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    [ARTICLE] Executive Overbearing: How a nation hurts her own heels

    ~ Debo Ikuesewo-Akinbami

    Like a wretched leper, Nigeria washed her dirty linen before the world in the recent past. The foul smell of her regular farting, which her own have probably gotten used to, permeated the borders and attracted protest from her neighbours. It is not the first time of farting, but the last defied boundaries to define it differently and its ripples return to her with a sense of shame. The shame resulted from a country's seeming inability to tidy itself within, its seeming preference for persistent wrong doings and shunning of best practices, a maliase whose outgrowth the world watched on both local and international screens where masked men of the State Security Service held to ransom the National Assembly of the Federal Republic.

    What became a sour show can be likened to a fray between two friends which advanced to a fight between two parties, and as it persisted, it veiled actors' sight, turning the fighters into careless pugilists who in the attempt to inflict a painful punch on themselves slid unto the streets and mistaken for lunies. Unfortunate! Sad as it seems, the absurd show leaves a leprous nation with a lesson or two. Maybe, for once, the country would be sober and review her conducts, and realise that it smacks of little wisdom to set one's home ablaze in an attempt to burn a bad bird. When a country continues to fart by indulging in lawlessness, condoning serial abuse of human rights, placing little value on the sanctity of human lives, encouraging official theft and preferring persecution to prosecution, the foul smell is certain to overwhelm it someday, just as it played out.

    In answering how we got to this pass, we must not forget that the manner of government in operation is a mirror reflection of the manner of men who operate it, and invariably a mirror of the quality of electors. And if must regain prompt sanity, this must compel Nigerians to do things differently pertaining to leadership selection. It is a common tale in this part to see leaders who swore to defend the Constitution of the country trample upon it without penitence. Where the Constitution is given a pride of place, where government handlers realise and respect the fact that they are subjects of the law and so act within the ambit of same, the narrative will not be the way it is. And since Democracy allows for certain privileges and confers on individuals and institutions certain rights under the law, to lay claim to democratic governance and do other ways is to regress a nation and cause it to repeated rigmarole.

    Democratic tenets, which confers certain freedoms, of association, expression, religion among others, and the doctrines among which are separation of powers, independence of judiciary with other specifics should be visibly enthroned. Where the laws are applied irrespective and Democracy is well operated, tales such as using security operatives to harry dissents, official theft, electoral malpractices and other vices for which the country is famed would not be. Sad still, in other opinions, some have alleged Nigeria's presidency of flouting the laws and nearing tyranny by the shape of political conducts unfolding under its watch. While these concerns have this peak, the people has to review the nature of government and her handlers.

    The police exists to uphold the law firmly and fairly, to prevent crime, bring criminals and law breakers to book, and to be seen to do this without sentiments, with sound judgement and integrity. Were these roles are what Nigeria police prioritize, sordid tales such as alleged complicity between the police and political figures to discredit election processes, harassing incumbent heads of government on the ground of political differentiation, barricading the ways of officers of the senate with no tenable reasons would not arise. The police, for Nigeria's democracy to thrive, must not be seen as becoming common political tools in the hands of politicians with incessant allegations of abbetting illegalities.

    Political disagreement between persons or parties should not be allowed to denervated to such level where the ripples would call the maturity of a nation to question, and conducting political warfare, the image and integrity of the country must be guarded with utmost care. Nigeria's democracy didn't come cheap, the country paid peculiar prices in her journey to this rung, losing lives and limbs. The route to democratic governance was littered with losses- deprivation, incarceration, molestation, denials and even deaths. Those who fought for this day did so that the nation and her people could enjoy inherent privileges and freedom that come with it, so that individual and institutions' rights would be respected, so that the people can, through credible electoral process, affirm or reject a government without unlawful inhibitions.

    It's therefore not for citizenry to take the hard earned democracy for granted or its managers to allow it descend into inanities by losing sight of the price paid to achieve it. We must not forget so minutely how the country passed through hellish circumstances to witness this dawn by allowing banal practices such as exampled through the conduct of the police to fetter. As citizens, Nigerians should not be to be hailing or gloating at poor political outings and making deplorable commentaries such as calling both aggressors and victims people of equal trade and so indulging in bad indifference where vehement condemnation of illegalities should be made. Doing this is a wrong way to build a nation. The people must begin to say it the way they see it. When the citizenry is indifferent to untoward actions in government circles, indulging in provincial sentiments or viewpoints where the very essence of governance is being compromised, it would be uphill for such a country to progress.

    Thanks to the action of the civil society organisations, who rose to the occasion to save the face of a nation and so mitigate the shame before a civilised audience, and giving hope that it's not all bad. These patriots gave a good example of how to be worthy citizens. They spoke audibly against the anomaly, knowing full well that there are certain lines that must not be crossed, irrespective. They understand it is iniquitous to allow such ridicule on a reverred arm of government to go unchallenged, and they so acted in defense of the nation. There is also the profound example of the leadership of the Senate which displayed the finest of mien, aplomb, calm, tact and shrewdness in the handling of repeated political provocations so that the overall interest of the country is not sacrificed for personal or political ends.

    While we do not pretend that the country's democracy has arrived, while it is taken that the country is on a rung where her democratic underpinnings are yet evolving, Nigerian leaders should not forget with careless neglect that the same power of the thumbs that conferred political authority on the executive arm of government also brought in the legislature, both with distinct district of powers, privileges and responsibilities.
    The legislative arm must prevail on itself where there are excesses. The judiciary must be seen as incorruptible and truly independent of executive interference. The citizenry must always be ready to defend the country where her destiny appears threatened. This is the minimum we can do to guard Nigeria's democracy.

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