The Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Damagum, has said the National Working Committee under his leadership will not suspend or dismiss any ‘disloyal’ member.
This is coming on the heels of the recent admonition by some stakeholders within the PDP, asking Damagum to sanction former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and many others for alleged anti-party activities during the just-concluded general elections.
Damagum, who dismissed this while addressing the PDP Mobilisers Group in Abuja, revealed that the NWC had approved to set up a committee to review and reconcile all aggrieved members.
The chairman said the party was more interested in reconciliation and bringing more people into the party than sanctioning any alleged anti-party, which, according to him, may destroy the party.
He said, “They are always telling you these people are not doing the right thing. But when you are in a position of leadership, you are bound by a set of rules, and these rules, even though they are itching you, you don’t apply them—not because of anything, but so that you don’t destroy the house.
“I have been seeing the agitations within our platforms, saying the NWC was not doing this or doing that. This is an opportunity for me to explain.
“Somebody has said that sometimes when you are not knowledgeable about certain things and you go on saying about your thinking, it will always injure the sensibility of others to understand you.”
Damagum also described the 2023 presidential election defeat as “most painful”, cautioning members of the party against a blame game.
He said, “I am very proud to say that this party was started by me as a driver. Today, I am the acting national chairman by the grace of God. I have never calculated that I will be given this title. I believe in this party, I believe that this party is the best in this country.
“The NWC has already come up and approved a 2023 election review and reconciliation committee. They will go and investigate. We’ll give them the mandate to form subcommittees. However, there is only one national committee that will review the 2023 election and also review from 2015 to 2019. This is so that at the end of the day when they bring the reports, we will meet and take decisions.”
Damagum, who admitted that many members were involved in anti-party activities at different levels, said, “If I said we should start suspension, I will end up suspending many people because they were involved in anti-party activities. So, please bear with us. We intend to keep this party together and to manage it. This is my mandate.”
The Nigerian Military Wrestlers at the ongoing 36th World Military Wrestling Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, have clinched gold and silver medals, respectively.
This information was conveyed in a statement made available to Defence Correspondents in Abuja over the weekend by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau.
The statement explained that female wrestler Corporal Hannah Reuben achieved the feat on Friday, defeating her Italian contender in the 68-weight category of women’s freestyle wrestling to secure the gold medal.
According to the statement, “The Armed Forces of Nigeria wrestling team made an indelible mark on the global stage, setting a record and garnering widespread acclaim. The medal was presented to Cpl Reuben by the Vice President of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), Mr. Dirk Shwede.”
Recall that this is the first time the Armed Forces of Nigeria have secured a gold medal since participating in the CISM World Wrestling Championship. Another commendable performance was by Lance Corporal Ojolaide Esther, who earned a silver medal in the 72-weight category earlier at the event.
According to the statement, the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Major General Emmanuel Onumajuru, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa, and the Director of Sports, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Abidemi Timothy Marquis, were present to witness the glory.
It added that the senior officers respectively maintained that the historic victory wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen CG Musa, acknowledging his crucial role in the team’s success.
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have thwarted crooked attempts by drug syndicates to export illicit substances including various quantities of methamphetamine and opioids concealed in hems of new jeans trousers, dolls, buttons, local soap and tins of milo beverage at some courier firms in Lagos State to Europe, United Arab Emirate and Asia.
Some of the consignments intercepted by the NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) at courier houses in Lagos include: tramadol 225mg concealed in hems of new jeans trousers heading to Cyprus; shipment of cannabis sativa hidden in heads of dolls going to Dubai, UAE; sachets of tramadol 225mg buried in tins of milo beverage going to UAE and another set of same drug hidden in local soap also going to UAE, as well as a consignment of methamphetamine concealed in buttons heading to Hong Kong.
Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, who revealed this on Sunday in a statement, said that a shipment of another illicit substance coming from Florida, USA was equally intercepted at a courier firm while the recipient, Daniel Ogi was tracked by NDLEA officers and arrested at 5 Akeem Shittu street, Ajao Estate Lagos on Friday.
