First ladyship: A Democratic Misrepresentation (1)

(By Femi Omotoyinbo)

Mr A was the one voted for and not Mrs A. There should be no reason, therefore, for Mrs A getting unwarranted benefits by virtue of marital affiliation. These lazy women, in order to cover up their dubious roles, will now be setting up foundations that create invisible impacts in the society. Why should we be deceived? These foundations are not funded from the ‘first purses’ of the first ladies – the money is from the Federation purse. There is no reason why the spouse of a politically elected fellow should cease working: she should rather be a full-fledged housewife.

DEMOCRACY has been injected into almost all political circles by the cataclysmic forces of globalisation. Whether it pays us or not is now out of the question: For it is too late to cry when ones head is chopped off. Rather, what is of relevance is that if a toad is necessary for supper, then let it be a fat and juicy one. If Democracy is what is really embraced then let it be practised without dilution

  It is objectively apparent that the current democracy is a nominal one and not democratic enough in practice. Nigeria, the speculated giant of Africa, like other African nations, has many shadows bedevilling her democracy. Democracy has been diversely misrepresented.

  Corruption, ethnicism, god-fatherism, hooliganism, maiming, political kidnapping, terrorism and verbal assaults are undemocratic: but they are consistently identified in our democracy. With all these inconsistencies one is forced to seek what real democracy is.

   Democracy is understood from its etymology – Demo Cratia: Latin words connoting the rule of the people. A development from Old Abe’s point of view is that democracy is a political process whereby the led pre-guides their leaders in the leadership processes. This article will simply identify democracy as a government which governing process is based on equitable franchise. This is plain and lawful. A six-year democratic rule is enough to make a rooster out of the egg. But why do we still democratise like novice?

   This article will focus on the most generally celebrated misrepresentation in our invalid democratic setup. This celebrated misrepresentation is an undemocratic attachment which was caused by hyper-courtesy. Despite its numerous demerits, its foundation is still being made solid.

   Without being mealy-mouthed, most of the elections organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were for political offices like those of councillor, local government chairperson, state house of assembly, governor, national assembly as well as that of the president. Entitlements to posts in political environments are usually through election, selection, promotion, succession and sometimes coup d’états. These are usually referred to as due process. If any post will be legally recognised then it must be acquired through due process.

   A sane understanding of the above will surely put the existence of the “Office of the First lady” into askance. Democracy is far from knighthood or domains of naturally necessary polarities. It is a recherché for there to be such polarities in the animal kingdom: When the lion reigns the lioness rules. But animals are not democratic! An authority may have it that human beings are political animals but that does not license our politicking like that of animals.

  The INEC has never for once organised an election into the so-called ‘Office of the First Lady.’ So what warrants its explicit existence? This is outrightly a big shadow of democratic representation. The sign of a pure democracy is the constitution and rigid adherence to it. It is of great importance to include the first-ladyship in the constitution for it to have any democratic legality. It will then be a mature practice. If not, first-ladyship will develop to be a cloud of contention especially since it cannot be constitutionally categorised into any of the three tiers of government. It cannot be placed in the executive neither the legislative nor the judiciary. It is not even having full affiliation with public service and the civil service. One will thus call it an economic leakage if any financial benefit is accrued to such office.

   First Ladyship, in the long run, is also not an advisable practice for a developing community or a society whose economic leakages are impotently patched with castrated subsidies. A pronouncement from the Auditor-General of the Federation is not needed to validate the tautological truth that coins and papers from the Federation Account are being disbursed into this illegal office.

   It is a natural habit nowadays for wives to stop working whenever a political office (i.e. presidential, gubernatorial, local councils) is occupied by their husbands. This has been a social cancer that has spread from the presidency to the local government level. Corruption becomes inevitable as voters are thoroughly cheated. Candidacy in political systems is a personal challenge. Mr A was the one voted for and not Mrs A. There should be no reason, therefore, for Mrs A getting unwarranted benefits by virtue of marital affiliation. These lazy women, in order to cover up their dubious roles, will now be setting up foundations that create invisible impacts in the society. Why should we be deceived? These foundations are not funded from the ‘first purses’ of the first ladies – the money is from the Federation purse. There is no reason why the spouse of a politically elected fellow should cease working: she should rather be a full-fledged housewife.

   Unfortunately, the issue of First Ladyship becomes more economically challenging when the illegally-benefitted funds are extended to relatives and friends. This illegality is usually packaged under the general understanding of personal assistants, advisers, aides and security assistants. This article is not suggesting that political office holders should not have beneficiaries. What is emphasised is that the ‘purse’ of the political holder is large enough. These improvised beneficiaries should hold no plate for direct inflow of national cake.

Although omelette is tasty but there should be sympathy for the bird laying the eggs.

   Disorderliness in families can also be attached with this issue. A rough survey in Nigeria should reveal at least a 75 per cent of local and national politicians who are having political marriages – tricky wedlock often embraced in order to acquire some sudden favour in their political bids.

  It can also be the engagement of politicians with some daughters of political lords or spiritually powerful women; so as to cover up some political flaws and acquire an extension of influence. Unfortunately, these beautiful women are intellectually ugly to understand this as a mysterious relegation of their personhood. In this regard, the world still waits to see a woman of sincere difference.

   A family is usually regarded as a cornerstone in societal edifice. It is the tiniest miniature of a political setup. But most of our politicians are without good families/homes. Some of these politicians force strangers as new wives into their home circles just for political advantage.

  Apart from this breeding of conflict, there is also the fostering of deadly competitions. Not quite a few persons have lost their lives in their competitive bid to acquire favour in the sight of their politically esteemed relatives. The first wife will be struggling to outsmart the newly acquired wife in the race to occupy the office of the First lady. How would people from such family rule a nation well?

  A gradual move into the society always posits this sort of family as that which is pompously bitter and dangerously volatile. Their relationship with other members of the society is usually unethical. Everyone is compelled to see political power as a gene that is acquirable through family ties. This is as weird as the term bio-politics! The social conduct of these people easily signifies the existence of First son, First daughter, First father, First mother, First grandfather, First grandmother, First cousin, First nephew, First niece, First step-mother, First concubine and not only First lady.

   The political office holders now steers the society with their mendacious ménage. Is this still democracy?

To be continued.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

RISE NETWORKS

"Nigeria's Leading Private Sector and Donor funded Social Enterprise with deliberate interest in Technology and its relevance to Youth and Education Development across Africa. Our Strategic focus is on vital human capital Development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation." Twitter: @risenetworks || Facebook - RISE GROUP || Google Plus - Rise Networks