Democracy is simply the best form for all kinds of conflict resolution, as it adequately provides mechanism for consensus building as well as healthy rivalry for the triumph of the position of the majority. Burdened with the hangover of hundreds of years of monarchy, colonialism and brutal military dictatorship, the common people and the elites have a penchant for dictatorship, strong-arm tactics and even naked use of force in resolving social issues. Many in positions of authorities (within the family, association, clubs, societies, schools, trade institutions, government, etc) are disposed to lording it over the majority and having their way without recourse to debates, consultations, negotiations or voting.
Every faith needs strong and committed disciples and we are right now at a critical time when all those who genuinely believe in Democracy must come together across all divides, political, religious, ethnic and so on, to work fervently towards building acceptance of democracy (democratic consciousness) and commitment to it in the minds of majority in our society. Already, there exists a platform for inter-party cooperation in Nigeria – the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP). One of its many objectives, ordinarily, should be to work for everything that promotes and protects democracy and its institutions as well as work against all forces and dictatorial processes that undermine democracy, irrespective of party affiliations.
It is high time politically active citizens across the country, especially the youths, came together as non-partisan Sentinels of Democracy, irrespective of their affiliations. There are 774 local government areas in Nigeria and the journey to 774 begins with 1. One single individual in one local government area, who is deeply committed to democratic ideal is sufficient to start a movement that might save the democratic day in a Nigeria which today is confronted with telling challenges not only to democracy but its survival, on account of deep-seated, consuming crises everywhere – the economy, polity, security, etc, on account of the activities of anti-democratic forces everywhere you look.
Every structure of society and all humans within it exist in the mentioned 774 local government areas – the market, the palaces, the worship centres, military bases, universities etc are all situated in one or the other local government area.
The duty of committed defenders of democracy, when they find and assemble themselves, is to clarify their ideas and firm up their methods, and reach out to all well-meaning citizens within their LGAs as to convince them not only to buy into and adopt the democratic ideals but be as well committed to defending it at all times, across every divide. We need democracy first before there can be either politics or democratic government.
To appreciate what happens when democracy is pulled down by cumulative anti-democratic actions, policies and forces, all you need do is Google and study SYRIA. There are many more such examples, where devotees of the democratic ideals slept off or lost track and are sucked into the cesspool as the country slides off into anarchy, and untold loses in human and material terms. To recover, even into the former poor and sorry state of things will take survivors decades of rebuilding, if not hundreds of years! The solution to bad democratic government is not “End-Government,” or “No Government!”
It is said that the best time to grow a tree was 20 years ago but the next best time to do it is today! “Time is always right to do the right thing,” said Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, and there is no better time for every believer that is committed to democracy to come together than NOW. The task at hand is clear: there must be democracy first before there can be any political ambition – protecting democracy from dying in the hands of bad governance and anti-democratic forces are a primal, more urgent and noble devotion.