Today marks the 17th year we've run a democratic system without a break. In the way birthdays go, I will say it's a good thing. We've managed to not commit suicide as a nation (break up). But in the way my own birthday goes, today is just another day -- like yesterday was and tomorrow will be.
I don't much fancy birthdays. All you have to do to get one is to stay alive. Staying alive is a sign of being responsible and your primary duty, so why do a yearly celebration of it? Okay, you are celebrating how far you've come since you were born or last year. If it is for since you were born then you need to get a more challenging goal, and not a goal everyone achieves. And if it is since last year, it's a trap then to keep you short-term focused. There is a reason companies split their balance sheet into current assets/liabilities and long-term assets/liabilities. Long-term starts from over a year and is much more strategically useful in all the world's best run companies. Why then should you invert yours -- giving more attention to one year over the long term? The only reason I have nothing against birthday celebration is if you are doing it to thank God for one more year of life. Though, I prefer to thank God daily for gift of life and not wait a whole year to thank Him.
Why am I saying all these?
Happy democracy day? Well, for which of the reasons I earlier listed are we celebrating? Is it for that we have not bombed, slaughtered, kidnapped and robbed ourselves to death? Or for how far we have come since 1999? Or for how much we changed since last year? Or for the noble reason of thanking God for the gift of a nationhood?
I hope it is for thanking God for the gift of a national life, because we have failed every other reason. We are bombing, slaughtering, kidnapping and robbing ourselves to death. So that one doesn't count as a reason for celebration. We have pretty much gone forward like a statue since 1999 -- forward on the same spot. And don't even talk about last year vs now. That one calls for weeping and not celebration. So thanking God is the only acceptable reason.
I would like to hear the summary of the president's speech today. What he is going to say to his fellow Nigerians. Most especially why he thinks his favourite sentence is doing us any good -- "It did not work when I was head of state 31 years ago; I have not been convinced enough." I hope he pledges to stop micro-managing his ministers. And if his team has done any intelligent analysis of the last one year, their biggest advice to him would be he shouldn't many promises. Somehow, he's good at achieving the opposite, though due to circumstances outside his control.
To end on a good note -- Happy democracy day!