By Richard Odusanya
The whole past will always remain the procession of the present. As a result, we must continuously study history because in it we make more history. A generation which ignores history has no future.
Governance is a big word that includes human rights, freedom of speech, economic transactions, religion and every other aspect of the human lives on a worldwide basis- it touches everything and everywhere. In the light of this, we cannot remain mere consumers of good governance; we must be patriotic participants and co-creators.
We are the owners of corporate governance which real mechanism is the active involvement of the owners. So, we must continuously learn from the works of historians who are prophets with their face turned backward for us to avoid the mistakes of the past and key into the mental and physical strengths of our heroes past to consolidate their achievements.
In the year 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes (the father of democracy) introduced a system of political reforms; to abolish the political distinctions between the Athenian aristocrats and the middle-and-working class citizens, that he called demokratia or “rule by the people”. This Greek system of direct democracy paved the way for the representative democracies across the globe today.
The present democracy owe their origin to the American and French revolutions. Since the best form of all forms of governance till date is “democracy”, it is our duty to jealously guard against its failure and continuously learn from the different democratic settings around the world to help us eradicate the madness we practise in Africa all in the name of “democracy”.
The politics of America, being the origin of the present day democratic setting, is enviable and symbolic to the existence of every other democracy drawing inspiration from it. A failed American democratic system is a time-bomb to the world as a whole.
It is the knowledge of this that stirred fears and worries deep down inside of me when Mr Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America in 2016, in a contest against Hillary Clinton through electoral college. My picture of Mr Trump has always been that of a potential tyrant, an insincere personality that cannot be held responsible for his words, a racist, a shallow thinker and careless talker.
Many of the greatest tyrants on the records of history began their reigns in the fairest manner. But this unnatural power corrupts both the heart and understanding.
Hardly had President Trump settled into office that he started dishing out the evils he had up his sleeves. His policies heated up the world politics and brought about discomfort and humiliations to lots of second and third world countries; I remember him intentionally call Africa a shit hole just for the sake of humiliating us as a people.
He hid under the protection of legality and the banner of justice to spread his hate speech and misdeeds about religion and racism.
“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider godfearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”- Aristotle.
This is a perfect description of President Trump. He came like the destroyer of the anti-christs and the saviour of the Christian faith. He gained lots of followership initially with the promotion of racism and later by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordering the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What an applaudable feat from an insincere heart!
His “American first policy” established a cult-like followership among the white supremacists; and a second term for President Trump became a do or die affair among his followers. He successfully got to religion extremists and racists, manipulating them to satisfy his personal interest of ruling as a despot that he has always been.
But those with their minds within their reach saw his moves as castles being built in the air; no wonder Pope Francis, on 18 February ,2016, accused President Trump of not being a Christian.
Recent research has shown that President Trump has been categorised as one of the worst presidents ever in the history of America,placing him in the league of President Nixon( 1969-1974; a symbol of criminality- the Watergate scandal), President Buchanan (1857-61; the worst ever), President Andrew Jackson (1829-37; a symbol of nepotism and bad judgement), President Harring (1920; a womaniser with less interest in governance), President Andrew Johnson (1865-69; a drunkard) and Franklin Pierce (1853-57; a voice for slave trade).
In Africa, the offences that qualified these personalities as worst would have been applauded and celebrated. American democracy is an institution that is bigger than any personality or group of personalities; it is not like ours in Africa where our laws abide in the pockets of some lunatics we call leaders.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand”-Harry Truman (the 33rd President of the United States).
We call ours in Africa democracy though it is built on nepotism, abuse of law, embezzlement, abuse of power, rigging of election and all disgusting practices in a sane clime.
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”-Abraham Lincoln ( the 16th President of the United States; considered the greatest of all in the history of America).
“Our democracy here in Africa is a government of the political “thieves” by the political “thieves” and for the the political “thieves” It is a display of rascality and irresponsibility at its peak by those who are supposed to be the custodians of our constitution and its provisions.
“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. If Nigeria succeeds at democratic governance, it will be an anchor for all of West Africa. Africa needs a strong Nigeria”-Ed Randall Royce ( Chairman of United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2019).
The survival, sanity and greatness of Africa rest on a strong Nigeria. This we could only achieve by burying our present balderdash we practise in the name of democracy. Nigerians, most especially the intelligentsia, should always remember that the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. If not for the American consciousness about their leadership, like in Africa, emperor Trump would have been rigged into power for a second term without any resistance.
“It is not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into war just because somebody got under his very thin skin. Americans are not just electing a president in November. We are choosing our next C-in-C, the person we count on to decide questions of war and peace, life and death. And like many across our country and around the world, I believe the person the Republicans have nominated for president cannot do the job.”-Hillary Clinton.
Here in Africa, anything goes when it comes to our leadeship and governance; our politicians lack the required ideology for a democratic setting.They see the access to political powers as a means to settle personal scores, oppress the citizens and amass wealth. Yet, we do not see anything wrong with this. If President Trump was an African, he would have been praised for doing what is wrong.
President Trump grew up as a bossy personality with lots of cash to throw around. At a tender age of 8, he was already a millionaire. He had always felt he was the boss until 3rd of November, 2020. The sane democratic system of America handed him the gift of sanity to mute the madness in him. The constitution clipped his wings and placed him where he actually belongs in the scheme of the American democratic setting; a citizen just like every other citizen.
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority. Our system has been far too abused and we cannot all keep mute in the face of disorderliness and madness spread by our political mad dogs. It is time we stood up to bring sanity to our land.
We must all remember that just because we do not take interest in politics does not mean that politics will not take interest in us.The earlier we understand how tied our lives are to governance and the leadership over us the better for us in Africa.
“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America”-Bill Clinton. When would we say same of Nigeria and Africa at large?!
IT IS TIME WE AUTOMATED OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA TO RECURRENTLY AND EFFORTLESSLY SELF-DEFENSE AGAINST OUR IRRESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIPS!
Odusanya is the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.