President Muhammadu Buhari Next Level of governing style has vowed to appoint persons of integrity and high morals to occupy responsible positions. Whatever informs the designation of that particular day as “democracy day,” the fact remains that no single event no matter how watershed, epic, epochal or even significantly milestone can be sufficiently democratic to guarantee the democracy in practice.
No outline of the single electoral process, no matter how credible, free and fair can ultimately qualify as the final product of democracy and therefore, its guarantor and quintessence.
After all, the most notorious and known fascist dictatorship that the world ever know was foisted after the outcome of a credible, free and fair election that brought the Nazi Nationalist Party (NNP) of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, in the early 1930s.
While a certain, even can be pivotal in the democratization project, none actually qualify to be canonized as ultimately representative of democracy other than the day former president Jonathan patriotically accepted defeat in the presidential election of 2015 to avoid the eruption of political crisis, violence and disfiguring of the entity referred to as Nigeria.
The democratic process in any clime is a long and tedious journey, characterized by several twists and turns, and while its core values of the credible, free and fair electoral process at least in the context of political liberalism is constant, its outcomes may sometimes spell a setback for the democracy. As democracy is not any definitive event, it is perpetually transitional and transformational, at constant flux and growing qualitatively in the renovation and reforms of institutions through which democracy delivers measurable tangibles. The formal institutions of the democratic process can only justify its existence by transforming to a substantive mechanism for efficient service delivery and a solution provider in recurring contradictions arising from society.
To effectively transform from formal institutions to substantive mechanisms of public service delivery and solution provider to numerous questions of its society, democracy and its process must acquire and incorporate values and characteristics of its any particular society. Nigeria’s democratic process and particularly that of Bauchi state in the last 20 years has grossly underperformed in the areas of public service delivery and equally demonstrated incompetence to resolve critical issues, strategically germane to building consensus until 2015 when the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged as the party in control of governance.
Key institutions of the state’s democratic process in the 20 years of civilian rule has functioned largely in legalistic formal sense, without socially valuable outputs that aggregate to qualitative improvements in the living conditions of the majority of the people, particularly those in the rural and semi-urban areas and endangering consensus on critical fundamentals to guarantee sustainable cohesion and stability.
Institutions in the dispensation of Bauchi’s political democratization in the past 20 years has functioned mostly, mechanically hanging on the automated oxygen of legalistic finesse, without the broad legitimacy of sustainable citizen engagement. The process of the formal institutions of the state in the context of democratization effort has not produced any socially tangible outcome that directly contributes to an inclusive political order and material improvement in the quality of lives of the broad mass of the people governed through their solicited mandate.
Institutions of state in a democratic process that do not continually adapt itself to resolving practical challenges and meaningfully bringing value to improvement in living conditions, stand the risk of not only stagnation and atrophy but decadence and extinction as is about to happen in Bauchi state in 2023 unless the party in opposition and controls the majority of the electorates, APC misplaces its winning chance to bounce back to power and dominate the political turf for better service delivery.
Institutions cannot exist to merely reproduce and replenish themselves, and simply lay claim to its reason to exist as its mere ability to survive, without delivering on the broad social mandate of enabling and driving on a sustainable basis, better life for citizens that is presently absent in Bauchi state.
When all the formal democratic contents of the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, free press and so many others are present but are grossly deficient in the aggregate values and characteristics of the particular society, it should serve, they will function more to the whims of the operators than a benchmark to which its operators are held accountable.
The immutable contradictions of a democratic process are not merely resolved by more sloganeering about democracy and its periodic flashpoints.
From the point and fact of Bauchi state’s existential contradictions, democracy and its essentials are at crossroads, and its symbolism and dramas exhibited in past gubernatorial inaugurations, parliamentary proclamations and judicial ritualism are no substitutes to institutional efficiency and adaptations, only measurable by the fairness of the social order, inclusiveness of the political process and the material well-being of the broad of the masses.
As the new captain is incapacitated to improve on what he inherited, provide quantitative and qualitative service ever witnessed in the existence of the state, all hands must be on deck to find a solution in 2023 and confine the present crew to the dustbin of political history.
Bauchi under APC was heading to becoming an Eldorado and a global tourist haven, a safe environment, a huge construction yard with a sound economic base and a motivated citizenry for sustainable self-reliance and economic dependence and growth.
So far, history has it that APC had ignited the engine of government with all sincerity of purpose and determination to bail out the state from underdevelopment, clutches of poverty and insecurity.
As the journey progresses, the people are crying loud for return of the Saints. That can only be possible in 2023 when the coast must have been cleared by the present clique of clowns masquerading as leaders but garbed in the robes of wolves that vomit venom against concretized criticisms and decent opposition that forms part of the democracy. The people are now seeing the difference between realists and comedians in power.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues