Wednesday, April 01, 2015


After the elections in which General Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress defeated the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and the People's Democratic Party of Nigeria, one of the reasons that some youngsters rejoice is that this upset shows that the power belongs to the people.

So I laugh, because of course the power belongs to the people - that is what democracy means - and maybe it took some people all these years to notice.

In a December 2010 post, Le progrès, c'est chic at lifelib's sister blog UpNaira, I wrote: "Civil society is awakening; citizens stage the occasional protest, only to find that their voices DO count."

That is, as at December 2010, it was already clear (if surprising) to many Nigerian people that the power was in their hands.  Their delight at this 'grand discovery' was perhaps understandable, after the trauma of military 'rule' - Abacha died only in 1998.
Still, sad to find human beings rejoicing in 2010 at simple freedoms: omg look i marched on the government and did not die, or in 2015 saying ohmygodunbelievable i voted out the ruling party.  We pray that more and more people and nations can experience this.

Anyway, progressively Nigeria became more democratic since 1999 -
from General Obasanjo who had to be a cross between a strong man and a liberalizing leader and played his role exceptionally well,
through Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (RIP) who they called go-slow but who again found more institutional-based ways and freedom-loving ways to solve some knotty issues,
to the much beloved GEJ (don't worry if you're too angry with him now, it will come to pass that you will remember him with more respect and appreciation) Goodluck Jonathan administration where some more political baggage was thrown out in favour of development, and some more strongmanism was thrown out in favour of institution-building.

This is my attempt to amend our understanding of history.
My friends, when you write "Now they know it is the will of the people that will always prevail", sorry, this is not a new discovery.  Still, go tell it on the mountain, so that those who don't already know will know.
If more people are today finding out that they are God and God is them, then I guess, wonderful. We are the government. Voting is only one small part of our duty as the government.  WE have the power to fuck everything up.  Absorb that.  Process that.

we are Nigerians, we are special, intelligent, and wonderful, so we will not mess up, instead, we will build something beautiful. insha'Allah, in Jesus' name, by the grace of God. AAAMIN.

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Erik Donald France said...

Wonderful ~! Here's to strengthening civil society wherever it can take root !

p.s. what are libraries and post offices like around the country, of those you may have encountered?

t said...

My school library would be a very large reading room, well, two very large reading rooms - the true library building is permanently under construction. At UniLag it was much larger and there were all the mini-libraries you would expect in an older university. The post-offices too are quite dead; I hear they're fitting them out as ICT centers now to add function and vibrancy.

One gets used to it, easy.

Erik Donald France said...