Sunday, April 22, 2007

Olusegun Obasanjo out...

Update 24/04/07: No real big surprise that the Nigerian election was marred in controversy: "Turnout was low. The government and the electoral commission say it was a success, but there has been a barrage of criticism. The opposition says it was a charade. So too do Nigerian and international election observers."
This weekend Nigeria will see a new President. Like many blossoming democracies, once someone gets power they seem to think they should keep it, no matter what; in Nigeria the people thought differently and their struggle [against a bid by Mr Obasanjo to have the nation's constitution amended to extend his tenure] taught Nigerians the important lesson that democracy would survive only if they applied themselves to protecting and nurturing it…

A few reminders, choice quotes from the BBC [link] of what these people went through to vote: There were a number of killings, thefts of ballot boxes and an attempt to blow up the election headquarters; a number of policeman were killed while escorting election officials with the papers. Four people were killed in clashes...after only half the voting papers arrived; men armed with cutlasses and guns stole ballot boxes; in the south-west, men disguised as policemen abducted election officials.

It seems most elections we read about these days are marred by some violence or other, yet in 'civilised' countries apathy reigns.

The value of a vote...Alcuin ( writes from his blog Whatever ( The Truth, posted March 4th) that:
That's right, we are all responsible for accepting the shittiness of life as inevitable.We don't vote... or if we do, we're more likely to vote for a contestant on a reality TV show than we are to vote for those who will decide how our lives will be lived.
Alcuin isn't wrong. It reminds me of something I read very recently, although its origin is disputed [Link] and has become one of those 'urban myths' from email spam. It goes that "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government... The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence"...
From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependence back into bondage
Now in this case the 200 year point indicates this was surely written about the USA and their young democracy but it also suggests to me that the UK is most definitely in the 'apathy to dependance' phase or at the very best, just leaving the complacency to apathy phase. Of course even when we vote it can be ignored, as in the case of the EU Constitution:
"Europe's elites, however, immediately made clear that the project remained on course. "The French and Dutch did not really vote 'No' to the European constitution,"
This, or course, is where apathy leads and the aforementioned Constitution may now be forced on the UK via 'the back door'...but that's another story.


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