Over two months after the general elections, even after the swearing in of a new government, so many Nigerians are still unable to move away from the sentiments of electioneering. It is incredible but such attitude accounts for the inability of Nigerians to save themselves from the suffocating grip of politicians who have literarily taken over our lives.
Nigeria has suffered from endless misrule over the years and some people are so confident that in President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has found a Moses to take her out of Egypt and direct her towards the land of promise. Those who propose the foregoing go further to suggest that all Buhari should get from Nigerians at the moment should be prayers and support without criticism.
While I agree that having Buhari as Nigeria’s sixth elected president may indeed be a new beginning for Nigeria, the idea of supporters running down any attempt to criticize the President, no matter how constructive such criticism may be is not just against the interest of the country, it is also very undemocratic.
Which makes me wonder whether the majority of us Nigerians actually understand the basic tenets of democracy which allows everyone have their say while the minority can have their way. In Nigeria, those with the loudest voices do not just want to have their way, they also want to stifle the voices of others who do not see their point of view, how exactly do we profess that we are democrats.
The second and most important point that we should all understand is that no people interested in the development of their country should depend on any politician no matter how much love he claims to have for the people. Politicians will always be politicians with loads of interests least of which is that of the people that voted for them and you need to trust me on this.
The gradation of affection of the average politician is likely to be the personal, the political and the national in that order. It takes statesmen and not politicians to find the reversal of such priorities and statesmanship is in short supply in countries like ours where attainment of political office is essentially hinged on patronage and reciprocity of same.
If we go to sleep on any politician no matter how sparkling his credentials appear to us, we would again have surrendered the future of our country to chance.
The beauty and effectiveness of democracy is not in electing leaders and waiting for another four years to vote them out or reelect them. It is in responsible citizenship which is alert and committed to holding politicians to their promises as well as fulfilling its own civic duties.
While we cannot begrudge those who choose to travel with the Buhari administration oblivious of whatever its fault might be, they must be gracious and democratic enough not to shout down Nigerians who are disposed to constructive assessments of the administration. By putting the government on its toes and holding it accountable to the people who elected it, these critics do us more good in the long run than we can imagine.
We all cannot just get so star struck now.
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