VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA: Africa, Nigeria: Youths Involvement in Exposing and Subduing Democratic Tyranny ~ F. Elegbede


"The man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free."

-F.A. "Baldy" Harper


An important step towards defeating tyranny lies in understanding tyranny and its accompanying elements. This step is clearly easier when dealing with a tyrannical dictator or authoritarian whose everyday direct actions depict a one man show, in the form of the leader.

However, when the process of identifying tyranny becomes a mirage in confusing or disguising shadows, the process of defeating such becomes complicated, and may eventually take a longer time to achieve. And as an added advantage to the people, a circumstance of this nature, when defeated, creates a more learned, wiser, and an easily-triggered populace.

Two North African instances come readily to mind starting with the latter of the two circumstances. Egypt’s ex-leader, Hosni Mubarak was long accommodated as a result of the fact that the elements of tyranny in his governance were well disguised as in favor of the goodwill of the people. He didn’t come all out as a tyrant, but when the people eventually came to the realization of his tyranny, the revolution was embarked upon and of course, it took some time for the people to eventually revolt against his tyranny, and for representative governance.

In a relative spate of events that follow, and guided by the learnedness, wisdom and trigger-fragility nature of the people, a potential tyrannical government showcased in President Morsi and his attempt to over-empower himself above the State was instantly rejected, and is still being rejected. Chances are President Morsi might make a history as Africa’s first ‘democratic’ dictator to be cut short in the prime of his reign. The people as said are wiser, and tyranny in this case was immediately detected.

In Nigeria however, tyranny was not only successful disguised, but also effectively (to the tyrant’s absurd merit) inflicted upon the people through immeasurable pain, deaths and extreme poverty.

The Nigerian situation appropriately unveils the loopholes derivable in a democratic society through activities that could be best described as “democratic tyranny.”

If the institutional failure and administrative negligence orchestrated by the government had been identified in single party democratic states like China, the one-party nature of the State will be promptly fingered as the causative issue.  But when such democratic tyranny in a country that transferred power in an acclaimed ‘free and fair’ electoral process, with a United States modeled parliamentary system of government, and reputed giant of a continent, then the solution has gone beyond searching for causes.

Nigeria and Nigerians are constantly being looted of their finances, resources, properties and lives, only now by a government demonstrating an improved and strategic form of tyranny that defies the ordinary definition of tyranny.

The two major arms of conducting checks and balances were well crippled in a highly sophisticated tyrannical style of governance since the advent of democratic governance.

The lawmakers were stuffed with so much financial remunerations that the lawmakers themselves found it difficult to justify how deservedly these compensations are. Likewise, the judiciary was pocketed through direct overseeing by Government Ministries which conducted and endorsed top judicial appointments and was also responsible to the corresponding ministries as well as its attendant activities such as calls to Bar.

 Policing remains firmly under the central government’s control and was juiced up with a surprise increase in pay while calls for State policing have continually been ignored. National students’ groups became another government mouthpiece and bright youths were randomly being handpicked for political positions. The media and civil society, two powerful and influential institutions are divisive between government allies, opposition, and the unaffiliated.


Corruption within political elites and government cronies resumed record-breaking heights in trillions of Naira, while insecurity, despite its alarming rate, does not feature in the government’s priorities as much as a couple billion Naira party edifice for the political goons.

Like in most revolts, a first attempt and arguably the biggest civil unrest in Nigeria’s democratic history endured its fair share of lost lives and properties. However, these seem to have been a vain effort as representative governance and corruption only grew worse. Since then, many more have died from national insecurity.

The media is taking a refreshing turn at challenging the inept government. A recently spearheaded effort by a mainstream print media, without doubts will be hoping for proactive and pragmatic backup from the civil society.

However, for a definite balance of result and applied efforts, a good amount of intellectual education should be inevitably considered. The youths, most of who gave meaning and sharpness to earlier protests should be much more educated about the issues surrounding governance, and most importantly, the design of outcome to look out for in the aftermath of defeating tyranny. This responsibility falls on the laps of the civil society by transforming into a breeding platform of knowledgeable youths in the country.

The civil society should open its doors across the country to a costless education on governance and leadership training for the youths as an investment toward the desired type of change in the country, and most importantly, to ensure a defeat to the present democratic tyranny ravaging the country.

Affiliation with society-interested media as well as the utilization of the mass media will help in disseminating information to youths across the country regarding regional host civil society organizations for these trainings while resourceful, experienced speakers within the civil-society movement should be reckoned with.

In my understanding, the recently released brilliant documentary “Fueling Poverty”is a rich resource in educating the Nigerian populace about the cruelty of the current administration. While the ordinary disaffected youth might get enraged in the proceed of seeing the documentary, a civil-society hosted governance training will help channel the rage into an active, positive participation in ensuring the realization of representative-governance and the defeat of democratic tyranny. This defeat WILL come either as an outright non-violent revolt, or through the polls. However, much is yet to be seen if the people of Nigeria will be able to withstand the current groaning until 2015.

Only TIME, will TELL!

Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede is a regular contributorto the VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA Project of the African Liberty

Fiyinfoluwa does not mince words in his description of the democratic reality in Nigeria