I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
By Morak Babajide-Alabi
Nigeria’s democracy has been described as unique by local and international analysts. This is no surprise to many because we Nigerians are also unique people in all we do. We have different indexes for measuring happiness, riches, spirituality, development, corruption etc. While these indexes may be totally out of sync with what is universally accepted all over the world, we tend to believe they are the best for us.
It is remarkable that the much awaited 2015 General Elections have come and gone with the minimum violence as against what was anticipated. Some of the losers have been magnanimous to concede defeat while some have “violently” promised not to have anything to do with their opponents. Nigerians do not really mind these politicians, who, fortunately, are in the minority.
Instead of brooding over these sulking politicians, Nigerians are celebrating the success of the elections. The hitherto sceptics of the electoral system are now the loudest in applauding the supervising agency, INEC. They are singing the praises of Professor Attahiru Jega as the modern-day saviour of a country that has moved many steps ahead in the list of African countries that has successfully organised a “world accepted” elections.
The politicians who benefitted from the “success” of the elections have not been shy in celebrating INEC. At every opportunity, they have been reminding us that we as people can write the destiny of the country if we “put our minds to it”.
While these new admirers of Jega are celebrating, a section of the population have raised their voices to warn that Nigeria is still far away from a desirable electoral system. These analysts argue that what transpired in the March 28 and April 11 elections were not enough to move Nigeria up the ladder of democratic countries. What Nigeria witnessed was a deviation from the usual norm of multiple registrations of voters, ballot boxes stuffing and snatching, violence etc, and not necessarily a conformity with the international electoral standard.
It is on record that there were so many reports of malpractices, including but not limited to inflation of figures, multiple thumb printing and underage voting. What we seemed to be celebrating now is that we, as a nation have moved from extreme primitive actions, not acceptable by the international community, to more clever forms of electoral rigging, that are pardonable. This justifies why the world is congratulating us for the big leap we had with the elections.
Many times we frown at the attempt by people to compare our “acts” to those obtained elsewhere in developed or descent societies. We have coined the word “homegrown” to make up for any deficiency we have that has not made us measure up to international standard. How many times have our leaders cautioned us that we should always remember that what we are practising in various aspects of our lives in Nigeria are “homegrown”?
It is not only in politics that we have “homegrown”. It spans our health, education, finance, power, and many more sectors. We measure our successes as a nation in all these sectors based on the “homegrown” expectations. This is the reason why we have not been able to rise above the level we are and attain the international standards that will make impacts on the citizenry.
It is further unfortunate that our leaders who mouth this “homegrown” philosophy the most are the ones who are so quick in commending other nations for their developmental efforts. They visit developed countries, marvel at their constant electricity supply, efficient road, air and rail transport systems, excellent health facilities, good educational system, and yet come back home to tell Nigerians that we are operating a “homegrown” system, hence our slow development.
There is no “sector” this “homegrown” philosophy is used as in our democracy. Whatever we may not be doing right is attributed to the fact that we are operating a homegrown democracy. Not minding the fact that the country runs a Presidential System modelled after the United States’, our leaders and politicians have found a way to factor in the “home” model.
Democracy, in the developed world, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. In this wise, the people are involved in the election of their representatives, while the elected make laws and provide enabling environments that improve the lives of the “people”. In older democracies, there is no excuse of “homegrown” for failures or underdevelopment.
However, in Nigeria, the opposite is the case. Our politicians are special breed and are homegrown, with no special affinity with the people they are supposed to be representing. To a “homegrown” Nigerian politician, there is nothing like failure in their dictionary. Rather than accept failure, they are fast in blaming their “non-performance” on “not enough time” in government. No matter, the number of years or term they are voted in for, the Nigerian politician will forever have an excuse for not impacting on his constituents.
It is not uncommon in Nigeria for elected politicians to return to their constituents with nothing to show for their 4-year term in office, and canvass for a fresh term. In the nature of Nigerians, we accept these politicians, without any queries and in most cases vote them back to the office. The politicians also, playing on the soft side of voters, come as home boys as they know this is one trick that never fails with the people.
As we desire a change in the country, we should also stand up and demand that our leaders do away with words they use to explain their failures.