A vast majority of Nigeria’s population celebrated when General Abdulsalami Abubakar handed over and the country returned to civil rule on May 29, 1999. Not too long after however, those who hold Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in high esteem as a man who saw ahead had reasons to describe Nigeria’s democracy as a “crazy demonstration.” No thanks to the open display of corruption in different forms.
How does one explain the case of a 29-year old that lied about his age and qualification and emerged Speaker of the House of Representatives? Within two months of resumption, the leadership of the lower legislature had to change. When some of us made observations, we were told that it was normal and that it would take some time for the “real democracy” to evolve. Twelve years after, the desired change has not come. The House has moved from one scandal to the other. It is as if there is a curse on the leadership to be involved in one controversy or the other.
The most recent one generated a lot of steam but those in the know have opined that the investigations will not lead anywhere.
It was soon found out that corruption was not peculiar to the House. Their colleagues in the upper legislature too were having a share of the “demo-crazy”. A whooping sum of N 75 million was approved for the sale of sallah rams! How many rams do you that would buy?
Many still remember the “Evan and Evans” story, when the issue of a Senator’s certificates became a matter for investigative journalists to research. When the address of a school attended by one of the distinguished Senators was traced, it turned out to be a cemetery!
It almost became a fight when the Central Bank Governor passed comments on what Nigeria expends to maintain its legislative arm.
And if you think Nigeria is being fleeced only by the legislators, you are dead wrong. Another demonstration of craze came when the story of the National ID Card scam broke. Many Nigerians had to queue in the hot sun for hours just to get their data captured; they had to answer odd questions including their great grandmother’s maiden names. Those who could not remember had to quickly rename their ancestors.
It is real “crazy demo” that will make a godfather kidnap a Governor for failing to give him unhindered access to a state’s treasury. Another financed a governor’s impeachment for not giving him a quarter of his security votes every month.
Only in a “demo-crazy” will an Inspector-General of Police stash billions of Naira in banks and pride himself as one of the richest men in his home state. It is the same “demonstration of craze” that made a Governor disguise himself as a woman to jump bail abroad after more than £ 1 million was found in his possession. The same man came back from jail and became “the Godfather” in his state!
And it is only in a democracy will some win elections from within the four walls of a prison cell!
Okay, how does one describe the fight, accusations and counter-accusations between two of the most senior justices in the country? That is an indication that even the judiciary is not spared of the “crazy-demo”.
It is only in a “demo-crazy” that small offenders get weightier punishments than big offenders if the big one ever gets punished at all.
While a certain politician was in custody, everyday was like a party in the prison as our man bought cows to host his guests who came in to greet him almost on a daily basis.
A drug convict was moved from a prison in Lagos to another facility based on the fear that “his boys might attack the prison and free him”. It turned out that where he was transferred to, he had a television set and satellite dish connected to his cell. The inmate had no cause to be bothered about power failure as he had a generating set powering his cell. He also had three different mobile phones for personal use. The convict’s wife even got pregnant while he was in prison and the child happens to be carbon copy of his. Stop cracking your brain about how it happened, Mr. Convict was seen at a couple of parties in Lagos Island while he was doing his time, though he was escorted.
Another prisoner, a bearded man on death row was found in a compromising position with a woman in a prison!
The Civil Service which used to be a pride to the nation has also changed. It is fast becoming “evil service.” The principle seems to have become “no bribe, no work”. In our democracy, there are civil servants that do not add any value to the Government and there is barely an office without a ghost worker.
The many unanswered questions for our democracy include the MEND, MASSOB and Boko Haram issues.
A Yoruba proverb says “when it takes a man twenty years to prepare for madness, how long will it take him to get to the market where he will exercise his madness?” Fellow Nigerians, we have had enough of this “demo-crazy”.