‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…’
The above quotation is an excerpt from the Declaration of America’s Independence.
If we critically read and digest this preamble, we will pick out some key words that form the basis of democracy. These words are, inter alia – Equality, Respect for fundamental human rights to life and the exercise of free will. These are the basic tenets of democracy. And, these tenets are what the United States government live and swear to protect. It is on this premise that Abraham Lincoln granted the American Negroes their right to vote, and stopped them from being seen either as a property or as second class citizens. It is within this premise that Martin Luther King found the spices to cook his fiery civil rights messages. It is also on this backdrop that Barak Obama backed the gay law. It is also on this premise that he, Obama, advised Nigerian legislators to discard the anti-gay law.
I have watched with calmness the reaction of our people, over the pressure from Western democratic countries namely, USA and Britain, on Nigeria to pass and approve the anti-gay bill. Their reactions have left me laughing as they rejoice over the defiant posture of our legislators in approving such a hedonic bill. But the gospel truth is this: their joy will be short-lived as far Nigeria remains a democratic state. What it will take is time, time that tips the tyrant. The same time that it took USA to grant the negroes equal rights, the same time that it took the US to allow a black man into the White house, the same time that it took the US to approve the same anti-gay bill. It is this same time that it will take, because under democratic principles, a man has been given by his creator some inalienable rights; rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And you cannot really tell a man how to pursue his happiness. Can you?
Nigeria cannot hide under the roofless building of culture as they kick out the gay bill. If we borrow western democracy, we should also be prepared to face the concomitant interpretation that comes with its tenets. If the whites knew that democracy will make them equals with their black slaves whom they believed were of the same specie with animals, they would not have been so fast in adopting it as a form of government. To them then, when they were saying “All men were created equal”, blacks were not part of the human race. But democracy coupled with time proved them wrong. So will democracy prove those rejoicing with fourteen year jail term wrong, sooner or later.
Personally, Democracy may be a good form of government, considering the fact that it tries to make all humans equal. Even though I disagree that we are all equal. Yes, GOD created all humans to be equal, but nature, nurture and the deliberate actions of some people have made us unequal. This is debatable though, but it is not really the best. As far as Nigeria, nay, Africa, is concerned, I believe we need to find a system of government that understands the imbalance in our system, and also encompasses our culture as a people. Democracy has failed woefully in resolving our peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. It has made a mess of our values and will continue to destructively put a knife to the things that make us unique.
To understand the ridiculous nature of democracy, one needs to look at the vernacular transcription of democracy in Igbo: Ochichi onye kwue uche ya (the governance of freedom of speech for everyone). The article, everyone, in this definition staggers belief, and scares me as a person. At the risk of sounding sarcastic, I honestly do not think is right for everyone to say his mind. So many minds are hollow, deranged, ill educated, rotten and uninformed. And, we should allow them to speak. Like seriously?
However, this is democracy for you, a system of government that not only guarantees right to personal liberty and pursuit of happiness, but also upholds the decision of the majority. Yes, democracy believes that everybody should have their say and let the majority have their way. Isn’t this bizarre? After everybody is left to speak, then, the decision of the majority of the people will be upheld. And I ask, which majority, the confused majority or the informed majority? Then democracy answers, “The majority, whether confused or informed, I don’t bloody care.”
History is replete with the gullibility and blunders of the majority (crowd). And, one incidence that captures the pulse and gullible nature of majority is the death of Julius Caesar thousands of years ago during the Roman Empire. Caesar, who was a beloved emperor, was murdered by the Roman senators consisting of his cherished confidant Brutus. Brutus was given the unenviable task of convincing the crowd on why the distinguished senators murdered their beloved emperor. Well, he did a good job of it; he convinced the angry Roman mob how the death of Caesar was the best thing that could happen to Rome. Within minutes, the crowd was rejoicing over the murder of their hero, hailing Brutus as their new Roman hero. Mark Anthony, Caesar’s loyalist, came into the scene to address the jubilant crowd. Mark Anthony reeled out his famous speech, and in a split second, the crowd turned their hate to the new man of the moment, Brutus, and he was declared an enemy of the republic immediately.
In the light of this, I believe I will not be far from the truth if I say that the crowd is the easiest set of people to convince. The crowd is a symbolic replica of the character, Crixus, in the TV series Spartacus; the crowd always trusts on its brute strength rather than reason. The crowd never looks beyond the present. And, it is because of this I also believe that GOD, the supreme creator, does not walk with crowd. Rather, He picks a single individual that will galvanize the crowd. And, He does not pick this individual through the democratic process called ‘election’, because if He dares leave the crowd to their discretion, emotions will take over their reasoning (as it happens every election year in Nigeria). Just as the people of Shechem did in the book of Judges Chapter 9. They elected their homicidal relative, Abimelech, to rule over them after a little speech, instead of the divinely selected children of Gideon.
God knowing the fallible nature of men has never used the democratic process whenever he wants to intervene in the affairs of men, He uses his foolproof process: Selection. Therefore, I humbly believe thus, as far as democracy remains our system of government, we should get ready for more funny leaders, because the ‘Crixus’ crowd will keep electing an ‘Abimelech’ to rule over them. This is because, democracy is the easiest way for a fool to get into power legally in any country filled with educated illiterates and illiterates. Methinks, the solution remains, to copy the GOD system of government. For us to advance as a nation, I believe the educated elites (not misdirected moneybags) should take up the role of GOD, liaise amongst them, and know how to foist the right leader upon the nation.
When this happens, the elites should get ready for the western reactionary elements who always think they have monopoly of wisdom. It is going to be a hard and tortuous way, but I see no better option. As for this thing called Democracy, as far Nigeria is concerned, it will remain a cloud that brings no rain. Unless, the majority of the people are rid of their Esau mentality. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
May GOD open our eyes of understanding.