Also, operatives in Lagos on Friday arrested a drug kingpin, Okechukwu Ogala, 56, who specialises in exploiting and recruiting young citizens to export meth to Asian countries.
“He was arrested at Blue Moon Hotel in Okota area of Lagos with 60 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.009kgs.
In another operation in Lagos, operatives on Friday recovered 393kgs of cannabis in a shop at Akala, Mushin while a suspect, Justin Enuonye, who deals in Canadian Loud, was arrested by the police at Victoria Island and transferred to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA with 154 parcels weighing 92kgs,” Babafemi said.
A team of NDLEA operatives also intercepted a vehicle at Oyingbo area of Lagos and recovered 108kgs of cannabis from it, while 675kgs of the same substance were recovered from the store of a wanted dealer, Wahab Olota, at Adedoja area of Mushin, Lagos.
In Edo State, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, November 29, stormed the Ujiogba forest, Esan West LGA where they recovered 5,988kgs of cannabis already processed and ready for distribution while a 22-year-old, Mson Bunde, (a.k.a Tete Peter Joseph) found in a hut on the cannabis farm was arrested.
No less than 120,000 capsules of tramadol concealed in new sound systems packed in a Jos, Plateau State-bound bus were seized by NDLEA officers acting on intelligence along Onitsha-Awka road, Anambra State on Monday 27 November While 123 blocks of cannabis weighing 73kgs were recovered from a suspect, Abdullahi Muhammad Bello along Gombe-Bauchi road, Gombe State on Wednesday 29 November, while operatives in Abuja seized 168 blocks of same psychoactive substance with a total weight of 101kgs from the store of a fleeing drug dealer in Kabusa area of the FCT.
No fewer than 8,000 bottles of codeine syrup were recovered by NDLEA operatives on Friday 1st December when they intercepted a vehicle transporting the opioid along Abuja- Kaduna road, with the driver, Shamsu Isiyaku and his conductor, Muhammad Maina arrested. Same day, operatives also arrested Ernest Esechie, 30, with 44.4kgs of compressed cannabis sativa along Gwantu- Sanga road, Kaduna.
In Kogi State, NDLEA officers arrested Ahmad Umar, 18, with 46.4kgs cannabis at a check point in Kabba, while Jamilu Zakari, 32, was nabbed at Kofar Idi, Kandahar, Bauchi town, Bauchi State with 125 blocks of same substance that weighed 146kgs.
At least, 542.3kgs of cannabis were recovered from a suspect, Festus Egeogoli, 32, when his base at Jakpa road, Warri, Delta State was raided by NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, while 125.9kgs of same substance were also seized from a store in the same area.
Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, on Sunday, took on the national president of Miyetti Allah, Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, for dismissing his recent quit notice to suspected killer herders to vacate the South West.
He said the nation’s constitution does not support mindless killings of farmers, vicious rape of their wives and destruction of farmlands, which were rampant during the immediate past administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that President Bola Tinubu will not tolerate such inhumane acts.
Apparently reacting to a report credited to Bodejo in the media, Adeyemo contended that “some alleged killer herders must be stopped from re-igniting tension and atmosphere of insecurity in any part of Nigeria, most especially in the agrarian communities and settlements in Yorubaland by the security agencies.”
Describing the national president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, as “mere attention seeker”, he emphasised that :”though Nigeria’s Constitution allows citizens to reside in any part of the country, it does not support herders under whatever guise to graze his cattle on the farmlands, kill farmers struggling to eke their living and rape their wives and daughters.”
In a personally signed statement forwarded to journalists, Igboho averred: “It is glaring that Bodejo, who has just woken up from his slumber is merely seeking undue recognition through his unjustifiable position on the carnage by his fellow herders which had caused untold hardship for small and large scale farmers, even in the North and more prominently in the South, where they often move their cattle to graze farms and destroy cash crops.”
