Nigerian democracy: Between rule of law and will of man

Acting on his research result carried out to unravel why leaders make bad decisions, Sydney Finkelstein, a Steven Roth Professor of management at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, United States of America, underlined; the presence of inappropriate self-interest, distorting attachments and the presence of misleading memories act as factors/red flags that fuels deformed decisions.

Flawed decisions start with errors of judgment from individuals, he concluded.

Although corporate organisations were Finkelstein’s focal point in that research, one could not agree more that the fruit of his findings has since transcended to,/found a home in public office sphere particularly ours- where those underlined factors have become not just a challenge but a crisis…

Specifically, such acts on our political space essentially consist of the denial/non recognition of the supremacy of, and optional adherence to the nation’s1999 constitution (as amended) and its provisions such as the rule of law and the rights to a standard of living adequate for the health and the well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the rights to security.

And its ‘works/consequences principally manifest in actions such as; non consideration of human rights approach to governance that will guarantee education/infusion of human rights principle of participation, accountability, transparency and non-discrimination, as well as foster the attainment of equity and justice; politicisation of law enforcement in the country and perception of public office not as an opportunity for public good but as an avenue for private gains.

Standing as a telling example of a pragmatic demonstration of inappropriate self interest and distorting attachment is the recent decline of assent by Mr. President to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 (an amendment that would have given the Card Reader a legal backing), – forgetting that when an executive arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directive, he becomes a threat to the very structure he was elected/sworn to protect- the nation’s constitution.

In this article, it is pertinent to admit that leading person into the future, preparing others for what lies ahead whether in the concrete terms of actual or conceptual scenarios requires prolonged efforts and certain administrative pressure.
That notwithstanding, performing this duty as a leader is made complex in my views not because of leadership encumbrances,  ambiguity or lacuna in the nation’s constitution but because of the leader’s asymmetrical culture of promoting democracy only when it is in line with their state of mind and favorable to their personal interests.


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