Today being 12th June 2019, Nigerians celebrate their democracy day. However, the question is this. Is it democracy or democrazy? Before I move or say anything, permit me to congratulate all Nigerians on their democracy’s day celebration.
The question ringing in my mind is this. Is it democracy or democrazy? What is democracy? Many people tend to talk about democracy without knowing its meaning, its origin, why it was named democracy, and what its basics are.
Democracy is termed as a system of government in which all qualified adult citizens share the supreme power directly or through their elected representatives. Abraham Lincoln (who is believed to be father of democracy) whose definition has become axiomatic defined democracy as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. The fusion of the two Greeks words DEMO (people) and KRATIA (rule or government) actually gave birth to the word “Democracy”. From the definition above, democracy is therefore seen as a system of government which allows the people to choose and reject their leaders and their programs when such are no longer serving the interest of the people. It is also a medium that permits freedom of speech and ideas.
One of the tools of democracy is “The Rule of Law” which is the absolute supremacy or predominance of law over everybody; both the rulers and the ruled and all the decision taken in a country. According to Prof. A.V Dicey a professor of English Law who developed and popularized the phrase “Rule of Law” in his book Titled “Introduction to the Law of the Constitution” published in 1885, “Those entrusted with the administration of a country should rule or exercise their authority in accordance with the established laws of the land; and such established laws should be regarded as supreme. In his views, all men are equal before the law of the land, he further said the law should not be bent to favor any person whether rich or poor, young or old, King or Servants, literate or illiterate etc. because the rule is no respecter of persons, hence the term “No one is above the law” and I maintain that line by quoting the popular Latin phrase “justitia nemini neganda est” when before court of law.
To have an effective democratic state, “Separation of Power” cannot be overlooked because this is the decision of governmental political powers that exist in any given state into three organs of the government to avoid contrition of power. French political thinker and jurist Baron de Montesquieu who developed and popularized the principle of separation of power in his book titled “ Espirit des lois” which means “the spirit of laws” published in 1748 maintained that if rights, liberty and freedom of citizens are to be maintained and guaranteed, then the three organs of government must be separated and entrusted to different people to administer, otherwise, there will be chaos, violence, dictatorship, tyranny and oppression.
Having outlined the above, from the definition to some tools that harnesses democracy can we truly say Nigeria is a democratic state? Is there truly freedom of speech? Is the rule of law maintained? Is there truly separation of power? We all know that when it comes to treatment of citizens in the court of law, there is always injustice most especially when it is between the rich and poor. Favoritism is the order of the day. What of separation of power? The Executives and legislators seem to assume more power than the judiciary but are we celebrating DEMOCRACY OR DEMOCRAZY???