African Political Society has kept us quiet long enough. We kept quiet because of the nature of African political society where by the state is heavily influenced by the features of African society. Of course society unavoidably influences State as state is born out of society, but In Africa and in Nigeria precisely society influences state in a malignant manner. Example, because of respect for elders we have declined to raise our voices to hold these political elders responsible for gross neglect of duties and irresponsibility for so long. I even saw a photo of a Nigerian politician almost kneeling down to greet Mr President. These political elders are worshiped like traditional gods in their roles as government officials forgetting that all the benefits they enjoy is a result of being elected government officials and that they did not earn or achieve any of it but it all came as privileges of state office and governmental roles. That is part of why when they get there they abuse and molest the office. Instead of Nigerians to understand that it is privileged of office we largely unconsciously assume them as owners because of how our society is.
Let me define a state and a republic which Nigeria actually is. It is called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What is a state? A state is established by a body of people in a society called citizens who are politically organized and occupying a definite sovereign territory, living by appropriate and accepted laws and having institutions to drive stability, development and progress. What is a republic? A republic is a system of government practiced in a state where supreme power is held by the body of people, that make up the citizens of the state and via elections they decides on who becomes a government official to exercise power on their behalf and to govern according to law as representatives of the people and are responsible and accountable to the people. What is election? Bare in mind, a state is first and foremost established by a body of people called citizens. Now, in a democratic republic election is power and it is the right of all able citizens. It is the process through which willing, qualified and trusted individuals are selected from among the body of people called citizens and power is therefore delegated to those selected and they are placed in the role of government as representatives of the people to manage resources, deliberate on decisions, make decisions and to implement decisions made towards peace, sustainable development and progress and they are responsible and accountable to the people who delegated power to them via election.
Every year all these things like, roads, education, health care, electrical power, agriculture(food) and more have specific budget allocations which end up being swallowed by wicked politicians and government officials who neglect their duties. Politicians and government officials; President (ministers, senators and local government chairs etc) actually literally have no other Job apart from making sure these things are properly put in place and in optimum performance. That is why there are so many benefits attached to these roles so that they can be comfortable and be able to put prime focus on their duties. They literally have no other Job. And they are not even to do it with their money. Oh No! It is with our money. State money is our money. It is all ours! Legitimately so. And the legitimacy of their roles in government is by our allowance via elections. Our social contract. It is totally based on us. Totally. We are the source of power, little wonder why they don’t play with elections. We tacitly say “you people be in that role I.e government and make sure things are well done while the rest of us go about keeping the state and society going, we pay you for your job via taxes”. Now if you had a company and you pay your staff for a job and he doesn’t do it, what do you do? You query him, if he still doesn’t do it, you quit paying him and you fire him. Look it’s that simple. We fire them. We fire them all. You have the power! What will you do with your power?
Timothy Ogedengbe, a Postgraduate Student of Peace, Conflict and Strategic Studies writes from Abuja.