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Is democracy a curse to Africa?

PRINCEWILL ODIDI

You can teach a man anything and he learns and perfect in it, you cannot teach a man how to rule himself, that he has to learn from experience. (Ali Mazuri).

Is our democracy failing and our institutions non functional because we adopted a democratic process alien to our cultural systems of rule? Western democracy in itself is built on structures and a representative framework built on community input into governance. But this is hardly what is obtained in our clime.

American imperialism is the economic, military and cultural philosophy that the United States affects and controls other countries. It is further a believe that the rest of the world is underdeveloped because they are not practicing western democracy. And so whenever America liberates a people, they impose on them western democracy, a process we call American Imperialism.

Iraq and Libya prospered under autocracy. Today they have been reduced to rubble through American Imperialism. The current state of these countries today is history. American imperialism destroyed these countries.

The question today in nigeria is, have we learnt anything in our 57 years of democracy and independence? The current structure of our democracy is it really working for us? Our bureaucracy, Military, Security forces are they a representation of our dreams at independence? The Sectional agitations for cessation and independence is it a function of the failure of democracy or an expression of individual greed and private aggrandizement? Have we really learnt anything about democracy in 57 years of independence?

We go to the polls and elect leaders with so much hope and dreams, once in office, they become ineffective, confused, and out of sync with reality. Democracy was meant to have strengthened our institutions. Why is it taking us so long to perfect our democracy and governance structure?

Fifty-seven years later, we still believe the white-man should set the pace for us. Build our bridges, teach our children and in some cases, teach us his culture as done in Carnivals.

Have our elites learnt enough of perfecting democracy to export it to our rural villages or are traditional systems of rule gaining more traction and credibility even among the elites. Is there a relationship between the non functional nature of our society and democratic practice in our country?

Growing up local government councils were viable, chairmen executed projects, but today, Councils have been reduced to puppets of the governors. Are we developing or under-developing?

The failure of governance in Nigeria is it a function of adapting the white-mans democracy, or a disorientation of our native leadership styles, or a function of greed and selfishness on the part of our ruling class? Why do we find it difficult to evolve a credible ruling class capable of developing our country? Is there hope for our country or do we just resort to God?

I believe we can get it right the more our people are educated and enlightened. The best thing that western democracy bequeathed to Africa is democratic rule. At least we can change our leaders if we are not contented with their leadership. But whether the leader is stronger than the institutions to effect the change is the biggest challenge to African democracy.

Getting it right is not a choice, we must surely get there.

.Odidi wrote in from Atlanta, Georgia

For a better society

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