The present-day political discourse and structure that we practice known as the presidential system copied in part from the United States of America seem to be at a crossroad. Attempts have been made a few times to rewrite the system, with so much acrimony. Such attempts were made by the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo and later by Goodluck Jonathan, the two most powerful and influential presidents knew that what we have is not working and decided to do something and I commend them.
During the term of President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was the attempt to insert a third term agenda that truncated what was to become a historical transformation. And during the term of President Goodluck Jonathan; it was the inability, the distrust, and not knowing how to manage our cultural religious difference, our diversity and political ideology that was not pronounced. The two attempts were dumped despite the huge cost to the nation and the hopes and aspiration of the people especially since the present constitution was becoming unworkable and unamendable. Our artificial geographical divide and self-imposed quota system and the issued derivation continued to make peace and unity of the nation a distant matter.
In a recent publication in this column a few weeks ago, I shared my worries and concerns about those elements that are causing a treat to global peace and by extension a threat to our nation’s peace. Though I started through climate change because of the extreme weather changes which I predicted 40 years ago, we are now seeing the lack of doing little or nothing. The result is that of migration and displacement of communities everywhere as a result of floods and desertification. We are also seeing the conflicts that have developed everywhere. The big nations are now talking of Armageddon so we the underdeveloped and smaller nation must re-examine what we copy and those we follow.
Sometime ago, I wrote about the parliamentary system of government which we inherited from our then colonial masters practiced and known all over the world as the government of the people, by the people and for the people referred to as today’s democracy. The system has remained with the people of British and British related former colonies for centuries. Some parts of the system have been modified and amended with growing times and in accordance with the aspiration of the people. United States of America for instance perceived to be the biggest democracy in the world simplifies the system because of their many nations in one country. Amendments have been made because of the simplicity of the constitution now known as the presidential system. The same can be said of the parliamentary system in India, some Caribbean countries and down under countries like Australia and New Zealand. Canada also practices this system despite her proximity to the USA.
These are not the only two types of government. Others include but are not limited to:
Autocracy: Autocracy is a system that is developed around a populist agenda, whereby a man or woman is perceived to be a born leader of integrity and able to carry with him or her most important people in the society including the military and the intellectuals.
In the past century, there have been products of Autocracy, the likes of Adolf Hitler of Germany, Mao Tse-tung the Ruler of Red China and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. There was also a relationship between Autocracy and Communism which later became unpopular because of the collapse of Soviet Union. There are still a few countries that are known to be Communist state like Cuba and North Korea but China today is a full Autocracy State.
Also in Autocracy, there are some nations that known to be practicing a bit of autocracy with a different name known as one party system. There is also the military system ruled by decree which has a bit of Autocracy and was practiced here in Nigeria for more than 33 years.
Religious monarchy: There are a few countries in the world that are governed by religious doctrines or law like the Islamic state of Iran, some Middle Eastern countries, the Golf states Saudi Arabia that has existed under Islamic monarchy for centuries with supreme leadership. Morocco and Jordan also practice a type of religious monarchy. The Vatican also a state of in a state practice religious monarchy and has been so for centuries. Interestingly enough Italy has just elected a far Right political party to govern the whole of Italy of course without the Vatican.
Political students like me will be studying the new Right wing political party of Italy and their relationship with the Vatican considering that most far right movements around the world are favoring Autocracy.
In conclusion, what is very intriguing about our nation Nigeria is that in our very short history, we have dabbled in and out of the parliamentary system, the military system which is like Autocracy, and we have also copied and now practice the presidential system of government. For me, trying everything and doing nothing of our own is partly responsible for the instability and recklessness with no going forward with nation building that has slowed us down and now resulting in a free-fall.
Therefore, when I hear and listen to politicians talk about dividends of democracy, I wonder who the investors are, who the shareholders are and who the managers and directors are? I wonder who the brands of politicians that are going to supervise and approve the dividends of the profits now known as the National Cake are.
Therefore, how can we be deliberating on how best to share the cake whilst eating it?
Here in our nation Nigeria, we did not experiment long enough with the parliamentary system of government before moving into the military system, therefore we as a nation but different people, different nationality must look back to how we governed ourselves before the British and before the 1969 general election. We must also carry out transparent research to determine the type of traditional system that was in place before the slave trade which partly altered the system, altered our way of thinking and our way of life. Therefore, the 1966 Coups were not against the parliamentary system that we inherited but against the different type of corruption that came with slave trade.