Home Articles BUILDING A VIRILE POLITY;  THE ROLE OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY &...

BUILDING A VIRILE POLITY;  THE ROLE OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY & THE PRESS

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  There is an urgent and critical need for the civil society and pressure groups to address the disturbing trend of ‘’cash and carry’’ democracy that is fast becoming the trend in our society. It is very distressing, especially considering the norm of precedents that usually form the basis of human actions. A few analogies would be useful here. Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria’s former Minister of External Affairs; later United Nations Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs in a speech in his active UN days, while calling for an attitudinal change on the part of Africa’s leaders stated that ‘’the perpetrators of vices such as poor governance, corruption, impunity, and lack of transparency would not easily give up the privileges accruing to their practices. ‘’What needs to be done, therefore, is for innocent people of poor governance culture to demand for peaceful changes and the termination of politics of exclusion that lead to acute crises and conflicts.’’ An examination of the role of the civil populace would regrettably reveal that all Africans have been integral parts of the problems of lack-luster performances in governance. The story of the political development of the continent is a mixed grill of paradox – hardship and ease, regrets, sadness and joy. A greater percentage of Africans are docile when it comes to fighting for their rights. The most plausible reasons for this development are lack of awareness, poverty, low level of education, and the absence of enough active groups on the political space to engineer the electorate and the citizenry on their rights and how to demand for them. Regrettably, the elites have constantly taken advantage of the situations highlighted above to weaken the morale of the civil populace who should ideally call their representatives in government to order. It is regrettable that some actions of the government and the governed have led to dislocation of the agenda of the polity on many occasions. For instance, electoral contests have torn nations apart and have resulted into civil wars in several African nations. If the truth must be told, we have indeed gotten to a crossroads in the arena of political transition with the relative ease by which all political parties now perfect the art of rigging or winning elections at all costs. Values, principles and goals of the electorate are now different from those that have historically shaped electoral decision making from the ward to…

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