Imo: Participatory democracy through peaceful election | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Imo: Participatory democracy through peaceful election

Posted: Apr 5, 2015 at 3:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Dr. Chuks Osuji

It is an incontestable fact that the best political process of governance is democracy. Although, democracy is not a form of government like theocracy, autocracy, oligarchy, etc, it has been found to be the best process within the general concept of government. Originated in the ancient Greek city, Dates, it is properly known as government in which the people hold the ruling power, either directly or through elected representatives. It can also be described as the rule by the ruled.

Within this general concept, nations the world over have found it to be the best system of government because of its inclusiveness, hence the phrase “government of the people for the people by the people”.

That is why the seventh President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, said, “No man has the right to rule a fellow man without his consent”. Giving such consent comes only through a process of democratic election. This places a lot of burden on both the leaders and followers.

Consequently, Thomas Jefferson, a former U.S. President, who actively participated in the drafting of American Constitution, had advised: “Before given the citizens democracy, it is important to give them political education and enlightenment.” This is because, if the citizens fail to understand the importance of democracy, it could be abused or appropriated by greedy leaders. Unfortunately, in our own context, both the leaders and followers have come to do certain things, which run contrary to the ethos of democratic order.

Another political scientist, Samuel Huntington, has reasoned, “It is only through process of election that the citizens can express their consent in order to elect those to rule them”.

Unfortunately, here in our state, Imo, many are trying to be the governor by all means and at all costs. It amounts to taking the people for a ride for those who lack major leadership qualities to aspire to become the governor of Imo State. Imo and Ondo states are said to be the two most political conscious in the country. But painfully enough, from time to time, we elect mediocres who ordinarily should not qualify as councillors in their communities. That is the bane of our society.

For one to be elected the governor of Imo State, one must be academically solid, intellectually sound, culturally and traditionally knowledgeable and economically buoyant. A good leader to be elected to the office of a governor must possess some vital and critical qualities of a good leader. He must have good education, experienced in the management of complex beings, known as the people, must be intelligent as well as wise, he must all times willing to consider and listen to the opinions of the people and his advisers. He should not be an island of wisdom to himself. Such a leader must be ready to identify himself with the genuine aspirations of the masses. And given the complex nature of Nigeria’s today politics, one to be elected must have the mastery of the interlocking complexities of Federal Government politics, be versatile in the National Assembly and Aso Rock strategies of political maneouvering. It must be a person people should be able to relate with, interact, discuss their problems with, a man of piety and sagacity, who can respect rule of law, tradition, and our cherished religious beliefs and cultural sanctity.

It has to be a man who should discuss with others and not one who should do all the talking while his colleagues and followers do only the listening and clapping. According to Humphery Jimmy, “the essence of democratic governance is the element of a feedback mechanism, which allows the people to express their views to the leaders and the leaders aggregate these views and opinions into workable concrete and implementable policies in the best interest of the people.”

Governance is not ‘try your luck’ matter, it is not a matter of simulated popularity in which the people are asked to clap, cheer and jubilate for nothing only to the admiration of a leader. No, it means more than that. A person to be elected must prove to the people of his readiness and willingness to be a servant leader and not a domesticated emperor who sees the people as serfs and villains. No, it should not and could not.

The person should have well articulated manifesto containing his mission and vision for the people of Imo State. This is why everybody will be impressed with the manifesto of Emeka Ihedioha with his published and circulated programme of action entitled ‘Together We Will Rebuilt Imo.’ This manifesto showed definite roadmaps to achieving certain people-oriented policies, programmes and projects in the critical areas of wealth creation, education, health of the people, active agricultural policies, free education which has quality that will take our children highly competitive in the public examination, good sanitation that will keep Imo clean and neat and not one based on spasmodic and fire brigade approach.

Our infrastructure must be those that must add value to the peoples living condition and not one based on superfluous acclamation. His visions and mission are well defined without ambiguity, which will make him always accountable to the people.

Therefore properly put, this eminent son of Owerri zone has established irrefutable that equity demands that the next governor of Imo State should be one of Owerri extraction. What is more, both Okigwe and Owerri leadership have agreed to support Ihedioha in order to ensure that harmonious existence of the people of the three zones could grow from strength to strength. This is the only way we can have a peaceful election in Imo State, let us hope that the next dispensation must be people-oriented. Government that caters for the generality of the people. Certainly, this is the golden opportunity to effect the most desirous change after all first fool no be fool, second fool na him be proper foolish. We cannot be deceived for a second time. Any government not based on truth and honesty, respect of the rule of law and accountability to the people, must be replaced through a peaceful election.