According to the statement, “It is obvious that Nigerians are already bearing the brunt of rising cost of food commodities in the markers, while inflationary rate had reached the roof top, making life more miserable for the downtrodden masses.”
It reads further: “It is imperative for the Miyetti Allah group to be conscious of the fact that the acts of lawlessness permeated by former President Muhammadu Buhari will not hold sway under the immediate incumbent President Bola Tinubu. It will do them a lot of good to perish the thought of unprovoked attacks on farmers, particularly in the South West, where we have lost many innocent farmers. Relevant security agencies and the people will not allow them to further compound the woes of the common man.
“We are again charging the heads of security agencies to redouble their efforts and strategies in ensuring that the sustenance of peace and tranquility in all parts of the country, including all the states in the South West so that farmers and agrarian communities will not be subjected to terror and violent attacks by rogue Fulani herders and cattle rustlers.
“While we believe in the efficiency of the Police, the Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other paramilitary agencies to ensure security of lives and properties, we want to charge our people to be vigilant and quickly report any act capable of breaching the peace in their respective communities and locations,” the statement concluded.
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in this year’s elections, Mr Peter Obi, and the presidency have trade words over the 1,411 Nigerian delegation at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Many Nigerians have criticised the high number of Nigerian delegates, the third highest at COP28, amidst the economic suffering of millions of citizens due to government policies, including the rising cost fuel and food.
Obi on Sunday in a post on his X handle sarcastically congratulate Nigeria for having the same number of delegations like China’s.
“In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China, with the same number of contingents at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.
“While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33bn, about $165 per head. China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured,” Obi said.
He noted that Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times Nigeria’s population.
He said, “Most importantly, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non relevant civil servants or relations, friends and hangers-on of high government officials. Most of them hardly understand or have anything to do with Climate Change.
“This huge contingent is out at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship. I pray earnestly that a day will come soon enough when we can focus on competing with China on productivity and the miracle of migrating the highest number of its citizens out of poverty over a relatively short time.
“As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as a a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.”
The former Anambra State governor said Nigeria need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour and to tie spending to necessity and national Priority.
However, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Temitope Ajayi, said that Nigeria’s 1,411 delegates at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai were not all government-funded.
In a statement on Sunday, the presidential aide, said that the Nigeria delegation include civil society actors, business persons and others who have different roles to play at the conference.
Ajayi said the Nigerian delegation include business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists.
He, however, did not state the exact number of delegates being funded by the government amidst speculations that over 600 were government-funded.
“In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also participating are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, NDDC.
“Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger-Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented.
“The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses,” Ajayi said.
Nollywood actress and media personality, Moet Abebe, has revealed why she is still single at 34.
The thespian said she is yet to find a “sensible man,” lamenting that most men “don’t have sense.”
She spoke in a recent episode of the Bahd and Boujee Podcast co-hosted by her and reality star Tolanibaj.
Moet said: “I’m still single because I’ve issue with men. My issue with men is that they don’t have sense.”
Actor Daniel Etim-Effiong, who was a guest on the podcast, advised Moet to get a man she can nurture, but she said she isn’t ready to “baby” any man.
Kano State Police Command says it has arrested Tasiu Al’amin-Roba, a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Cabinet Office, and one Abdulkadir Muhammad for alleged diversion of the state’s palliatives.
In a phone interview on Sunday, the Commissioner of Police, Hussaini Gumel, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the suspects were apprehended at a warehouse in Sharada with over 200 empty bags.
He said that the suspects were repackaging rice and maize at the Sharada warehouse.
“We have since commenced intensive investigation to find out how many bags of maize or rice were repackaged and sold,” he said.
Gumel stated that the two suspects would be charged to court after the completion of separate investigations.
Darosha Losobeh, the cousin and personal assistant to the late artiste, Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, has broken his silence on the viral video of the singer’s coffin allegedly showing he had a broken neck.
