Monarchy, Dynasty and Anarchy in Nigeria’s Democracy


By Sanusi Muhammad

In ancient times, monarchs constituted the major plank in public administration, preservation of traditional institutions and governance. Monarchy was mainly the exclusive preserve of men except in few cases. It was unusual for the women folk to rule in most African communities even though a considerable number of them were influential in the administration of smaller communities but such influence, including that of the monarchs, was whittled down with the subscription to modern day democracy.

Despite that, monarchs are still held in high esteem and regarded as custodians of tradition, norms and cultures of the people. This enviable status places a lot of burden on their shoulders; they are in most cases held responsible for the fortune and/misfortune that befalls their areas of authority.

Whereas a monarch aspires to the exalted throne of his kingdom or domain for life, instances abound when such lifetime intention was challenged or nipped in the bud by society or government. In Oyo kingdom, for instance, the people introduced a water-tight arrangement aimed at discouraging an Alafin (paramount ruler) from becoming tyrannical; such an Alafin is usually presented with a calabash, a clear message that he no longer enjoys the support of the subjects and must instantly commit suicide for immediate replacement. That was the fate that befell Alafin Aole.

On softer ground, a number of monarchs were or could be banished or sent on exile, depending on the gravity of offence and level of resistance. A Sultan of Sokoto, Emirs of Bauchi, Kano, Muri, Akko, Pindiga, Demsa, Adamawa, Wase etc once suffered deposition and went on forced exile.

Similarly, the advent of democracy, military and another cycle of democratic governance have introduced new set of rulers whose areas of authority go beyond a particular community of monarchs, to local, state and times, federal government levels in that hierarchical manner. Nigerians have through a number of these rulers been ruled and oftentimes misruled. A number of modern day rulers whether or not they ruled or are ruling well also germinate in the spirit of always wanting relevance through recycling of selves in political terrain or positioning their children and blood relations for juicy appointments, thus, building a dynasty of rulers. Family dynasty is now all around to perpetuate their positions and end-up either being literally forced out through the ballot box, impeachment or, in several cases booted out with ignominy. The lust for power and greed in them makes such individuals overlook and underestimate the potency inherent in democracy thriving only on tenures as enshrined in the constitution of the country. One could be very good or damn bad, democracy still emphasizes terms of governance on the principle of tenure(s) one can serve but which in most cases an average ruler would want to extend till such a time he is ruptured.

To further perpetuate and penetrate this inkling for power, many previous rulers strives for relevance through recycling of selves in political terrain or positioning their children and blood relations for juicy appointments, thus, building a dynasty of rulers. Family dynasty is now all around us as we have in Nigeria of today, like father-like-son or daughter, or like husband-and-wives in Nigeria’s corridors of power. This attitude, many Nigerians now support or detest depending on the side of the divide one is fortunate or unfortunate to belong. The calls for revolution from several quarters are mainly because of the general misrule so glaring by many of these individuals who rather than be leaders, prefer to be mere rulers with booties of office as evidence of power over and above the generality of their subjects, including the son of man, who is yours sincerely.

Except in self-deceit, there seem to be signals of anarchy in Nigeria’s revolutionary trend (change). The labour of heroes past seems currently in vain just as our living elder statesmen could no longer fathom why the Nigerian society has so degenerated in almost every stratum. The Nigerian youths claim the old schools must be blamed just as elders think the youths are wrong in their thinking and how they seem to be destroying their tomorrow, thus burning their future even now. The tenets of national consciousness and patriotic ideals for virile nation have caved in to tribal, ethnic, zonal, regional, religious and sectarian consciousness and inclinations of fundamentalism, fascism and terrorism.

Nigerians are longer Nigerian in outlook but all valves of salvation are looked at from the perspective of European, American, Arab and Asian outlooks. Nigeria’s destiny, fortune and misfortune are now directed and determined in whims and caprices of foreigners and their diabolic, fiendish interests cosmetized in one aid, support or the other. We have to be careful the ways we are treading and minimizing our destiny as Nigerians when indeed the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. We have to be mindful the way we are daily pumping poverty of ideas about nation-building into the psyche of average Nigerians and the manner at which brigade of jobless youths are made to be strewn in nooks and crannies of the Nigerian “nation”, if only it’s one for now.

As Jawaharlal Nehru of India once observed: ‘I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses satisfied to live on hunger, filth and ignorance’.

Nigeria needs to create a vision, philosophy and true ideal to nation-building lest our so called revolutionary trend (change) sets the fire of anarchy and uncontrollable bloodbath the way things seem to be heading, most especially during the inept leadership of Jonathan who misused power and vacated the scene disgracefully. Nigeria, in the depiction of Kenneth Idiodi, a Rosicrucian sage, ‘is a country where the best is difficult to attain, but the worst never happens.’

But in truth, ”should we overstretch the kindness, mercy and favour bestowed on us by our Creator?” It is a truism that you may aid a man, you may guide him, and above all, you may inspire him. However, the only thing that is worth having is what a person gets by his own exertion. This complements what President Muhammadu Buhari of today and his former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, late General Suleiman Babatunde Idiagbon, once served as admonition to Nigerians in the advice they gave that ‘The present generation of Nigerians, including the upcoming ones, have no other place to call their home. Nigeria belongs to all and we must all remain here to salvage it together’. And yours sincerely concurs. Do you?

On a final note, penultimate Wednesday, there was a national drama series that emanated from the hallowed chambers of the House of Representatives. The tenure of its Appropriation Committee chairman, Abdulmumini Jibrin, was terminated for ‘gross’ misconduct. He foolishly, sorry, wisely, shortchanged his other colleagues to insert constituency projects worth N4.3 billion beneficial to his Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency. His removal offended his patience and he went to town wild beating the drums of ‘war’ against the man that had favoured him with the juicy office he was sacked.

As he drowns to the bottom pit of hell, he resorted to fruitless blackmail and character assassination of his legislative leaders. He lost memory and exhibited a high sense of irresponsibility typical of a wounded lion in a hunter’s trap. But let us forget his body language and appreciate his feelings. He was booted out unceremoniously, confined to the back seat and made to look like a talking owl. Jibrin had no option than to rope the innocent for ‘mass’ burial. He hates to die alone and buried unceremoniously like a wild vulture. But let him regain his memory as an honourable member to gather the strength and courage of carrying his cross alone and to allow the innocent enjoy their peace.

Jibrin is confused with the seriousness of his case waiting for answer. Running from pillar to post in search of rescue does him no good. The sooner he accepts his crime, the better for the remains of his integrity and the good for the House of Representatives. But definitely, Jibrin is in a big smelly shit. Perhaps he was carried away by youthful exuberance and the love he has for the Kannywood industry where he possibly hopes to be after his tenure.


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