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DEMOCRACY — I HAD A DREAM! – Will Third World Nations overtake the Western World?

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DREAMS: The father of modern psychoanalysis and an Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, described dreams as ‘’the royal road to the unconscious.” Freud, one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the 20th century, submitted that dreams are ‘’visions or portents of what the future might hold’’. In modern times, his postulation considers dreams as a window into the unconscious mind.’’ There are precognitive dreams; just as there are prophetic dreams.  Scientists have proven that everyone dreams during sleep, but not everyone is able to recall the mental adventure. One of the most popular never to be forgotten dreams that projected into the future was the one titled: ‘’I HAVE A DREAM’ a very popular public speech delivered by American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for jobs and freedom for black people on August 28, 1963. That very patriotic dream was not sleep-induced,  but inspired by patriotism and human rights. And Martin Luther King’s name will forever be carved in gold. He was not rich, but left a legacy of honest intentions.

SIMILARITY – MARTIN LUTHER KING Jnr & MY OWN DREAM: Martin Luther King’s dream could be somehow literally infectious, because it had to do with improvements in the lives of the ordinary people.  Generally, circumstances and political culture give people with brilliant ideas to govern or misgovern. The Holy Bible says: ‘’With God, nothing shall be impossible’’ and ‘’nothing happens without the knowledge of God’’. These are potent reasons why the last few decades have witnessed the seemingly impossible in ecclesiastic circles.  Andrew Rice, an American writer remarked a few years ago that:‘’ The missionary movements of the 19th century inspired pious adventurers to travel to Africa and spread, in the famous formulation of David Livingstone, “civilization, commerce, and Christianity. ‘’Today the process is reversing itself, as the population of church goers dwindles in Europe, remains fairly static in the United States and erupts in the “global south” — a geopolitical term that encompasses Africa, Latin America and much of Asia”.  Elsewhere, in a book titled “The Next Christendom,” Philip Jenkins, an American religious scholar predicted what is known as ‘’reverse evangelism’’ and asserted that “the global south would eventually come to represent Christianity’s centre of gravity‘’ He had been proved right with preachers of the gospel from Africa now teaching the West Christianity.

WILL AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY BE TROUBLED? The foregoing is the catalyst for this treatise. In the United States, the world’s foremost democracy, the unthinkable is happening. In the past few weeks, apprehensive commentators have wondered in President Donald Trump would quit at the expiration of his tenure. This follows a body language that suggests Trump’s unwillingness to quit on account of his allegations that the next Presidential elections would be compromised. A very powerful editorial published by the New York Times titled: ‘Trump, Please Quit Before You’re Fired’ pointed out, among others that: ‘’Delaying the Nov. 3 election is not only illegal, it would be unprecedented. Lincoln held the regular election during the Civil War, and Franklin Roosevelt faced voters on time during World War II’’ The newspaper concluded that: ‘’. If Trump refuses to leave on January 20, 2021, ‘’this weary nation would be rewarded with a presidential perp walk, as Trump is escorted out of the White House and into infamy by the military police’’

PUBLIC OPINION: Another tabloid, UnHerd in its report aggregates opinions and submitted that: ‘’The conclusion reached by all these disparate folk, from liberal Democrats, through ‘never Trump’ Republicans, into the base itself, is that Donald Trump is going to fight a dirty election, perhaps even contest the result, but eventually lose and lose big.’’  Events over time have proven that elections in the United States could be enmeshed in controversies. It is patently clearer that those who govern all over the world are the same in terms of wielding power and having mixed feelings about quitting office. A foremost Nigerian statesman, Obafemi Awolowo in his convocation address at the University of Ife submitted that:  “Power enslaves: absolute power enslaves absolutely. I have made a diligent search through history, and I have not come across a single instance where a regime, be it military or civilian, which has come to power at its own will and has wielded that power for many years, has found it easy to extricate itself from the sweet uses and shackles of power, and then hand it to others outside its own hierarchy. It is possible, quite possible, that my search is not exhaustive and so, I stand to be corrected.”

 AMERICA –A BASTION OF DEMOCRACY Globally, decent political leadership emphasizes respect for the rule of law, discipline, viable political visions, and the sustenance of sanity in the polity. United States democratic dispensations that draw legitimacy from the support of the generality of the masses, that demand at all times respect the principles of accountability, probity, integrity, and transparency. All these factors encourage the citizenry to hold the government accountable to the people. Democracy is the fulcrum upon which the fulfillment of collective aspirations of Americans rests. The convention in the United States is that if a President fails, it is the entire American populace that fails. This is why the citizenry always rise up against poor leadership, poor political culture and pattern of governance, ignorance, and lack of commitment to set goals and aspirations, as well as insensitivity to the feelings of the masses.

PATRIOTISM IN AMERICA:  Accountability and transparency just didn’t arise suddenly. It is all about coordinating the personal interests of leaders for the common good of all. And it is for this salient reason that Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States who holds the record of becoming the youngest U.S president at the age of 42 years argued that: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” Buttressing this point, Kofi Annan, in his valedictory speech delivered at the Truman Presidential library asserted that:  “The U.S. has given the world an example of a democracy in which everyone, including the most powerful, is subject to legal restraint. ‘’Its current moment of world supremacy gives it a priceless opportunity to entrench the same principles at the global level.’’

