Dead Speechless: Yankpuzi! How you is? I thought the British were the most civilised people in the world but see how nefariously they treated Julian Assange. Denial of medical treatment, drag-along arrest in the street and a vindictive jail sentence. It was more than barbarous.
Yankius: Lets not talk about Julian Assange. I do not feel like hiding in an embassy at the moment.
Dead Speechless: You are not Julain Assange and you do not run Wikileaks.
Yankius: All the better not to talk about him. Goon! Continue reading
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. It is not surprising. The literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively. Its significance 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.
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 form 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 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 the 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?
Nigeria once [for several years] had constant electricity, reliable tap water supplies, a world-class education, a modestly corrupt civil service, a postal system that could be depended upon, rape was associated with slum areas, robbery was not something that bothered people, people drove their cars to their home towns 100s of miles away by night, educated women did not have to sleep with men to get employment, kidnapping was unheard of, sexual attitudes were responsible, people were not desperate enough to be easily conned by clergymen, major politicians did not serve rice with an apron in the streets to win votes. Most of all people wanted to be something, upwardly social mobility was open access and the moral cost of doing wrong was high. And this is not a glossy nostalgia for something that never happened, we all lived it even better if one is old enough to remember.
Where has it all gone? 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, the 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 critical 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 more associated with new and transition democracies than mature liberal version. The guilty accuser syndrome is a significant weapon of corrupt political patrons since it can ruin strong institutions and render institutional reform useless.
There has been too much optimism invested in what is widely touted in Nigeria as the ‘dividends of democracy’ i.e. the benign and enabling outcomes of democracy. After 18 years of a return to democracy in Nigeria, the dividends of democracy on offer has only meant the military is no longer in government. The dividends have neither been delivered in the form of better leadership nor better governance. Unsurprisingly, the crisis of leadership in Nigeria cannot be solved by democracy as a system all by itself. Democracy can fail societies terribly. Continue reading