And so it was that two days ago as you woke up from sleep and put on your mobile phone the tone for text messages turned into music – music in the sense that your phone just continued what seemed like a long text delivery song that refused to stop. Well, when you summoned the courage to take a peep at the messages, you quickly found that it was your long list of family and friends (perhaps, including your enemies) who were behind the chain messages that turned your text tone into a music player. The messages were to wish you “HAPPY DEMOCRACY DAY”!
I guess your family and friends just reckoned you needed to be reminded that we have all come a long way, since General Abdulsalam Abubakar handed over power to the Otta farmer and retired military general, Olusegun Obasanjo, on May 29, 1999. You know how it is with us! They say we like to celebrate and with new technology, the celebration has gone viral. Every opportunity is used to wish someone something. We are now a nation of “Happy Wishes”. But when we have finished wishing we return to the reality of our anguish in the hands of politicians who seem to have little or no clue about the big picture of what you and I need as citizens of this great country.
Every day as you wake up, someone is likely to send you a message, which he probably didn’t originate herself, saying to you – Happy New Day! And when the month comes to an end and another one begins, you will hear – Happy New Month! In between the month there would be all sorts of things to celebrate, nothing close to breakthroughs on how to get us into the real swing of a moving nation. There would be Happy Anniversaries of all sorts, and they would be said from a distance with many, if not all the people making the wishes, not knowing that things aren’t all that happy. They can wish it, but it doesn’t really mean it is happening. And that is enough to either force a Laugh out Loud (LoL) or a Laugh in Loud (LiL) from you. Whichever of the two you decide to do, it would be entirely down to how you are really feeling at the moment the message hits you. As they both are capable of sending different messages to all manners of people, you will need to be very careful the one you choose to use to express yourself under any circumstance you find yourself.
So, there you are reading your messages, all wishing you Happy Democracy Day. As you are neither a politician nor live in Abuja where politicians gather and pretend that the rest of us do not exist, you are seriously wondering what to make of these messages. Well, you are happy, for one, that progress has been made in that we have managed to extend the stay of the military in the barracks and not have them come out to meddle with matters for which taxpayers’ money used to pay their bills, train and keep them in work was not meant for. You are happy that you can breathe freedom better, unlike during military rule where a non-benevolent dictator like Sani Abacha, even when you didn’t cross his path, appeared to stifle life out of you. You walked on the streets and always had to look over your shoulders as the atmosphere was always tense.
This is a good reason to celebrate and to understand the sentiments of those family and friends who have sent you a deluge of messages wishing you Happy Democracy Day! Suddenly, it seems to make sense, even as you lie on your bed, just trying to get up. You are still surprised, though, by the avalanche of messages that have come through just this morning. You have got to be popular, you seem to tell yourself. Yeah, that’s another way to look at it. Many people must like you, given that you are not a politician and you have no favours to dispense. After all, as you think long and hard about it all, that they remembered to single you out for a torrent of Happy Democracy Day greetings, they must like you for some reasons! There you are going the sycophancy route now. Open your eyes, smell the coffee with your nose, not your palate, as you could be dead before you smell it to know it’s not actually coffee! If that were to happen, then you would know that Laughing in Loud (LiL) could be mockery and that it could kill – since you don’t know what kind of air or gas you might be taking in! Now, I see you think it is not funny! Lol!
But then, who can you really blame? Democracy Day is democracy day! How you behave on that day is all up to you. Liberal politicians will tell you that your freedom stops where mine begins. Once we all respect that, then democracy will be democracy and we should all be happy. But never mind that we have been celebrating democracy this week, climaxing it with the declaration of a public holiday on Wednesday and President Goodluck (my name has brought good luck to Nigeria) Jonathan choosing the day to present his midterm report card, albeit still passing the buck and asking Nigerians to assess his government by the performance scorecard of his ministers. I can hear many shouting at this Square Table of indulgees: “Take responsibility Mr. President, the buck stops on your large mahogany desk!” But it’s not even just that, this Democracy Day!
There is something funny about the midwives of this democratic dispensation, especially those of them in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (Fee Dee Fee – who’s paying the fees, please). In the month that Democracy is to be celebrated, and in the very seat of Nigerian politics, Abuja, a group of governors, abandoning their primary responsibility to their states’ citizens, chose to go to Abuja to contest a seat that should, in truth, have no place and relevance in the body polity of this country. They did not only gather to make nonsense of democracy, they disgraced themselves in that 36 or is it 35 of them could not agree on the result of an election they participated in! Those who were watching, whether they be of this country or they be just global on-lookers, must have LOL (that’s deliberately in capitals because the laughter must have been truly loud). This was just days to Democracy Day! Can you believe that?
They have returned to their various states and just a week later in their capitals, including in Abuja where the Fee Dee Fee holds sway, they were all celebrating Democracy Day! How can non-democrats, demonstrated by the actions at the Governors’ Forum elections the other day, be celebrating Democracy Day? Whoever can believe that this day should even be celebrated, given the abuse that has been heaped on democracy by its so-called practitioners who are so isolated from the people that they are supposed to represent? What is a Democracy Day when the true foundation of democracy has not been built? Would many not question a Democracy Day that only seems to celebrate something that is hanging in the air, abused by those who should be spending time bringing it to the ground and making sure that it is grounded and solid? It’s Democracy Day! It’s NOT, my friend!