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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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FROM CULTISM TO THUGGERY, ROBBERY: AN INGLORIOUS METAMORPHOSIS

The ongoing police investigation into the Ofa (Kwara State) bank robbery is revealing a lot of odious misconceptions/misinterpretations and outright ignorance about democracy, its formation, practice and elements. Democracy, essentially, defined as the government of the people by the people and   for the people, was conceived of as an escape route from the authoritarian forms of government, in which powerful men seized power, mostly through wars and conquest, and using powers so acquired, at their discretion - it has one demerit of being susceptible to arbitrariness and power abuse. The founding fathers of democracy were motivated by this possibility of arbitrariness to seek an alternative government in which the people choose who lead them, participate in how government runs, by way of dialogue and, above all, by removing  them at will, subjecting the leaders to the mercy of the citizens, largely.

The main elements of democracy, therefore, are (i) the citizens/electorate (ii)the politicians/candidates (iii) the electoral bodies and their electoral materials. Thuggery, guns or machetes are not part of the elements of democracy, making any of them, or their use for election purposes unlawful and unethical. It is on this premise that such arguments as every politician has thugs or he only gave them ammunitions but didn't ask them to rob don't hold much water-not where ethics has relevance. In fact, such statements manifest naivety or outright-mischief. The valid question is, why arm youths or, even, any civilian? What's the use of ammunitions at peace time (when there is no war)?

These revelations, to me, are good for the future of politicking in our country-speculations have been, long, on, that the upsurge in criminality in post military politics is on account of ruffians dominating the political terrain, making it too hot for decent and cultured people with a semblance of good home training. I have said it, severally, here that street gangsters, ill-parented/over pampered children of loot-rich crooks, document forgers, '419ers,' thieves, liars and all forms of undesirable elements, the very ones who are supposed to be behind bars are the ones, unfortunately, parading our streets, today, as politicians.-they commit all forms of crimes, including kidnapping and murder.

Not a few people would remember the emergence of thuggery, in our politics. Desperation and inordinate desire fuelled the impatience that led people into crafty and unethical practices in the conduct of elections, in total disregard of the rules of democracy or civility. These included stuffing of ballot boxes with fake ballot papers, purchase of voters' cards from poor and needy owners etc, all of which culminated in the use of force which necessitated the use of armed people. Rather than look critically at the situation with a view to tackling it, the word thuggery became associated with machismo and thus worthy of pride and braggadocio, instead of shame and self-ostracism. Society, in turn, does not help matters as it honours wealth, regardless of its source. Politicians spend monies to maintain these ruffians for purposes of (i) intimidating oppositions (ii) disruption of electoral process and manipulation of election results. Cultists who hijack the management of students' unions, intimidating members of university communities, including intimidating lecturers in whose courses they fail, prefer to see themselves as activists /human rightists and suitable candidates for politics-since politics, in our country, since the end of the first republic, already became a war of brawl, as opposed to a war of intellect. They see themselves as the right candidates for politics and, as soon as possible, after graduation they join politics doing what they know best.

The police is, sure, doing a good job, in the case of Ofa-the very minimum we desire in our communities is peace of mind, so we can sleep, even in our politician-induced deprivations, with our eyes closed. At no time in our history has our society been this insecure and I can't, immediately think of any other nations that goes through what we are going through, at peace time. Government needs to give a matching order to the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies to see to the disarmament of the populace, immediately and bring normalcy to this country, within the shortest time possible. Any government that cannot guarantee the security of life and property of the citizens, is worthless and need not remain in office. Security is the minimum requirement of citizens to ensure comfortable social interactions within the communities. A government that fails to secure citizens' lives and properties is no more than an avoidable liability. A new law needs to be promulgated banning the use of thugs by politicians.

 


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