It has been a while since Nigeria ventured into democracy, but this system is not enjoyable, making people complain bitterly. The question is are we to blame the system or the administrators?
Don’t criticize the system — democracy, it’s one of the best systems of government that cares for the people and provides the people an avenue to rule themselves. The people that rule us and count themselves out of us; they changed the system to another thing entirely.
After learning Niccolo Machiavelli’s description of immoral political philosophy as compared to Nigeria’s democracy, you may agree with me that our leaders have alternated the moral-political philosophy of democracy with an immoral one.
Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, born in 1469. He explained what we knew as an immoral political philosophy in his book titled, “The Prince” and he regarded it as Machiavellianism. He noted in the book that the most important endeavours of a ruler ought to be the preservation and stability of the state, which of course also means the preservation of himself in power. A ruler should do everything possible to retain himself in power.
A logical appraisal of this Machiavellian opinion, we would understand that it’s related to Nigeria’s variant of democracy since the transition into the fourth republic.
Since May 29,1999, when Nigeria swore in Olusegun Obasanjo as the first democratic president, none of Nigeria’s presidents left the office without seeking another four years of governance except Umaru Musa Yar’adua that died in office.
When Obasanjo’s second tenure neared it’s end, he proposed a constitutional amendment to remove term limits so he could contest a third term in office. But, on May 16, 2006, the national assembly rejected his proposition, restricting him from contesting for president again. If the Senate did not vote against his proposition, he would have kept himself in power as Machiavelli speculated.
Also, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan sought a re-election bid, despite having sat in for Yar ‘adua between 2010 and 2011 and completing his first tenure through May 2015. Likewise, the incumbent president, Muhammad Buhari, contested for a second term, despite his age, and emerged the winner on February 26, 2019.
The ruler, in Machiavelli’s view, is above morality and is entitled to use any means to attain his end — retaining power. According to Machiavelli, it is the end that counts, the means used to attain it is insignificant. He added “It is not necessary for a ruler to be a man of integrity, an upright man, to be faithful to his promises, to be humane and religious. But he must pretend to have these qualities.”
Is this not true about our leaders? Are they men of integrity? Have they been faithful to their manifestoes? They pretend to be upright and humane, don’t they? Let’s call a spade a spade. Machiavellianism is the reality of leadership in Nigeria. They are highly pretentious. Some would even travel across the country during the campaign to win people’s hearts and gain their votes at the polls by promising them life and heaven.
Dear you! Don’t be cajoled anymore. The fuel of their seasonal visits is to grab power, as usual, and become authorities without morality. No one can prosecute them for their bad deeds whilst in office, allowing them to do whatever they like and forget their promises.
Learn From Plato’s Division Of Society
Plato is a Greek philosopher. He divided society into three parts, namely, the guardians (the ruling class), the auxiliaries (the soldiers), and the artisans (the masses). In his opinion, the ruling class must guide and govern the state and keep the other classes in check.
The auxiliaries must defend the state, while the masses must provide the material and economic needs of the state. There is justice in society when every class does its duty properly. Justice, in this case, is the harmony that is produced when every class is efficient.
We — the subordinates, perform our functions efficiently, why then do the guardians default? Is it because they are the most superior?
Our leaders must remember they won’t rule forever. They had better find wisdom in the passing of the colonial and military eras. It’s only when our leaders turn a new leaf, rather than change the system, that this country will experience peace and progress.
Abdulrasheed Akere is a young and enthusiastic campus journalist in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS). He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org, 0913707766