Democracy and representation aver that, in a democracy, government serves as a representative because it is elected by the people. The claims can be true on the following premise. (1) If elections are freely contested and participation is all-encompassing and citizens benefit from political liberties, then government will act in the best interest of its people. (2) if election serves to hold government accountable for the consequence of its past deed, then the predictions of voter’s judgement, will compel it to choose policies that will be optimistically evaluated in their favour by citizens in the subsequent elections. (3) If citizens do not have the knowledge and capacity to evaluate the incumbent government, the threat of not been re-elected will not be adequate to persuade the incumbent government to act in the best interest of the people.
It is important to take into consideration the capacity of those that occupy public office which is a reflection of state capacity in itself. Incidents that have happened in the last few months pose the question; Do Nigerian ruling oligarchs have the required capacity to stir our nascent democracy?
First let us start with the Chibok abduction. President Goodluck Jonathan on May 22nd 2014 told #BringBackOurGirls protesters, direct your protests at the terrorist not me, and learn from other countries that direct their grievances to terrorists not the government. More worrisome is the fact that, Labaran Maku and Reuben Abati were among the team that delivered such a derogatory message on behalf of the president to the Chibok people who are undergoing trauma and pains for their missing children.
Maku, right from his days in University of Jos made no pretence, Nigeria must model it’s democracy to that of America. Let’s ask Labaran Maku; if over 200 Americans were to be kidnapped by the terrorist, will Barrack Obama tell the protesting Americans to direct their protest to the terrorist? Will Obama’s aides and US information minister write a speech without Obama cross-checking the content he wants to read to Americans, in response to their demands?.
I am sure if that happens, the US parliament, and Americans will rise and challenge Obama on democratic accountability and compel the state to account for the lives of the missing American girls.
Labaran Maku, demonstrated apparent lack of capacity in his unverifiable claim, 90 percent of those protesting over Chibok girls are APC members. A lot of Nigeria’s money is being spent on the APC controlled states, thus why play politics with #bringbackourgirls campaign.
The killings, kidnappings and vandalism are targeted to frustrate Jonathan and his administration alleged Maku. It is expected that Labran Maku, a minister who speaks for self acclaimed giant of Africa should verify his claims before making it public.
A key missing link is that Maku is yet to tell us who is behind the #bringbackourgirls global campaign. In case Maku has forgotten, the new UN Guidance on Sexual Violence Reparations was in Nigeria May 2014 and visited Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Abaji. Addressing the people she said, “We are standing with you. We are going to be here, and we will work with you to ensure that when the girls return, they are consoled, and with their families they get the support they need. The girls of Nigeria deserve the best education, and the best care and support”. Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton and Amy Poehler have all joined the #bringbackourgirls campaign asking Nigeria to ensure quick and safe return of the girls”.
Unfortunately, Maku’s sense of logic is that the campaign is all about APC’s plot to frustrate Jonathan’s administration. Oh what a powerful party APC is to have gotten such a global influence. The incidence that followed Maku’s allegation was an attack on the #BringBackOurgirls at the Unity Fountain abuja, followed by the attempt to stop #BringBackOurGirls’ Campaign in Kano. As a result of Maku’s lack of capacity to understand what democratic government entails, he should be reminded that Jonathan is the Nigerian president, therefore he must accept responsibility, take control and lead. That is what democratic accountability demands.
Maku’s counter insurgency strategy is media blackout, at the public presentation of a book titled `What they don’t teach you in broadcasting`, written by Mr Orji Ogbonaya Orji. He called for media blackout on terrorist and terror attacks in furtherance of the counter-insurgency campaign against Boko Haram. He further argued, terrorists had taken advantage of the existing free media space in the country to propagate their ideology. What a wonderful counter insurgence strategy from a man who dines and advices the president on how to combat insurgency. What Maku doesn’t know is that the United Nations General Assembly, adopted a global counter insurgency strategy on 8th September, 2006. Also the ECOWAS counter terrorism strategy and implementation plan which was considered at the ECOWAS commission headquarters in Abuja (from 9th-10th May 2011), have clearly-stated counter insurgency strategies. It will be wonderful if Maku can study these documents and understand them before proffering solutions in future.
Maku, who does not have any expertise on electricity generation, had said 11 power plants will be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2014, despite his claim, we are now in the month of June 2014 and the darkness lingers. Also on the ASUU strike, Maku accused the opposition All Progressives Congress of manipulating the strike with the aim of gaining political advantage and ascending to power on the wings of the crisis in the education sector. What an intelligent minister of information we have. Maku’s lack of capacity became more apparent, when President Jonathan described corruption in Nigeria as allegations of mere perception, not reality. If Maku had done his job as he ought to, he would have built the capacity of the president to know the implication of such statement on our democracy.
Does Maku know Nigeria practice the worst form of democracy at the moment? Does he also know democratic nations put people with required capacity who can update ideas, subject existing knowledge to the test of reality in the office? Does Maku know that he and his ruling class colleagues are holding Nigeria back with their intellectually-convulsed ideas?. One of these days, we shall start classes for them on democracy and democratic accountability.
It is more damning that this lack of capacity is coming from a man the president sees as the egg head of his stay in office. This same Maku and co are responsible for our setback. Don’t they know this? Democracy is not about, public officials living large and bank directors helping them to safeguard the looted funds. Subsidy monies stolen and yet there are no jobs, the refineries are down. What should come first in our democracy? Complete capacity building for Maku and other ruling class oligarchs on what democracy entails.
It was the same attitude that was used by Maku to make Nigerians accept the removal of subsidy. Maku in his argument said, removal of subsidy is important so we can build refineries and fix the existing ones, and that government is determined to get it right this time. From janury 1st 2012 to date no refineries have been built, we still import crude, and we continue to buy petrol for N97 per a litre in Abuja and N120 per litre in some states. Maku is yet to tell us why government has not fulfilled its promise. And why the reality that Nigerians no longer trust their governments has continued to be substantiated.
Maku has repeatedly said; the real enemies of Nigeria are those who for opportunistic reasons seem to have resolved that they will not allow President Jonathan administration to have a moment of peace. But Maku must know, his lack of capacity to do his job which misleads our president is the real problem and will continue to be the problem.
Haven known Maku lacks the capacity to understand situations around him properly because of his intellectual torpidity and amnesia, he will certainly have two responses for me (1) APC has paid me for writing this piece or (2) I am one of the frustrated Nigerians out there seeking for attention. This he will do because he will surely allow his ignorance to betray him in his usual character.
Audu Liberty Oseni
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