It’s been eighteen years of democracy for our nation – for which most of us have mixed feelings by the way, ranging from love to hate, to disappointment, despair and disillusionment. Some even dare to hope. While we celebrate Independence every first of October, what’s not to say that we do not mark ‘Dependence’ 7 months and 29 days afterwards under the guise of democracy? Now I have no intention of coming across as a political critic but rather as a concerned citizen with as much stake in the Nigerian polity as the sitting President. Neither do I intend to condemn the structure of governance we have come to adopt as ours – democracy. I’ll not go the Abraham Lincoln way either, it is the American way. What then am I driving at you might ask?
There is this saying I and a very good friend of mine bounce off each other: learn the way and find your own way. Now, that’s what we as Nigerians have refused to do; we’ve learnt the way but we are still at loss for what our own way is. The Nigerian model of democracy has taken up a chimeric form- it has so many ugly parts that it simply scares off any onlooker; so many parts look like the real thing but that is as far as the semblance goes… We have perverted the path!
Perversion and corruption became inevitable when we tried to superimpose a system of government cultures, spheres and nations whose ways are entirely different from ours. It’s a classic case of trying to force a square peg into a round hole- it will definitely make an awkward fit. That is exactly what Nigeria has turned out to be: an awkward fit, a parody of true democracy. Why can’t our own definition of democracy be something very original, a statement of a truth and resolve that resonates with the core essence of our nation as a people of great diversity but with an even greater determination to integrate our myriad heritages into an all encompassing, beautifully woven tapestry of unity, peace and harmony? With this kind of framework in place, what’s to stop our development as a true and triumphant civilization of a people who are confident of their identity and assured of their global relevance. We have been told a lie and we believed them; we have been living a lie all along and we have not been attracted enough to the truth to ask questions…
Fellow citizens, in the spirit of the season, I implore us to have a rethink of what it truly means to be a nation. Is it the geography or the resources or the bliss of having a people defined by their natural roots and undefiled by the lies of rapists and charlatans who are bent on seeing her remaining bent?
As for me, I dare to defy the overlords who are trying to (and unfortunately succeeding at) create the impression that their definition is total and absolute, written in stone and to be irrevocably received by the ‘uninitiated’ folks. I dare to define democracy as a platform of egalitarianism and harmony that a people irrespective of their distance, differences or diversity agree upon to build a nation, where they live to love and make the best and most widely beneficial use of their God – given resources. Wherein governance will not be to rule but to selflessly and lovingly administer service with simplicity and ingenuity, not looking without for what has always been within, a leadership committed to making us grow into what God made us to be and not what someone tries to make us believe…
As I stated in the opening paragraph, a lot of people have mixed feelings about Nigeria… I do too. However, the greatest component of the mix is HOPE. I dare to hope for a better Nigeria. I not only hope but I also work towards it. Eventually, we will, if not us, our offspring will see the fruit of our labour…
A blissful Nigeria is possible; it begins with me, it begins with you…

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I'm Christiana Oni (Sanchez May), a writer, lover, friend & teacher. Anything that comes in chocolate form is definitely my favorite.

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