Re-awakening the value of June 12: A search for democratic theory in Nigeria By Tunde Fajimbola

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Today is June 12. Today, “Democracy” seem to be animated and reawakened powerfully in its real concept, principle and ideal, in the most populous black country of the world, Nigeria.

Democracy (government by many) as a system of government to solve conflicts in allocation of values; is far better than autocracy (government by one) and aristocracy (government by few).

Although, critics, such as J.S. Mill and Tocqueville, have identified the problem of democracy as “tyranny of the majority” , while most ancient Greek philosophers argued that democracy is the rule of the poor that could take the form of a popular despotism; but they were unable to prescribe acceptable option to replace democracy.

Also, Schumpeters blamed the problem of democracy on the _demos_ , that is, the masses. He was only able to criticize the political fanatics who were seen to be too irrational, emotional, parochial, and primitive in behaviours to make good decisions with their voting power. But his criticism never diminished the beauty of democracy.

Therefore, the beauty of June 12 has never been diminished with today’s honour of MKO Abiola and other lions of the episode. The reawakening provides a new platform to set intellectual agenda for understanding the core principles of democracy.

The _demos_ , that is, the masses, should use the opportunity of the June 12 metaphor and its rethoric, to become more rational, less emotional, and increasingly modernized in their political thinking, to make their nation, Nigeria achieve its dream of becoming a middle power in global politics.

Without conviction in democratic values, without faith in democratic principles, Nigeria will remain behind, revolving in the periphery of other well developed Democratic Nations.

Democracy, for Nigeria, should be like a big bus conveying masses on the journey to political maturity, economic development and social transformation. The masses must be well seated and maintain decorum in the democratic bus, so that they can enjoy the beauty, along the journey, the serene environment that beacon hope, peace and joy.

When noisy, chaotic and disorganized political elites and barbaric masses hijacked democratic bus anywhere in the world, then fate of the people in the Democratic bus is determined negatively… there is bound to be frequent break down, delay and stressful experience on the journey. In the subsequent heat and tension that may arise, the beautiful memory of ideal democracy could be lost and even melt down all together .

We must appreciate the fact that democracy is still the best form of government in the world, in Africa and, for Nigeria.

My recommendation is simple. If the term “democracy” means rule of the people, then the only option for the people who want to truly rule themselves is to become the students of political education, in humility and master of democracy, with pride. Until this is applied, the ideology of ‘one – autocracy’ will continue to strengthen its alliance with the ideology of ‘few – aristocracy’, to manipulate the ideology of ‘majority – democracy’. In this regard, democracy becomes a mockery because _the demos_ are so weak, and lack the power that is conferred only through knowledge to protect the true legacy of democracy.

May….the June 12 reawakening evolve the Nigerian Theory of Democracy.

-Tunde Fajimbola, is a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU).


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