By Boniface C E Egboka
Being malignant, such as in the case of brain tumor, means being harmful, destructive, repugnant, damaging or wanting to do evil. Pseudo means not genuine, fake, pretentious or insincere. Democracy is supposed to mean government of the people, by the people and for the people. It has NOT been so for Nigeria since the military coup of January 1966 and the revenge countercoup of July 1966 that were followed by genocidal pogroms and consequent escape of then Eastern Nigeria into an independent nation of Biafra, the suicidal Nigeria-Biafra war that claimed millions of valued lives and loss of trillions of Naira in property. From that 1966 to many years reigning, in times and place, the military power block and their political brokers have been in control of governments, directly or indirectly, until 1999 when they handed over power to a retired Army General to a quasi-democratic civilian authority since such heads of governments are usually installed as retired military top brass or their protégés. The same military leadership prepared, directed and instituted 1999 Constitution through a military Decree/Fiat which was NEVER finally-discussed by the people or their representatives in a Constituent Assembly or National Conference even though the Decree stated that it was produced accordingly by the people of Nigeria! As a result, that Constitution has continued to receive lots of criticisms/opposition from many Nigerians. It was forced down on the people who have insisted that it is not by the people of the people and for the people. Futile attempts have been made on the various quasi-civilian Federal governments to drop this 1999 Constitution and set up a Constituent Assembly to bring out an acceptable Constitution for Nigeria; but these governments have continued to disobey the real wishes of the people. Majority of Nigerians have almost shouted themselves hoarse while calling upon the present Federal authorities (Executive and Legislative arms) to drop the contentious 1999 Constitution, embark on full Restructuring of the Federation and ensure Devolution of Powers to Federating Units. The APC Federal government promised to do so during campaign in 2014 to be elected. Since they won, they have been governing but failed to fulfill the promise over Restructuring. APC, government officials and opposition parties, are again, actively-campaigning to be voted for in February 2019; and are unbelievably-making such unfulfilled promises once more; but people are not anymore easily deceived.
As a result, Nigerian Democracy seems to have become a whitewashed and pretended one that has been malignant over these years from 1966 to 1999 and across into all years to the present; life has been so nasty, brutish and short! Pseudo-Democracy has been in vogue and has become of common experience whereby people tell tale-tale fake stories that are full of sound and fury signifying nothing; exhibit puerile gossips, fragrant lies, childish innuendos, bombastic effusions, false/fake promises; senseless blackmails and besmirching of character; double dealings in governance; baptize fraud and corruption to perpetuate it; gloss over issues of law and order, peace, justice and equity that are downplayed or freaked about etc. Pseudo-Democracy has placed Nigeria and Nigerians at crossroads of doubtful/recognizable progress and sane existence. Many people do not trust governments anymore; they are full of doubts and hopelessness, fear of loss of their lives and property; are unsure of what tomorrow/2019 may bring up. Most of our leaders and government officials do not seem to care or do anything good enough to ameliorate the rabid situation of events in the country. Many contending issues are discussed/said by interest groups, parties and individuals in the TV/electronic media and print media but people in charge do not seem to care a hoot. There is insecurity from dishonest politicians, boko haram, Fulani herdsmen, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, head hunters/cannibals, ethnic jingoists, religious fanatics etc. The 1999 Constitution is military-imposed on the people. Despite popular calls by Nigerians for its fair and equitable review/change, the military and civilian governments have stubbornly-refused to do so. While some minority groups are highly-favored by the 1999 Constitution, majority others continue to be cheated by it. There have been hue and cry over bad governance that has its support in the decadent 1999 Constitution over the years such that majority of Nigerians have been clamoring for full Restructuring of the Federal government through Devolution of Powers from the Centre to Federating Units. Again, the same minority group that opposes proper review of 1999 Constitution are fanatically-opposed to Restructuring of the Federation because of undue self-interest. This decadent 1999 Constitution favors one minority group against the majority resulting in gross-cheating, inequity and injustice: fewer number of States and Local Government Areas; fewer number of members of Senate and House of Representatives; poor remunerations and inequitable distributions of revenues from Federation Account Sharing Committee; crass cheating in acquisition of benefits from National Character Commission in admissions to institutions, employment opportunities, budgetary allocations for infrastructure and utilities etc. The minority people who are grossly-benefiting against the majority others along these lines are avidly-opposed to the change of the 1999 Constitution and Restructuring of Nigeria. A clear case of AshiriDemocracy where it becomes the rule of a minority against the majority; a situation of the tail wagging the dog.
The present political shenanigans over impending 2019 elections have given away obvious tale-tale signs that malignant Pseudo-Democracy is highly at play and may crown events putting Nigeria at dangerous crossroads. Many national and international observers have been expressing grave concerns/fears as events develop acidly. The President, PMB, has been stating to Nigerians and foreign leaders/observers that he will support free and fair elections as experienced in 2015. Thus, there is no smoke without fire; PMB is clearly-aware of these ignoble expressions of fear on the impending elections. Politicians are already shamelessly-agog with ashiri/false promises all over the country. They have been criss-crossing carpets across political boundaries not because of principles but in search for heavier purse and power. There have been accusations and counter-accusations between parties, officials and individuals; threats and use of brute force to intimidate, subdue and overcome opponents at all costs to enable them rig elections in their favour. Recent reports over elections conducted by INEC are full of complaints of sordid happenings. INEC officials and security agents were accused of collusion during voting and collation of results in encouraging rigging. In some of these elections, there have been loss of lives and property despite earlier warnings against such occurrences and security presence. In elections conducted by State Electoral Commissions seem to be worse as candidates of State governments in power usually win majority if not for all seats. There are now palpable fears over what may happen in February 2019. The main opposition PDP has repeatedly-insisted nationally/internationally that the governing party APC will misuse available State resources including public funds and security to rig and force-win the oncoming 2019 election and continue to stay in power. The APC-led government has also debunked such PDP assertions repeatedly insisting that it will beat all opponents free, fair and square. The horrifying assertions of the two gigantic parties have put Nigerian voters in dilemma; on who to believe; between Scylla and Charybdis or the devil and deep sea. But people are convinced that there will be fighting and confusion whereby people may lose property, suffer injuries and die. Worst still, people are afraid that a government that they do not want may be imposed upon them eventually. The Federal government and political leaders should put on their thinking caps to Restructure the country and ensure everything is done to prevent fatalities of the Ides of March looming in the political horizon.
Boniface C E Egboka, UNIZIK, Awka, Anambra State; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org