The political system in Nigeria exists and as such, it can be studied. These are the neccesary beginnings: to log the positives so that they may be available for use as the foundations of something even better and, to evaluate the detrimental peculiarities of the system in order that remedies and counter-measures can be drawn up in time.
These records of observations and suggested strategies should be kept in places where they can be referenced, updated and amended by ones who are given over to the task because, though kept at bay for 40 plus years by abberant military dictatorships (and other political abominations), a governing system in which a majority of the population can participate is now possible.
I say this in spite of the PDP and their many instruments of misgovernance....in spite of the PDP, we should not now give up our long defered right to have a voice in how the country is run.
Now, before a program of penetrative reforms can be embarked upon, the different social classes that make up the society in each part of the country need to be defined. This work needs to be carried out city by city, town by town, village by village and, street by street: We need to have a record of the different types of power dynamics that exist in Nigeria, how every single one of these works and, how each relates with the other systems that it co-exists with.
Resources, human and material, existant and potential, should also be noted.
The more of this we know, the more capable we will be of devising an effective and far-reaching strategy.
We have been at a standstill because we have been trying to adapt social evolutionary systems that worked in other societies to our own. It seems that we have never considered the part that a unique history played in the emergence of each current system that we are seeking to replicate. For this reason, in too many instances, the attempts of our 'leaders' can be (and have been) likened to exercises in magical thinking: They say "democracy" and expect that the type of democracy which exists in England, or the USA will suddenly emerge in a Nigeria that is nothing like any of those countries.
So we have had parliaments (and MPs), and now have a Senate and House of Representatives. But have the cultural, political, economic and social factors that caused the creations of Parliament in England and, the two-chambered House of Assembly in the USA ever existed in Nigeria? And how (aside from throwing 'easy' money into greed-pits) have we attempted to adapt the structures/concepts represented by the Presidency, Senate, Governorships and House of Rep. to our own peculiar cultural, political, economic, historic and, social factors?
I will now make a digressive summary into the histories of some of the countries we are imitating just to make it clear how ill-fitting our adopted garments are.
In both Britain and the USA, what passes today for democracy did not emerge until there was a sizeable property owning middle-class. Until such a group emerged, every aspect of governance was wholly in the hands of an elite minority. In Britain, the road to today's democratic dispensation had started with the revolt of the aristocratic class against the monarch - this led to the signing of the Magna Carta in the 12th century. However, this success by the Barons was not the end of the matter as for many centuries afterwards, the reins of power fluctuated between the Crown (whenever there existed a confluence between a strong willed monarch and a disunited aristocracy) and the nobility (when the monarch was weak). The so-called common man did not have a voice.
The next revolution in Britain gave the first definitive shape to the society we see today because, rapid industraliasation brought about an exponential growth of the power of capital (as opposed to the former age when power was based on land holdings). This saw the emergence of a new class and, it was this new class of mainly city dwelling enteprenuers who allied themselves with the Crown and inflicted a final lasting defeat on the aristocracy.
This alliance of the middle class and the Crown was what diferentiated Britain (and eventually the USA with its quasi-monarch the President) from other European countries where aristocracies and monarchies combined to battle the middle class who, in self-defence then empowered and used the muscle of the formerly ignored peasants to overthrow both the crown and the aristocratic class.
This was the story in countries from Portugal in the west to Russia in the far east.
It was on the cauldrons fired by these historical events that the accesories of present-day democracies (including the socialist models) were cooked up. But if we look closely though, we can still see remnants of the old caste divisions that were created by the European collective culture in the the instruments of state used by current day democracies. For example, what else is the House of Representatives and the Senate of the USA if not a couple of bodies where elites from the middle-class (Reps) and scions of the aristocracy (the Senate) can sit down to deliberate? And what is the Office of the President if not a throne in all but name? In the UK, the matter is more obvious as one is called the House of Commons while the other is called the House Of Lords.
I bring all this up because I wish to question the ongoing absurdity in Nigeria where we simply adopt instruments that have no corelation to the actual power relationships that are still embeded in our various societies..
Is this not why all such bodies and offices are largely dysfunctional and disconnected from the populace in general?
The danger that has resulted from this is that there has been a vacuum in legitimate power in Nigeria for decades now. Yes, I know that various men have called themselves Head Of State and President but the truth of the matter is, there is no legitimacy to these Offices of State because the State that exists today is divorced from history and thus from reality.
It must be understood that the legitimacy of the State has a corollary to its overall efficiency; human nature been what it is, even with the best methods of selection in operation, every now and then, duds will occupy high places. However, the saving grace that is the greatest beauty of a system whose legitimacy is undoubted is how it can and will (always) eventually self-correct.
This crucial legitimacy is made possible only when a greater part of the population knows without a doubt that the country belongs to them - if 8 out of 10 hold this shared ownership to be a valid fact, then the environment shall be adapted (sooner or later) to conform with the laws that enhance the practical components of this piece of awareness.
In other words, the type of collective consciousness that can mold reality is a matter of proportion. When you have a situation like in Nigeria today where, for example, the idea of "nation" that is held by most born and bred in a place like Sagamu ends at the express-way leading out of that town, then the collective consciousness (and the reality that it can mold) will bear little correspondence to the wishful thinkings of Nigerians 'nationalists' of all stripes.
In short, the currently dominant fact regarding the existence of "Nigeria" for most of the population at this moment in time is as follows : the nation is very much restricted to the few square kilometres within which the members of each community carry out their daily struggles for survival. Outside of those few relevant square kilometres, we might as well be talking about a foreign country.
Yet, the corporate social being called Nigeria exists and as such, it can be studied. But for this study to be of any use, we must be willing to resist the temptation that has some ascribing values that are shared by a tiny minority to the majority. We have to be capable of handling truths that are dispiriting because without doing this, we will never be able to truly look beyond the temporary facts on the ground and so devise a way through to the desired outcome.