Grimot Nane Zine

Nigeria: Globalisation Democracy and the Possibility of a Coup d’etat

The United State of America is the chief exporter of “globalisation democracy” that has seen nations around the globe both encouraged and bullied into taking on two incompatible dictates of governance policy; representative democracy and neoliberalism.

Globalisation democracy was exported with the promise of political and economic freedom at all macro and micro levels on the back of free markets, rapid economic growth, economic–political stability and the like. Nigeria like most other countries of the world is a net importer of representative “winner takes all” democracy and fiasco neoliberalism. Misgovernance has worsened beyond recognition, economic performance reduced to voodoo, corruption severely entranced, plutocracy rules and individual freedom has become a pure function of money. These are the dividends of globalisation democracy and most Nigerians are catching hell for it not prosperity.

Globalisation democracy has not only failed importers, it is beginning to fail the chief exporter. In a revealing article titled 5 Powerful Shifts Transforming America Society into an Unrecognizable and Frightening Future” the author, Tom Englehardt, makes the following assertion about the unfolding political condition of federal governance in the American nation-state,

“… American [citizens’] “confidence” in the three classic check-and-balance branches of government, as measured by polling outfits, continues to fall.  In 2014, Americans expressing a “great deal of confidence” in the Supreme Court hit a new low of 23%; in the presidency, it was 11%, and in Congress a bottom-scraping 5%.  (The military, on the other hand, registers at 50%.)  The figures for “hardly any confidence at all” are respectively 20%, 44%, and more than 50%.  All are in or near record-breaking territory for the last four decades.”

If this is the level of confidence Americans have in their state institutions representing the separation of powers despite their greatness, one has to wonder what level of confidence Nigerians have in their Presidency, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court? The military in America has received more than twice, five times and ten times the level of confidence invested by citizens in their Supreme Court, Presidency and Congress, respectively. These figures above reveal to many a clue as to why military coups happen and why military regimes tend to be more trusted by the masses at least initially when they get fed up of catching hell.

As I clearly stated in my article Nigeria Tested by Choice: Buhari, Jonathan or No One? military coups only occur in nations where democracy has failed to such a level that the citizens no longer have confidence in any arm of government to provide credible ‘checks and balances’ in the business of governing the state. Nowadays high court judges get slapped around by politicians with impunity; legislators brawl so much it is no longer news; and the executives are incomparably better thieves than administrators.

How successful has democracy been in governing Nigeria in the past one and half decades? This is for Nigerians to answer despite the “election psychosis” and the “polarised delusions” eating up too many Nigerians at the moment. Many Nigerians are even praying for the elections to come and go; the society is devastated with toxic and unlikely political preferences. One cannot will economic prosperity, good governance, free and fair elections, fair media, enforceable rule of law, effective national security, clean water supplies etc. into existence by magic. It takes the effective separation of powers and good governance to achieve such.

However, the military will find it very hard to take over Nigeria’s reigns of governance and get the support citizens. The military is probably even finished as a potential force of governance. How can Nigerians invest confidence in military forces that have been seen on video running away desperately from Boko Haram insurgents on several occasions? Will Nigerians want to be ruled by a military that only became “strong” when the militaries of neighbouring countries (usually perceived by Nigerians as minnows) came to their aid? How can soldiers who are ill-equipped, poorly paid, poorly trained, have low morale be sought out to govern Nigeria?

However, this loss of confidence in the military may be an irrepressible incentive for their elite to come back to power if only to restore their might, capability and reputation. The man signed up to fight and die for his republic will do just that against politicians to get his reputation back. It could have been worse for now. Well, in 1999 the democrats came to power and after 16 years look at the intractable and many-sided mess democratic Nigeria is in. The people are fed up!

Will it be guns or the ballot? We are watching the panorama very very carefully.

Grimot Nane

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