We have been looking for true dividends of democracy in this country without success as it is evident in our continual failure to have a rancour- free campaign each time we set about towards general election. It is also curious how history often repeats itself ,reminding us of the sad fact of how we always fail to learn from the rich lessons history often offers. Each time we set about towards general election,
I am often reminded of our arbitrariness to issues that touch our life as a nation where-in we do equate dividends of democracy to mean building of overhead bridges or granting of stomach infrastructure rather than seeing it in the light of the true attitude of a Shepherd (herder ) to his sheep in which he leaves ninety nine in search of one that is lost, leaving us with the political lesson of a “no winner- take-all attitude to the entire population of voters . Etymologically, a Shepherd or herder has ceased to become a true Shepherd or herder the moment one sheep is lost or cannot be accounted for in the fold as the word ” herd” means a group of cattle or sheep COUNTED together or feeding together COLLECTIVELY.
This is why Jesus Christ as a true Shepherd, would leave ninety sheep in search of one that is lost,hence angels in heaven would themselves show greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than in thousands of righteous ones. This is the true meaning of dividend which , being a share of interest or profit belonging to all shareholders ,is shared in the same proportion to the whole; leaving none as victor or the other as vanquished. This ought to be the attitude of our politicians to politics where-in the winner is magnanimous in victory while the loser is resolute (in his constructive criticism and credible opposition ) even in defeat.
It is no dividend of democracy when our attitude to election is a do-or-die posture ,even as almost twenty years after we have recorded unbroken civil rule in our democratic set-up,we are still policing our polling booths with armed soldiers who are empowered to browbeat the electorate and possibly shoot at sight at the slightest provocation in the name of breaking heads to ensure that ” vote counts”.One of our presidential candidates who has imbibed the positive disposition to dividends of democracy in this country however is Usman Ibrahim Alhaji NRM ( National Rescue Movement).
He hails from Kebbi State but declared his presidential ambition in the south western part of the country, notably in Osun State, paying bridge-building tours to traditional institutions and convening intellectual summit in which he saddled linguists and other experts with the task of exploring areas of our common values in Nigeria while promising (if he wins) to convene a summit in which Nigerians would forgive their past and bring about true reconciliation that would give Filip and true meaning to our cosmetic “no victor, no vanquished ” post Biafra Nigerian civil war dictum.
This is a youth ambassador to whom Presidency is never a ” do-or-die affair, tempering all his campaigns with civility even in the face of unprovoked animosity from different quarters and slicing through arch jealousy particularly from those he had built at the period NRM was at its teething stage. Usman is no doubt a youth ambassador and an Apostle of true dividends of democracy needed at a time like this but unfortunately his voice is not heard loud enough.
To him presidency is not for a moment in which politicians invest on temporary values but a movement ( reminiscent of idera-de movement of Dr Akin Ogunbiyi fame ) which is an equation for all time. According to the great lexicographer: “He who lays his labour on temporary value easily finds customers but Quickly loses them but he who invests his labour on people of permanent value would find true disciples for movement that outlives this moment.