The PUNCH reports that the ex-Marlian record signee died at the age of 27 on September 12, and his death has stirred controversy with many Nigerians calling for justice for his sudden demise, leading to the arrest of his former boss, Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley and Samson Balogun aka Sam Larry.
The duo who were allegedly arrested for bullying the late singer have been released.
However, Mohbad’s friend, Primeboy, and the nurse who allegedly injected the late singer are still in police custody because they were tagged prime suspects in the case.
Reacting to the allegations of a broken neck from netizens on his Instagram story on Saturday, Darosha declared that he was not the one who broke the late artiste’s neck while begging those peddling the information to desist from it because it was affecting his mental health.
He wrote, “I’m so down to the extent that I had to write this up to clear this whole damn story about me going online that I bend my love’s neck; this is the craziest and saddest thing that ever happened to me, my whole life. That I broke my brother’s neck, seriously, this hurt me so much.
“What happened about the neck was that when we got to Ikorodu, we were told there was no space to keep his body at the mortuary, and we didn’t want him buried that night, so a worker there advised the family to pay for an ambulance and a coffin where we can keep him till morning and the same ambulance would drive him down to the place of burial.
“The whole family agreed to the idea because the ambulance that took us to Ikorodu was complaining that they had to leave the same night back to the island. It was only his mum that was not present there that midnight.”
Continuing, the late singer’s cousin stressed that the only issue that brought him into the picture was that he paid for the arrangement of the coffin and ambulance, maintaining that he never knew that the coffin was too small to contain his (Mohbad) whole body.
“The whole family saw his body in the ambulance before leaving for the burial ground in the morning, and no one complained about his head or anything. I didn’t go close to the ambulance because I was in shock, so I didn’t know of his neck until I saw it online, and that saddened me.
“The N1million I sent to his dad is not for him to spend because it was instructed that we should use the money in doing the burial arrangement, but unfortunately, the place we buried him is not nice to me and not secured, so I told his father to use the money to erect a fence for his safety. The whole team and family can testify to this because I have every proof, and I sent his brother the rest of the money when we arrived home.
“I was the first person that went to Panti to write a statement and called for questioning. You can go to Panti station to ask more about me, not coming online to say what you don’t know; well, I know it’s all for content, but God in heaven will judge you, tarnishing my image even with all that I am going through.
“About the salt, when my father died, a salt was placed on his chest till we arrived and I was told it was local embalming to keep him fresh till the whole family arrived, and I did the same thing because a lot of people were still coming to see him before leaving to Ikorodu that night.
“Lastly, about his properties and music catalogues, Mohbad has a lawyer that controls all of these things, and he has a contract with ONErpm, so all of these things are controlled by them, and his car is parked in front of his house at Orchid.
“I can’t drive his car because I have mine. If we really want justice, let the government work, and let’s wait for autopsy. Stop bashing his loved ones. Abi una wants us to go depressed too #justiceformohbad,” he added.
Success isn’t magic or hocus-pocus. It is simply learning how to focus—Jack Canfield
A group of engineering students and their teacher were given free airplane tickets to go on a holiday. Once on the plane, the captain announced that they were on the plane the students had built.
Everyone freaked out and rushed out of the plane, except for the teacher who stayed there calmly. When the flight attendant asked why he hadn’t left, he responded: “I know the abilities of my students.
This shit won’t even start”
So, let us talk about wolves…
Wolves are indeed known for their remarkable discipline and organizational skills, especially when it comes to their social structure and hunting tactics. Here are a few key points that highlight their disciplined and organized nature:
1. Social Structure: Wolves live in tight-knit family units known as packs, which are typically led by an alpha pair – the dominant male and female. The pack hierarchy is well-defined, with each member understanding its place within the group. This social organization helps maintain order and coordination within the pack.