MOUNTING CONCERNS What happens to democracy in Africa if tenure elongation happens in the United States that I usually refer to as ‘’the land of human rights?’’ What becomes of governance in the developing world if America is unable to conduct a fool-proof election? The above are good posers that warrant the focus of the whole that must be concerned about political developments in the United States, just like America shows concern about democracy and good governance in the developing world.  John Campbell, a former United States ambassador to Nigeria had in March 5, 2005, discussion paper (personal opinion) issued by the National Intelligence Council spoken of dire consequences for Nigeria’s democracy around 2015, given the level of heating up of the polity by politicians. It is possible that this alert held the nation back from retrogression.  Could the latest series of outbursts on rigging elections and attendant reactions not amount to heating up America’s political space?

 TENURE ELONGATION?   The last two general elections held in Nigeria attracted the concerns of Western powers — the United States and British governments threatened to deny visas and impose other penalties on anyone who attempts to encourage or use violence to influence Nigeria’s elections. In separate statements from their embassies in Abuja, both nations expressed strong support for free, fair, and peaceful elections in Nigeria. The statements declared that Nigerians should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity. The Washington Posts in a July 22 report noted that President Donald Trump had continued to assault the integrity of election results before the polls: ‘’With less than four months before the election, Trump’s escalating attacks on the security of mail-in ballots and his refusal again this week to reassure the country that he would abide by the voters’ will have added urgency to long-simmering concerns among scholars and his critics about the lengths he could go to hold on to power.’’

MEDIATION Rtd Gen (Dr) Yakubu Gowon, Rtd. Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah and Prof, Ibrahim Gambari featured prominently as the principal figures in the PEACE ACCORDS  signed by political leaders in 2015 & 2019, when the committee safeguarded democracy in the country, by extracting commitments from political leaders. Kofi Annan too waded in to ensure that conflagration never enveloped the nation. This factor and some quiet behind-the-scene move largely contributed to the peaceful transition that we witnessed. It equally extracted from politicians, commitment to the public good, and their willingness to ensure that Nigeria lives before, during and after the elections. The PEACE ACCORDS never really had a legal force. However, it had moral and persuasive effects, strong enough to mitigate possible disasters that could be provoked by the age-long culture of negative reactions to elections.

WHICH WAY FORWARD   God has made it possible for reverse evangelism to be recorded with Nigeria now exporting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to advanced nations. Nigeria usually hosted U.S Secretaries of State a few days to elections conveying messages while embassies issue veiled threats of withdrawal of travelling visas from politicians who broke electoral rules.  Because the effect of a failed election in the United States means a lot to the whole world, particularly Nigeria and Africa, we could perhaps also send the opposite number of the United States Secretary of State, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to Nigerian President, Commander-in-Chief with the same type of messages conveyed by presidential emissaries from the U.S whenever elections approached. Nigeria could also warn American politicians starting from President Trump that Nigeria will withdraw her travelling visas from American politicians who foment trouble in the United States.

EXPORT NIGERIA’S PEACE COMMITTEE TO THE UNITED STATES Nigeria could then go a step further by ensuring that the two contestants – President Donald Trump and Vice-President Joe R. Biden Jnr sign PEACE ACCORDS and commitments not to misbehave before, during, and after the November Presidential poll in the United States. Nigeria could also export on loan to the United States, the Abdulsalami Abubakar Peace Committee to ensure that the election holds peacefully. This is the type of issue an adage describes as ‘’When a big problem floors a powerful personality, smaller problems will have the opportunity of riding on the powerful’’ Those suggestions are merely written to invite the attention of the United States to its role as the foremost democracy in the world that is copied by the developing world, particularly those that practice Federalism. America should continue to show the way for proper democratic conduct.

 

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT:  

United States is not Africa or any developing nation that could be ridden anyhow. Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate newspapers analyzes exactly what would happen should a defeated Donald Trump Refuse to quit the White House for the incoming President. Americans obey the Constitution to the letter, and institutions abide by the provisions of the Constitution rigidly.

‘’On the dot of noon, the nuclear codes, which currently allow Trump to order and authenticate a nuclear attack, expire. The officer who has been following him around everywhere with the “football”—which, contrary to popular belief, is not a button or a palm print but rather a book filled with various launch codes—leaves. If Trump and whatever lackeys stay with him prevent the officer from leaving, another officer, holding a backup football, would join Joe Biden at the inauguration ceremony. By the same token, the entire U.S. military establishment will pivot away from ex-President Trump and salute President Biden.’’

It continues: ‘’The principle of civilian control is hammered into American officers from the time they’re cadets—and the 20th Amendment of the Constitution states, “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January”—no ifs, ands, or buts. If Trump orders the military to do anything, they will refuse his order. If any officers obey his order—say, to circle the White House to keep him in power—they would certainly be tried and convicted on charges of mutiny and sedition and they would know this before taking the leap. Meanwhile, the Secret Service will abandon Trump, as they do every president whose term is up, except for a small detail assigned to protect him and his family for the rest of their lives.

Overseas, foreign leaders will cut off relations with the U.S. ambassadors in their capitals and await instructions from Biden or his acting secretary of state. Meanwhile, Biden’s acting attorney general will have drawn up arrest warrants for Donald J. Trump and anyone who remains at his side on charges—at minimum—of criminal trespassing.  If Trump calls on the armed forces or militias or the nation’s sheriffs to come to defend him, he might also be charged with incitement or insurrection.’’

GIVEN the way and manner the United States that is the world’s foremost democracy operates and its rigidity in following the constitution and upholding human rights, either Trump or Biden will emerge November 3, 2020. And my dream that the US Constitution and the people’s desires will prevail will come true. It is either continuity by Donald Trump or another US President Joe Biden comes into the White House January 20, 2021. America is too sophisticated for any pranks.

God bless the United States of America.