When Retired General Muhammadu Buhari unseated the incumbent President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, and the world cheered.
The world believed that democracy has finally arrived at the doors of Africa’s most populous nation.
And hoped for greater democracy to come. It was described as nascent democracy.
That was a mere four years ago but it seems like a century. What a difference four years can make!
People cheered because they perceived the new All Peoples’ Congress (APC) as a party of progressives.
They believed that the new President was a man of honor and capable of correcting the ills that afflicted the nation.
They cheered because there was need for a new set of hands at the controls.
But in less than a year, the perceptions and assumptions proved to be based on false grounds.
1. APC took in all the bad apples that ruined PDP and put them in charge of the supposedly new government.
The group known then as the nPDP swallowed the old and original APC as the world watched.
2. President Buhari turned out to be too sick to govern and spent ever increasing time in hospital in London.
And to make things worse he showed that he was a tribalist of the worst kind and a religious bigot to booth as he surrounded himself with incompetent folks from his boyhood days.
No nationalists needed to apply.
3. Mr. Buhari was elected on the promise that he would fight corruption, but it soon became clear that he would use the corruption weapon to deal with his enemies, real and imagined.
The result was that all suspected looters decamped to APC which now provided them with a safe haven.
With the principal looters now in his party and his eyes turned elsewhere the fight against corruption sputtered and failed.
4. Nobody knew/knows how much were recovered and from whom and what happened afterwards and so the nation lost interest and corruption picked up steam.
5. Meanwhile the poor and down-trodden became poorer (if that is possible) and more downtrodden.
The rich became really rich.
Despite all the above people still had hopes that things will get better and that 2019 would bring in the much hoped for changes.
It is at this point that the gate was closed shut in the face of the young men and women who wanted to bring change.
This feat was accomplished by the conspiracy of both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP.
The major parties formed exclusive organizations for the oligarchs baring any entry by the “riffraff’s”.
Younger citizens who wanted to participate and who have more modern ideas of how a government ought to function, people like Ogbonnia, Sowore et al needed to be able to purchase presidential forms at N45 million each to get into the arena.
They could not and thus could not play.
To make matters worse the oligarchs gave less than a month for the primaries in 36 states that would take place the same day.
If you somehow managed to borrow the N45 million for the forms, you must need your own jet to traverse the country of 140 million people to sell your ideas in less than a month.
The purpose and message are clear: “don’t even think of entering”.
With entry barred for all but the war lords, Nigerians are left with only the incumbent President Buhari or another oligarch from PDP.
It will work for the 2019 elections but for how long after that, nobody can tell.
The so called nascent democracy has disappeared and what we have is oligarchy.
We must not give up hope or we will die both as individuals and as a nation.
Benjamin Obiajulu AdubaBoston, Massachusetts