2. Division of Labor: Within a wolf pack, each member has specific roles and responsibilities. For example, while the alpha pair often leads the pack and makes important decisions, other members may be responsible for hunting, caring for the young, or patrolling the pack’s territory. This division of labor contributes to the overall efficiency and success of the pack.
3. Communication: Wolves have a sophisticated system of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking that they use to communicate with one another. This clear and effective means of communication helps them coordinate their activities, whether it’s during a hunt or while defending their territory.
4. Hunting Tactics: When hunting, wolves display remarkable discipline and cooperation. They often work together to pursue and capture prey, using tactics such as strategic positioning, teamwork, and coordinated attacks. By working as a cohesive unit, they increase their chances of successfully securing a meal.
5. Territory Maintenance: Wolves are territorial animals, and they are disciplined in defending and maintaining their territories. They mark their boundaries with scent markings and vocalizations, and they work together to repel intruders or rival packs.
6. Adaptability: Wolves are also known for their adaptability. They can adjust their social dynamics and hunting strategies based on the availability of prey, changes in their environment, and other external factors. This flexibility allows them to thrive in a variety of habitats and conditions.
You would have been forgiven to think that my column would just be about wolves…
Last week, Lagos task force crushes 1,500 seized motorcycles was how a national daily put the news, it further stated that The Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, along with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Wale Musa, on Monday, observed the destruction of 1,500 seized motorcycles on the Lagos State Task Force premises in Oshodi.
The Lagos State Government posted images of the exercise on its X account on Monday.
The caption read, “Commissioner for #lagosMOT1, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, with the Permanent Secretary, Wale Musa, at the crushing of 1,500 seized commercial motorcycles at the Lagos State Task Force premises on Monday.”
I don’t want to go into the demolitions of property in Abuja, Lagos and other such places because it has become a norm.
What do we produce as a nation, not with factories closing like finished toothpaste at the end of the month or the fact that those that are still managing to exist do so like a faded toothbrush.
Do you know that this is the country where an ex-accountant general stole billions, are we okay in this country where a civil servant was making billions for manufacturing “pure water”. Don’t let me remind us of the monkeys, snakes and all those carnivores and reptiles that constantly made away with public funds, but we are the same people that spent N535.8 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
From toothpicks to pencils, Panadol to inhalers we produce nothing, when we manage to produce, we look for foreign or imported options and abandon ours. We export crude and import fuel, I recall a senator once serving palm wine imported from Malaysia at his event shamelessly. It is like eating Pringles imported from the UK in Bokos, the land of Irish potatoes in Plateau State.
Even Wolves cannot understand us, our banks declare profits year in and year out, do all sorts of bonanzas, give loans to importers, politicians at the expense of local industries and agripreneurs, and when it gives, they take kickbacks and fronts in manners that the real farmers never get these facilities.
There is a crisis in Israel but we still will look for where to go in the name of pilgrimage and stone the devil but come back home and continue to steal. The wolves cannot understand that in this country, torrential rain washed away tractors that were bought by a state government or that a whole ship was declared missing. That our politicians protect ballot boxes more than they protect citizenry.
In conclusion, wolves’ disciplined and organized nature is essential to their survival as a species. Their social structure, division of labor, communication methods, hunting tactics, and adaptability all contribute to their success in the wild. Studying wolves can provide valuable insights into effective teamwork and cooperation, which are applicable to various aspects of human society as well.
My anecdote about the airplane built by engineering students is a metaphor for the challenges faced by Nigeria. The teacher’s confidence in the students’ abilities parallels the need for belief and trust in the capabilities of Nigerian citizens. The flight’s failure to start symbolizes the potential setbacks Nigeria faces in achieving success.
Like Jack Canfield puts it, success isn’t magic or hocus-pocus. For our leaders devoid of focus, there is plenty of focus on hocus-pocus. We simply refuse to get it right, every act of governance raises questions regarding sanity or otherwise. My question is, when will we learn from the wolves so that Nigeria may win!
