Nigeria: Emerging one-party rule puts a stranglehold on our democracy

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Iyoha John Darlington

unnamedNigeria had a general election and candidates contested under the platform of different political parties, that is to say, Nigeria practices multi-party system and in a multi-party democracy like such she practises a government is formed by candidates drawn from different political parties. Under this setting regimentation and dictatorship is guarded against.

Nigeria is a country made up of over 80%  politically illiterate voters and, therefore, ignorant of the dangers inherent in a one-party rule that is gradually rearing its ugly head on the ascending order of magnitude resulting from the activities of egocentric loners with an over-inflated sense of self-worth. As you can see the present Nigerian regime in Abuja has tacitly launched a covert operation against  the main opposition and Nigeria’s ruling party partisans are seen in wild jubilation without knowing what this would amount to in the long run.

It is natural for political parties to seek power.  As one of the ruling party supporters, I root for my party  to win as many elections as possible. But I hope I am objective enough to recognise the incontrovertible fact  that Nigeria  would be  ill-served by the concentration of political power in one party’s hands, regardless of which party holds it.

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Nigeria’s founding fathers doubtless awoke themselves to this danger and took steps to avert it by opting for a divided government  via multi-party democracy immediately after independence we had a functional, albeit regionally based multi-party system.The major political parties in the republic had emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s as regional parties whose main aim was to control power in regions. The Northern people’s Congress (NPC), Action Group and NCNC became the dominant parties in the North, West, East and Midwest respectively. Hence, we saw a government in place that  was administered by men over men that enabled the government to control the governed, and in the next place obliged it to control itself.

Nigeria’s founding fathers were great and bright intellects who brilliantly sought to limit the danger of one-party factionalism by establishing  and fashioning out a political system with numerous checks and balances among parties that form the government and secondly among the organs of government namely the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. Be that as it may, we discover that  even with obstacles in place, political leaders frequently run amok when power is concentrated in the hands of one party.

Today Africa’s biggest democracy is replete with examples. The complete All Progressives’ Congress federal dominance which is also being increasingly replicated in the states is not healthy for our democracy all things considered. For a government that is supposedly involved in a fratricidal anti-graft war, a democratic one-party rule cannot  account for the vast changes in our country, and once more, will bring about or lead  to massive cronyism and corruption thereby making the present anti-corruption campaign a contradiction in terms.

Throughout history, we have at various times experienced or heard about the consequences of unchecked, one-party dominance. In the USA, for instance, from 2001-2007, Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and the White House. At the height of its power, following the 2004 elections, Republicans had a 55-seat Senate majority and a 232-seat House majority. Some party leaders got carried away and pursued policies that grew their own power at the expense of American taxpayers. Their unlimited power led to runaway spending, an explosion in obscenely wasteful and parochial earmarks, a lack of transparency, and  all in all  corruption. We see a similar scenario unfolding in Nigeria if adequate precaution is not taken.

The beauty of every democratic system is that it should be self-correcting otherwise the problem that corrections would mete out by an understandably outraged electorate could push the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. Nigerians will not be cowed into silence when things spirally go wrong in the hands of tin-gods who are bent on subjecting everyone to their diabolic whims and caprices via the seeming emergence of one-party rule in Nigeria. Today, Wike Nyesom was sacked by the Rivers State Election Tribunal that sat in Abuja alleging electoral irregularities. Wike is gone and gone for good  and Peterside of the All Progressives Congress  will be riding to power by the  instrumentality of federal might. That is the deal on the ground – take it or leave it!

Over the past five months, the All Progressives monopoly has expanded the federal government by historic proportions. After campaigning on a promise to end the PDP tenure  witnessed on May 29, 2015, the present  Nigerian regime in Abuja instead of settling down to business  has only embarked on   policies that reward rampant irresponsible behavior and hate campaign which is unarguably heating up the polity. It must be borne in mind that unchecked power pushes parties to excess regardless of which party is in power. It is an inherent part of both human nature and the nature of government.

The danger for our country is that with complete one-party dominance, much damage will be done before the next electoral self-correction. We call for and prefer a balance in Abuja and the states. Nigerians must understand this language even if it has to be spoken in Greek that too much concentration  of power via one-party rule is a serious danger to the people.

Iyoha John Darlington, a political analyst, opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.

Email: [email protected]

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