By Adnan Abdullahi Adam
Unarguably, America is seen as the sole guardian of world democracy. But the recent event questions the status quo. It is unimaginable Americans will storm Capitol Hill building with sheer violence, causing disruption of the house of Congress’ special session. This display of chaotic behavior by Americans has shown a disgraceful scene that took the rest of the world by surprise. Because it is an ugly scenario which mostly defined democracy in Africa that evens some Nigerian citizens responded by saying,” if this happens in America, why not in our country?”
They said, “when America sneezes, the rest of world the catches the cold”. It quite clear, the US is the most superior advanced nation on earth in terms of modern civilization. It superseded any other country in terms military power, technology, media, science, economy etc. inevitably, whatever happens in the US most resonates across the world and be worthy of news headlines. But that chaotic scenario has debased American standing to the rank of “Banana Republic”.
It is one of the darkest moments for American democracy that has taken a wrong turn. Supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump forced their way into house of Congress, which held special session to recount the votes in order to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. Viral videos and Images of unruly Trump supporters storming Capitol Hill overrunning security guards and desecrating every section of the building have captured imagination of the world. But behind all this, lies a very critical question, is the American democracy is flawed or it is with the president voted into power through the system?
Pope Francis once delivered sermons that warn people to avoid voting populist politicians in to power; those politicians claiming to be representing opinions and wishes of ordinary people, reminding us even Adolf Hitler was elected by people’s votes. Therefore, the recent event in the US underscores the end result of citizens voting irrational men to lead affairs of their country through the system of democracy. In effect, it is disheartening how president Trump has deepened American racial divisions by inciting whites’ supremacist to lead insurrection against the system of American establishment.
The frantic attempt by Donald Trump to discredit the very electoral system that brought him into power by refusing to concede defeat and to congratulate the president-elect Mr. Joe Biden, citing massive rigging and irregularities; even without producing convincing evidence, is a great public show of absurdity by illogical man unfit to lead the affair of the United States, former Hollywood film star and governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called him he is “a failed leader”.
Ranting, cursing and ravings featured in most of Trump public speeches, Trump proves to the world that he is not charismatic gentleman worthy of commanding respect of all Americans and the world; he gains his popularity cheaply through spreading hate speeches and unguided utterance against Blacks and Latino communities. Without experience of holding public office, he is an audacious abusive racist aiding the spread of racial divisions thereby fanning the ember of racial conflict during his four year term in the Oval office.
Though he was voted out of office as Professor Wole Soyinka described it, ‘Americans have redeemed themselves from the error they committed’. Trump stained his presidency along with his political career by crossing the red line. Apparently, the climax series of events has turned the tide against him. Five people and a police officer died as result of his incitement of sedition and insurrection and the Congress is preparing impeachment proceedings even before the 20th January, 2021 the inauguration date. While many charges await him, that might land him in prison, suddenly, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter announced indefinite suspension of his social media accounts for violating the rules of inciting his supporters to violence and sedition.
In Nigerian, like many African states people are being instigated to vote with prejudices and emotions rather than with their own logical reasoning. Demagogue politicians with unrealistic campaign promises are being elected in to power like Donald Trump with his racist chant of” build the wall”. These politicians capitalize on fear and emotion of ordinary person on the street to gain popular supports; they becloud him with irrational ideologies to see the truth. They cause incitement by invoking petty divisions among the citizenry, be it religious, tribal, regional and ethnic differences.
For us in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa there are many lessons to learn about American democracy. Why politicians who clinched the power have grown up to be above the very system that paved the way to their position? Many politicians display dictatorship and implement policies that have no direct bearing to the very people they solicit their votes during election campaign. Why politicians monopolized the whole system as their own birth rights? Why they tent to bend every public institution for their own party affiliates and their sole political interest? It obvious Americans has shown to the world that no group or individual is above the system of their laws.
Upright citizens should not desert politics to be dominated by irrational, indecent and intellectually deficit individuals. It is known fact that political process in Nigeria is hugely populated with people lacking sense of direction, decency and intellectual capacity to lead and inspire followers. They are the one that have thrown the country into a ditch. It is hoped that the recent event will arouse people from slumber in order to reverse the outrageous trend to vote only reasonable candidates.
Nigerian citizens should be well-informed on basic tenets of democracy in order to vote wisely and also to avoid error of voting callous and vulgar politicians into office. They should be properly oriented to know in an ideal democratic system of government, power belongs to the people; they just bestowed it to their elective representatives to execute their wishes and aspirations on their behalf. Democracy is meant to serve the general wellbeing of the citizens regardless of their social standing, not just reserved for the interests of the elected privileged few.
Adam writes from Rangaza Quarters, Ungogo Kano