Democracy Is A Stranger In Africa – By Frank Tietie
“When Sagari finish im new election.
Why dem no tell am say he mistake o!
Say this im own, nor bi democracy.
Oyibo nor telli army sef.
Like for Englandi, army nor fit take over.
I come think about this Democracy,
Demonstration of crase!
If e nor bi crase, why for Africa?”
– *Fela Anikulapo Kuti*
Fela the sage in his unusual artistry, in the above quote was actually addressing the nations of the world who have promoted, endorsed and imposed Western styled democratic system of governance on the African continent. His point was that, why do the purveyors of democracy keep quiet and abandon Africans in problematic times, in their practice of democracy?
Democracy is founded on the principles and practice that the law of the republic or law of the people is supreme.
Democracy is when the people make, enact and give to themselves a supreme law to which all persons and authorities are subject to. Therefore law is the foundation of democracy.
The principles, practices and norms of democracy are prescribed by law, beginning from the constitution, including laws made by the National Assembly and pronouncements from the law courts.
Whenever clear and express provisions of the constitution are ignored, it would no longer be democracy. It is at that point that the owners of the ideology of democracy must rise to point out what constitutes the standards of good governance.
Democracy is a stranger in Africa. We have not yet come to terms with making laws that superintendent and govern over us. Our inherent nature, particularly the Nigerian leaders is to break the law to achieve a political exigencies .
Nigerian politicians have placed winning elections at a costs, above the need to build and preserve a polity that will guarantee a future for our children and generations unborn.
With the President Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in such a brazen manner, contrary to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , it would be expected that Western nations and peer African countries would tell President Buhari to do the right thing. That suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria contrary to the Constitution and endangers peace and stability in Africa’s largest democracy.
These days of globalism, African problems now have global consequences. Therefore, they cannot ignore these recent important political developments in Nigeria.
The world must pay serious attention to what is happening right now in Nigeria as political transition moments in Africa are usually fraught with potentials for serious conflicts.
Frank Tietie, Lawyer and Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy, writes from Abuja