The democratic process of the Nigerian nation was premised on a faulty beginning, devoid of goals, vision, ethos and set of values to serve as moral anchor or compass for a meaningful direction, as obtained in other successful democracies of the world, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah has alleged.
Bishop Kukah made this assertion in his lecture titled: Nigeria: What time is It? While speaking as the Guest Speaker at the 10th Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Convocation Lecture, at the institution’s Campus in Igbariam, Anambra State, recently.
Premising his presentation on the importance of time as a means of evaluating every human activity and endevours in life, Bishop Kukah declared: “Time naturally means different things to different people. It generates different levels of adrenalin in each of us depending on the occasion.” Dwelling extensively on the philosophy of time, the bishop remarked: “I use the concept of time largely as a metaphor for defining both identity and vision”; adding: “Time is another word for the gift of life and investment.”
The Guest Lecturer used the concept of time to analyze the failure of the democratic process in Nigeria in comparison with the success of the American democratic process. He stated: “In the drama of life, each and everyone of us is allotted time, and our ability to make or not make any contribution in life depends on how we manage this gift, this investment. Every individual, every generation, every society must appreciate what time is, the challenges of the time, and figure out how to use it well.”
Going down memory lane on the democratic process of the United States of America in comparison with that of the Nigerian Nation, Bishop Kukah outlined the differences between the two countries and how positive use of time, ethos and values have made the difference; with America succeeding and Nigeria still parambulating in her sixty years as a sovereign nation. He also spoke on how Nigeria missed the road right from the beginning with the founding fathers’ concept.
His words: “We have come to refer to the first generation of the political class as founding fathers. I think, this reads too much into our history and the notion of founding fathers. In truth, can you find what was already there? You can only find something whose vision only you possess. The British had founded and named what would later become Nigeria, they designed a political, social and economic map for it.”
He continued: “What those we call the founding fathers sought to do, and did commendably, was to put pressure on the British to step aside and the British did that on their own terms. They were not conquered in a liberation war. Indeed, as we all know, there was even no agreement among the three ‘founding fathers’ as to when the British should depart.” He added: “The inability of these fathers to synchronize their clocks and agree on what time it was has haunted us and accounts for our seeming immobility.
Bishop Kukah also used several inferences of the country’s serrated political system, since Independence; to show that the confusion in the country’s democratic process, was as a result of this faulty misconception of the notion of founding fathers and absence of necessary ethos, values and lack of knowledge of what true democracy is, as a concept of service to the people by the country’s political leaders who have continued to exploit the people in all facets of life for their own personal benefits and interests.
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