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo loves to hug the limelight. I was expecting him to write one of the damning letters he is noted for to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu but he diverted his attention to democracy. I still expect him to write to Tinubu sooner or later. Penultimate week he came down heavily on democracy, magisterially returning the verdict that the ageless system of government developed by the Greek city-states has failed his African people.
Cleisthenes (Born: c. 570 bce; died: c. 508 bce) is reputed as “the father of democracy”; he was a statesman regarded as the founder of Athenian democracy, serving as the chief archon (that is, highest magistrate or ruler) of Athens. Democracy comes from the Greek word “demos”, which means “common people” and “kratos, which means “force or might”. Under Cleisthenes, what is generally referred to as the first example of a type of democracy in 507 BC was established in Athens. Cleisthenes created a new system of government where the people of Athens were given a chance to vote on the way the city was governed. How did he do this? He broke up the unlimited power of the nobility by organizing the citizens into 10 groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth.
Other notable Athenians who were reputed as having contributed to the birth of democracy were Solon (in 594 BC) and Ephialtes (in 462 BC). Solon, it was said, never intended for the “demos”or common people to rule; nevertheless, he introduced a new idea about broad citizen participation that put Athens on the road to democracy. He was reputed to have laid the basis for democracy by eliminating debt slavery. Although the Athenian democracy lasted only for about two centuries, its reverberations stand, till date, as one of ancient Greece’s most enduring contributions to our world.
Pericles, nicknamed ‘The Olympian’ and described as a populist, was another great Athenian ruler under whose leadership Athenian democracy and the Athenian empire flourished, thus making Athens the political and cultural focus of Greece between the Greco-Roman and Peloponnesian wars. It will, however, amaze you to know who gave democracy the definition it is famously known as today. No Greek leader did but the United States of America’s Abraham Lincoln was the man who defined democracy as “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” Said Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” But Athens’ democracy officially ended in 322 BC when Macedonia imposed an oligarchic government on Athens after defeating the city-state in battle.
Scholars posit that there are three types of democracy, out of which only one is popularly known as such. The three are consensus democracy, which is rule based on consensus rather than the traditional and better-known majority rule system. The second, which is the most well-known, is constitutional democracy. The third is deliberative democracy, in which authentic deliberation, and not only voting, is central to legitimate decision-making.
Today, democracy as a system of government is known as one-man, one vote, in which the people are held as sovereign. Power, it is said, belongs to the people. Those who bear rule over the people – the three arms of government as defined by Montesquieu (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) – are described as the servants of the people, subject to the will of the people. Democracy of the Greek city-state style is, however, impossible in today’s world. Population explosion alone has made it impossible for every citizen to gather at the village square, the type Chinua Achebe described in “Things Fall Apart”, to deliberate and take decisions on issues affecting them. The democracy that we practice today is thus called representative democracy, in which the people elect representatives to take decisions and bear rule over them. Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected delegates represent a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. The democracy that is practiced in Nigeria today and, indeed, everywhere else, is representative or indirect democracy. This is what Obasanjo said has failed us in Africa. Has it failed us or we are the ones that have failed it?
Why did Obasanjo, a former military as well as civilian Head of State, return such a damning verdict on democracy? The reasons are both immediate and remote. For one, it is a carry-over or hang-over of his frustration over the last February 25, 2023 presidential election which his preferred candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, failed to win. Obasanjo has never stopped sulking after APC’s Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu coasted home to victory in that election. In the countdown to the country’s first presidential election in 1979, Obasanjo, who was preparing to hand over power to a democratically-elected government, made the statement, which later came out to be true, that the best candidate might not win in that election. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the presumed best candidate in that election; he failed to win while an unprepared and the least qualified of the front runners, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was declared the winner of the election. What do you make of a democracy that picks the worst over the best? Since 1979, that has been our experience here, again and again. The worst bears rule over the best in Nigeria’s democratic system.
