The Government of our choice ...!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

It is true that the elections have come and gone. Nigerians have made their choices in the polls. Parties and individual members have won elections. Others have failed and gone home. Some have gone to court to context their failure. Nigerians are waiting for the final decisions of such higher courts of appellate jurisdictions. Meanwhile new governments are being prepared in so many states of the federation to take over the mantle of leadership.

It is in that context that the government of our choice becomes our focus. Yes, Nigerians have a government of their own choice. Political parties are not the government. Rather they help with some of their members to form a government. And the government so formed is of the federation but not of the party. In a properly constituted democracy, for instance, there is no one single political party that can constitute the entire bulk of a government. There is always a coalition of a type.

People of other parties in their competencies are invited to help build a new government with a view to service delivery. And that is the joy of democracy that allows opposition for greater efficiency. And so Nigerians need nothing less than the best of any government. Indeed, she needs a government properly constituted from the onset, with people of different orientations and competencies for the common good and for the sustenance of true democracy.

It must be placed on record that any government constituted at all levels of governance are not so organised for the interest of the political party that won the elections. The winning at elections give the parties the impetus to serve the people. It is the mandate of the people that the parties are struggling to acquire during elections. When the people have spoken as in the polls, the parties go down to work for the people.

And so it is not a government constituted for the well- being of its party members and for the punishment of non-members. That would be a travesty of democracy. This travesty breeds nothing but conflict and dissension among the people. Nigerians want a government properly constituted whose ears are on the ground. The bane of Nigerian democracy has been one of deaf leaders. Nigerian leaders have been hard of hearing. They do not hear the voices of their masters for whom they were chosen to serve.

What a great contradiction? A government that does not pay attention to the groaning of the heart of the people does not worth to exist. The index of true leadership is the care and concern for the led. In fact, leadership in Nigeria presents conflicting scenarios, namely, the people are made to serve the government, yet the mandate and sovereignty belongs to the people.

It is our desire that at all levels of governance in this country, the peoples' participation and active involvement in the ebb and flow of governance should be greatly enhanced. The situation where the people are treated as strangers in matters of its utmost interest spells doom for democracy. But one would ask, what degree of peoples' involvement is needed since democracy itself is a representative form of governance?

Yes, if the people are the ones to be represented, then the representatives must listen to their voices and carry their messages further for implementation, but not to live and work as if the entire process of governance begins and ends with them. The paucity of representation in our practice of democracy leaves much to be desired.

Ugly enough, most of our representatives live as if they sent themselves and are accountable to no one else. But the truth remains that the mandate and sovereignty of governance belongs to the people. The representatives have been sent on trust. And they are bound by the ethics of representation to hearken to the voices of their masters, and transform their ideas into quality dividends of democracy evident in quality living among the people.

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