by our armed security agents.
The political elites have over the years gang-raped the Nigerian economy, stealing billions of naira from the nation. As they loot our treasury dry, the poor masses suffer. Today, pain is in the land, hitting hard on the masses who are crying and dying in silence but, hoping and praying to God for rescue, if only if God is hearing their prayers.
To swim out of this socio-political quagmire, Nigeria leaders must drop the rule of force and allow democratic tenets to permeate the Nigerian society.
Osayande wrote in from 16, Otuogwu Street, Off Nnebisi Road,Asaba (08037121936)