After the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged the freest and fairest in the history of the country, the same Obasanjo went outside the country to declare that the winner of that election, MKO Abiola, was not the messiah Nigeria needed. Yet, that election was credible, free and fair. Abiola won it free and square in all the nooks and corners of the country, except in Igboland. He beat his challenger, Bashir Tofa, even in Tofa’s polling booth and home state of Kano. Yet, Abiola was not allowed to rule. He took up the gauntlet to reclaim his annulled mandate and was arrested and detained. He died in detention years after, fighting gallantly but unsuccessfully to regain his mandate. What kind of democracy is this, in which a man won the popular vote but was not allowed to exercise his mandate? He died fighting for it and all was calm!
The truth of the matter is that democracy as a system of government that respects the wishes of the people, acting freely and electing their leaders and or representatives in periodic elections has failed to take root on African soil. Democracy has operated in fits and jerks here. We have witnessed spells of success stories in which we celebrated, only for such joy to quickly turn into ashes in our mouth. We have the recent example of Liberia where the sitting president, George Weah, allowed free and fair election, lost it, and calmly accepted the verdict. He congratulated the winner and handed over power. No court cases, no acrimony. No baying for blood and no blood-letting. But we must wait to see whether this will prove a lone affair and pyrrhic victory for democracy. Should the shoe be on the other foot in the next election, will the new sheriff act like Weah has done?
Said Cassius to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”: “Why, man, he (Caesar) doth bestride the narrow world/Like a colossus, and we petty men/Walk under his huge legs, and peep about/To find ourselves dishonourable graves/Men at some time are masters of their fates/The fault, dear Brutus/Is not in our stars? But in ourselves? That we are underlings” The fault is not in democracy, dear Obasanjo; it is in us Africans. Twice, the complainant himself, Obasanjo, has supervised the failure of democracy here. Should we blame democracy for that or Obasanjo? When the same Obasanjo decided to subvert the Constitution by going for a third term in office, he failed miserably because people stood up to him; otherwise, he could have had his way and our history might have been different.
In the United States of America, Donald Trump tried to subvert one of history’s longest running democracy but failed woefully because the people and the institutions of the State stood up against him. Otherwise, the course of democracy in the US might have been altered. The Law, the institutions of State (strong institutions) and the People themselves must defend democracy for it to succeed.
In Nigeria, we already have a Constitution, however imperfect (and, truly, it is imperfect!) that prescribes democracy as our system of government. We have a plethora of laws that attempt to safeguard the practice of democracy and virtually every organ and institution of government in saner climes where democracy thrives are also replicated here: But why do they succeed elsewhere but fail here? The fault, O Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, is not in democracy; it is in us that we are underlings in this business of democracy! Alexander Pope posits that the problem is not in the system or type of government adopted; what is best administered, is best. In other words, “We, the People” are the defining factor, not the system of government. And no matter the system of government adopted – call it African whatever – it will still fail for as long as we remain who we are.
Now, there is nothing novel in what Obasanjo has proposed; he has only dusted up the propositions of notable African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Nwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania without giving them the credit. Does that sound familiar? Nkrumah came up with what he called “Scientific Socialism” while Nyerere romanced Ujamaa and African Socialism. Mouamer Gaddafi toyed with Arab nationalism and Arab socialism and later Third International Theory. The problem of democracy in Africa lies in the mindset of African leaders and peoples; until positive change is effected there, nothing will change for the better.
Milton Obote got a second chance to rule Uganda. He failed more spectacularly in his second coming than in his first. On both occasions, he was chased out of power. Obasanjo himself failed as military head of state and failed more spectacularly as a civilian president decades’ after. Muhammadu Buhari failed as military head of state and failed more fantastically as civilian president decades’ after. In all the three instances, the leopard could not change its skin. They failed as autocrats; they also failed as so-called democrats. Tell me, is democracy the problem?