September 19th will remain evergreen in the history of democratic evolution in Nigeria’s polity. The combined alliance of the party in power at the Federal level and a strong cartel of political godfathers, were EFFECTIVELY DEFEATED AND DISMANTLED in Edo State.
It was made possible, courtesy of the people’s resolve, and Gov. Obaseki’s acceptance amongst his people. For that, Edo State stood out as a beacon of hope to other Nigerian states that are being run by pockets of few STRONG MEN that have hijacked everything in such States. Edo made a wonderful political history, but somewhere in the heartland of the South East region, we can’t say the same.
On 19th September, Edo was actively in the business of advancing true democratic ideals, while Enugu State was also engaged in an activity that clearly demonstrated the political beliefs and philosophy of Enugu State “powers that be”; that power actually dwells amongst some selected few, and not the Enugu people.
Whilst a process that is enhancing and advancing sound democratic ethos was taking place in Edo on the 19th, an unholy activity that was codenamed solidarity visit, was going on in Enugu State, and the subtly OVERT rationale behind the gathering, is nothing short of the attempt by some persons to reiterate their stance on AN ARCHAIC AND ANTI-PEOPLE POLITICAL METHOD OF APPOINTMENT AND SELECTION OF WHO SUCCEEDS WHO! A clear undemocratic activity.
In Enugu State, Democracy has been weeping. At every election year, people are not given the opportunity to elect their Governor; it has always been a strategic appointment, before the lackluster voting that only does nothing but to stamp in a one man’s choice on the entire state.
For long, Enugu State has been adjudged to be a very politically peaceful State, but the truth of the matter remains that it has been a false peace that tends to subsume the people’s freedom of choice when it comes to so important issue like electing their leader. It’s indeed a caricature of true peace, for a wise man once said that true peace is not just the mere absence of conflicts and disturbances, but the presence of justice, equity, freedom and fairness. When those are lacking, one can’t begin to talk of true peace. Since 1999 till date, Enugu people have never been truly and completely involved in the process of choosing our leaders; that choice has always been made by some very few persons that believe that their say is final.
The most disturbing angle to all these imbroglio, is that while other states are waking up and shaking off such bizarre political beliefs and practices, Enugu State is busy trying to build a Tower of Babel in celebration of such outdated and anti-people tendencies. A group that has no legal definition will orchestrate an economically expensive charade, all in an attempt to continue to mortgage our political freedom, and people will be clapping for them. What an abnormally!
Political godfatherism is a real evil. It tends to rubbish the very soul of democratic system of Government which is fundamentally defined as a political system that carries everyone along, especially the majority of the people. Majority in this sense, is operatively defined in terms of numerical strength. Whenever and wherever godfatherism is allowed or encouraged, it indirectly results to the people been forced to relinquish their inalienable rights of making a sound political choice, as political creatures we are, in Aristotelian’s wording. In Nigeria, we are all witnesses to the negative effects of godfatherism, how it could seriously hamper on the people’s ability to ask for, and get good governance. How can you confidently ask for something from someone that you didn’t put in power? Or how possible is it for someone that was literally plotted into a position by some few individuals, abandon his/her masters to please others? Loyalty will always be for the persons that did the installation, and the overall interest of the people will always be relegated to the backgrounds, any and every time it conflicts with the interests of the godfather
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In Enugu State, we are more than 3.8million inhabitants, if and when the choice of who to lead us is left to one or two persons, regardless of such a persons’ status, then we should not be regarding ourselves as a democratic polity. Plutocracy, Aristocracy or even Monarchy, is what we are practicing in reality. If not so, what will motivate some group of people that doesn’t have any legal backing or the mandate of the entire Enugu people, to meet and start making spurious declarations on whose duty it is, to appoint/select who will govern Enugu people? I will continue to seek for answers… Are we just deceiving ourselves when we claim to be a very peacefully democratic State?
It’s a high time we stopped this exhibition and flagrant display of political megalomaniac by some persons in our dear Enugu State. The people are always good enough to freely elect who will lead them. It’s not a choice to be made for us by some group of people, it’s always our choice to be made: for that is the core of all democratic systems. Whatever ideas anyone could have, whatever case anyone could ever wish to make, must not be foisted down our throats, it has to be diligently and sincerely pursued the democratic means, not via declarations and assertions!
On the 19th, history was made in Edo, on the same 19th, a historical dent was recorded in Enugu State, albeit the fact that such dent will be short-lived, but a dent is a dent!
Obute Ifeanyi, EDON’S SouthEast coordinator writes from Enugu. 08035087201, firstname.lastname@example.org.