Home Articles WE THE PEOPLE …..HOW THE CITIZENRY SHOULD TAKE GOVERNMENTS TO TASK

WE THE PEOPLE …..HOW THE CITIZENRY SHOULD TAKE GOVERNMENTS TO TASK

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In America, the people are the master whose exigencies demand obedience to the utmost limits of possibility…..Yet, without power and independence, a town (or local government) may contain good subjects, but it can have no active citizens’. Prof. Akin Mabogunje The government and the governed are in a sort of sacrosanct contract. The Terms are defined the the constitution of any defined society. What should be the ideal relationship between a Government and the citizenry? This question is deeply examined in the text of a Special Lecture to mark the Fourth Splash F.M. Anniversary and Chief Adebayo Akande’s 72nd Birthday delivered at Adeline Hall, Lead-City University Ibadan, Ibadan on Friday, July 8, 2011. It is being reproduced in part in public interest and to create awareness. Democratization, I suggest, is the process of fostering and enhancing democracy or democratic culture among a people or in a nation.  At a very simplistic level, it can be understood as entailing no more than holding periodic elections to choose or determine the leaders and representatives of a people.  It could even be extended to include holding such elections in the context of a multi-party system of government.  However, a more serious examination of the concept of democratization emphasizes that it is truly a way of life, a culture or an all-pervasive system of organizing the affairs of any society that ensures an all-inclusive mobilization of its members in the operations of all of its activities. This is why TonnyGitonga, a Kenyan scholar of democracy, in his 1987 publication titled: “The Meaning and Foundations of Democracy” emphasized that democracy is about people ruling themselves, ordering, organizing and managing their own affairs in freedom.  Or, in the celebrated words of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people.  However, Gitonga went on to stress that to truly appreciate the nature of democracy, we must conceive of it as operating at three levels of social existence of a people.  These levels he referred to as the infrastructural level, the structural level and the super-structural level. In governance terms, therefore, democracy is not just about how representatives are chosen which we have just done in Nigeria.  More importantly, it is about how the citizens are regarded in the decision-making process – whether they are believed to be individually the equal of those making decisions and have the freedom to accept or…

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