Democracy, terrorism and education = The Nation Nigeria

Dayo Sobowale


THERE is no doubt that  these  are hard and dubious times  for  the practice of the ideology  of democracy globally. The  popular  meaning  that  ‘democracy is the government of the people, by  the people and for the people ‘  is being turned into a charade  by   the elitism of politicians and leaders elected into government  and positions of  power  by  the  electorate  that is   equally  getting very  bitter  and resentful  of  the  unfair  but  clear  socio political  situation  now  prevailing globally   in    many democracies.  This is the    plain fact   emerging   that those  who  wield power in many political systems    do not have the interests  of those who elected them at heart.

The  situation  has been compounded  and aggravated  by  a  global  pandemic that  has led to the closure of global economies and the attendant present and future  economic   crisis  that  portends.   Especially   now     that   schools have been closed and in Nigeria at least the Teachers Union has   refused to go to teach until they    have  the enabling environment  that will  protect   them  and their pupils  from the ravages of the pandemic. Which in a way  is like closing the future  of  any  nation  because education and youth development is the clear  future of   any  developed   and developing   nation including Nigeria.

What  attracts  our attention  today  however is the alarming information  from the  American  military  African High  Command  that  about 9000  schools  have  been  closed   across    Africa  and    Nigeria,  and   about   3000, in    different     African    nations like  Mali  and Burkina Fasso     by   terrorist     groups     deliberately    while  they  are     replacing  such  closed  schools  with  teachings    and     proclamations  of their  own  terrorist  Ideology.   The  US  African  High Command    named   the terrorist   groups as   Islamic State, Al  Quada , Boko  Haram  and   Al  Shabaab     .This is in addition  to the  past   kidnappings  in Nigeria   of the Chibok   and  Dapchi    school   girls, their sexual  violations and cooption as wives  and allies  of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria .

According   to    a   virtual     media  security  briefing this week  Major  General Dagvin  Anderson, Commander of the US Special  Operations Africa lamented what  l have always  written about for some time   now,  that terrorists  are  taking over control  of both the vast NE and NW of  Nigeria and there is need for this to stop. The  American  general  noted in particular  that  terrorists were  bent  on ‘  hijacking the minds  of  the leaders  of tomorrow ‘ in Africa  generally    and Nigeria    in particular. The  Americans  are   therefore lamenting the irresponsibility  of our leaders and politicians  in turning a blind  eye to the  future   education of our youths, our future,   while literally condoning terrorism in our  midst.

However  the recent  attack  on the convoy of the Borno  State  governor  in Baga and his  indignant   charge of   military   sabotage, which  has been denied  by the military  high command,  illustrates   roundly   our   democratic   lack  of  leadership  accountability on stopping   terrorism militarily. In   denying the accusation of  sabotage by the Borno State  Governor  the military   high   command   said  it has the men , resources and equipment to stop the terrorists and it  has no inferiority   complex     on   achieving  its goal. So   who is going to stop  the  terrorists  in  our    brand  of  democracy that  spends a lot on elections and  the    maintenance  of  our sprawling   expensive   legislative and presidential  apparatus   but  has no sense   of  responsibility    and accountability   in saving the future of our education and   our   youths,  from the   scourge  of   terrorism and the spread  of its   militant  ideology in our land by  Boko Haram, Islamic State and Al  Qada ? Surely  we should not  be told that  in asking this question  we are    like     the   proverbial dog  barking  in vain  at  the moon,  because in doing so  we put  our  stability, peace and democracy  in  jeopardy.

Let  us  now look  at other travails and vagaries of  democracy  this week that  show  clearly  that  it is suffering not  only domestic violence  from those who  should protect it from abuse and misuse  but also make it  an example of the rule of law  both conceptually and contextually. We  look at  the recently  concluded Nigerian Bar Association elections and the emergence of a non Senior Advocate  of Nigeria  as  president ,  and   the  recent  attempt by the US  president  to post  pone the coming November 2020   US  presidential   election.

The  NBA  election of a  lawyer  who is not a silk or SAN   and  the consequent charge of rigging by some lawyers is good  evidence  that the so called learned men are  not  immune  to undemocratic  practices. Indeed  this disagreement  on the election  results in the NBA  is to be expected as a  hazard  of the practice   of  election litigation in  Nigeria   at  which  our  SANs  are  so  prolific that they will  take a case even  against  the Almighty if the fee  is right. But  on this particular  occasion crass  elitism and an   effective  repugnance  of this  by the majority made  sure that  a SAN   was  not elected . Indeed  I think  the SANs  who thought  a  SAN  should lead  the NBA forgot  that legal  knowledge  or erudition  is  not  at  all  democratic  and is not a  game  of  numbers as in the last NBA election  or any election for that matter . Legal   brilliance in any case or any court  has nothing to do with  professional honors or even experience.  It  is a personal    genius  or   wisdom   that  comes to play when  any   lawyer  performs a  ‘Daniel  Come To  Judgement ‘  as the young  lady  lawyer  Portia   did  on the shedding of a pound of flesh without  blood  in   Shakespeare’s  famous ‘ Merchant  of  Venice.’ Legal  brilliance and genius should  not be mistaken for legal  honors as  it  does  not follow   or  is  non   sequitur that SANs  are  more  professional and better than non SANs  in legal  practice and that  is what  the  majority  has shown  in electing a non SAN  as President  of the NBA. The election  result   which  is predicated on    majority  indignation against the SANs   has shown  that  ‘ ambition   should be  made of sterner stuff  ‘as  Shakespeare wrote and  as  the  men  in silk  know  so well-   that   ‘ He  who comes to equity  must  come with clean  hands‘

On  the  issue  of   postponement  of the US presidential  election  in  November suggested by President Donald  Trump,  I think  he just  tried  to fly  a kite that would not  take  off. He  knew  he has  no such  powers and he knew he would be accused of  attempting    to  elongate his tenure which  is undemocratic. For  someone who  has expressed admiration for  the life presidency of China’s  strongman   President Xi  Ping    just   recently,  the American president shot  himself  in the leg  for   inordinate   ambition  for  even  mooting the idea of  election  postponement. Again,  given the fact that the Russian president,  Vladmir Putin ,   who  Trump’s     detractors  and  opponents think helped  him  win in 2016, has just extended    his tenure ,   literally ad infinitum ,  in Russia, Donald  Trump  exposed himself  and his  election to the charge of ‘evil  communication corrupts  good  manners ‘on his well known Putin affinity  and   admiration. Anyway,  while  I do not  pity the American president for his self inflicted political  wounds and democratic gaffes, I admire his brave attempts  to  make  sure  the schools  in  America  are open and are  secured with funds and hygiene observations   because  he believes America should not toy  with its future  on education, in spite  of  the raging pandemic that is  putting  his  reelection  at  great  risk. Once again – From the fury of this raging pandemic, Good  Lord Deliver Nigeria.


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