There is a keen fascination among young men particularly at leading schools and universities around the world with the “captain-pirate” mode of rebellion or disobedience against the injustices and excesses of the status quo in society. This is not surprising. While the literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively, its meaning in the context of fraternal orders of young men is consanguineous with the metaphor of Robin Hood – stealing from the rich or powerful to give to the poor or weak. The young or seasoned pirate, as he solemnly swears at his initiation, under the direction of his captain is thus necessarily an agent of social justice in society. The evolution of the captain-pirate mode of fraternal organisation has failed in Nigeria to remain relevant, even facing obsolescence and has become no better a than a ship that lost its rudder, ripped its sails and steered by the mercy of the tides and winds of the sea. This is tragic since more and more competent actors and voices are needed to help Nigeria’s struggling democracy mature with the hands of the masses holding it. But how have captain-pirate groups in other parts of the world remained very potent political entities in their democratic societies, whether for good or for bad? Continue reading
Voting, votes and honest election results are not enough to prevent elected officials from misbehaving or misgoverning once they get into office. Constitutional checks and balances are not usually sufficient enough to check and balance the activities of those in power abuses of power in the from of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Such abuses are hard to detect by the everyday citizens and those in government have no incentive to report them. Those who independently report such incidences quickly become “enemies of the state”. Therefore, other strong pressures and institutions are required to subject the those in power to govern well, but they must emerge from the citizens themselves or a significant number of them. Nigeria is no exception. Continue reading
The complete metamorphosis of the butterfly is a thoroughly adequate analogy for civilisation: the gradual progression from egg to slug to pupa to imago [the beautiful butterfly]. In the Nigerian context, it starts with the colonised state to inexperienced independent nation-state to transitional nation-state to strong state. The furthest stage Nigeria ever go to was the ugly butterfly that never blossomed. However, after the initial euphoria of the return to democracy it is now evident that Nigerian politicians and clergy are busy reversing the progress of the nation back into the stage of a slug as a consequence of their thefts and misrule; it suits them well. But does it suit the everyday citizens? Continue reading
Numerous factors are acutely responsible for the persistence and worsening of the phenomenon of corruption in many so-called democracies. These factors include regulatory capture, lack of transparency, inappropriate political systems, vertical policy transplantations, weak rule of law, harsh economic conditions, the absence of political legitimacy etc. All these factors tend to be invisible to the general public and require scandal to be known. Another important factor in the growth of corruption is the much less talked about “guilty accuser syndrome”. The guilty accuser syndrome is a sophisticated political selection strategy that ensures that only politicians with “dirty hands” can get into positions of power that are both strategic and lucrative. Such a syndrome is apparently more associated with new and transition democracies than mature liberal version. The guilty accuser syndrome is a major weapon of corrupt political patrons since it can ruin strong institutions and render institutional reform useless.