Every election conducted in Nigeria have how they prove that democracy as practised is nothing near what it’s popularly believed to be; and this time, it’s not just the so termed Nigerian Democracy but democracy as practiced everywhere no matter where it is. I have written to posit that democracy—how it is practiced—just gets better from country to country and that none is the perfect democracy and worthy of being the model of how to practise democracy. Writing about why and how democracy as practiced anywhere is never what it’s meant to be again would be me repeating the same story over again about the inadequacies of the practised democracies compared to democracy in its expected sense. I have written too many articles on this topic already. So, to avoid overemphasizing, I will on this write-up be focusing only on the analysis of the last gubernatorial election conducted in Osun State as everything happening in the state right now keeps bringing the lapses in the election to mind.
The most explanatory concept of democracy I know explains democracy to be the government formed by the people to be operated by the people chosen by the majority of the people to represent them, and for the benefit of the people. Everything mentioned here basically means that a democratic government must be run by the people, and because everyone cannot be in government, there has to be a form of selection, appointment and election to place in the government the few people that will be representatives of the people (at the very least, majority of the people). This makes it bother me about the Nigerian elections anytime one is conducted, it is funny when in a state of a population of about 5 million people for instance, only about 250 thousand people vote to choose the governor that will rule the whole people for a four-year term, and even the 250 thousand votes are distributed amongst 4 or 5 candidates with the winning person having only about 100 thousand of the total votes. Which could only make the government formed after such election to not be the true representation of the people…democratically. I mean, how could about 100 thousand people be the ones to choose who rules about 5 million people?
Let me make this analysis more relatable using the last gubernatorial election conducted in Osun State as an example. The 1991 population census places the population of Osun to 2,158,143; the population census conducted in 2006 puts the population of Osun to 3,416,959 and projects it to be up to 4,705,600 in 2016 (the picture below is the chart of the population census). We are in 2018, which means if the projection for 2016 is anywhere near right, then Osun can never be anything lesser than 5,000,000 in population right now. So let’s assume Osun currently has half a million people, now, this is where it becomes unreasonable when we say democracy is the government of the people but only about 1,000,000 of 5,000,000 people voted in who rules the 5,000,000.
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In this Osun gubernatorial election in discussion, it can’t be said that a total of 1,000,000 electorates voted in the election (which is only like 1/5 of the assumed population of Osun State). Out of this total number of voters who are not even up to 1,000,000, only 256,219 voted for the winner of the election (256,219 deducted from 5,000,000 is a lot of deficit). No matter which of the two we are deducting from the assumed population of Osun—total number of voters or numberof voters who voted for the winner of the election, it would only mean lesser than 1/5 of the population of Osun decided who rules Osun for the next four years. How democratic is such democracy?
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Looking at this failure of democracy to be democratic, we wouldn’t even have to look too well before finding the faults of any government formed based on this kind of election, but if we looked well, we would also see that the people have more faults on this than the government does. Political apathy is a very serious matter in Nigeria. Parents encourage it, schools encourage it, religions (as they are practiced here) encourage it; which makes it even clearer that Nigerians only like to complain and lament about everything, but when it is time to take any step towards anything that could in any way bring any solution at all to what they complain and lament about, they just become indifferent to it all. This is saddening!
Olusegun Peters is a businessman in tech and in the academics. He is the founder of www.primerinfotech.com and www.pec-ng.com. He is also a poet who has hundreds of poems published, and a couple of media and literature awards to his credit. He is by education a Political Scientist at every degree of academics. He believes in the parts social activeness must take in individual development and state-crafting. He believes social involvement is one of the core factors that can bring about the cut-across development. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here