The Dialectical Consequences Of One Party Dictatorship
Undeniably one Party Dictatorship that was the fashionable in numerous African, Asian, South American and East European Countries in the 1970s and 1980s is no longer the vogue from 1990s when the great Soviet Union that was regarded as the bastion of the Communist variant of one Party Dictatorship crumbled like a pack of cards after groaning and wobbling on the strains of dictatorship for several decades.
With the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the collapse of One Party System in several African Countries where it held sway, the mid 1990s ushered in regimes of democratic reforms premised on free market, rule of law and constitutionalism in these African Countries.
In Nigeria the wind of change blowing in Africa, South America and East Europe saw a tumultuous and vociferous agitation and advocacy in the mid 1990s for the end of military dictatorship that has been the lot of the country from 1966 when the military toppled the post independent democratically elected government that culminated in the handover of the military to a democratically elected government on the 29th May 1999. Studies have shown and proven conclusively that One Party Systems breeds dictatorship, suppression and denial of basic rights; corruption, complacency, oppression; lack of initiative; imaginativeness and stagnation that stymies social, political and economic development.
Undoubtedly dictatorship is anathema to competition, creativity and human ingenuity. This is the reason why the defunct Soviet Union failed despite its huge military might as compared to the United States of America that became a military behemoth and economic power at the same time.
Dictatorship breeds building of personality cult and grovelling sycophancy around the leader in a frenzy and desperation to catch the fancy and attention of the leader who has the power of life, death and dispensation of patronage. One can better imagine the deadly intrigues and the intense struggle and jostling for power and positioning among competing vested interest groups, blocs and factions and followership alike that springs around the leader.
Despite the fact that One Party Dictatorship has became archaic and outmoded, some people in the Peoples Democratic Party in their delusion think that they can foist a One Party Dictatorship on Nigeria in the 21st Century.
One of such people is the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke. It is a notorious fact that Mr. Duke was the Governor of Cross River State for eight years. He is mistakenly regarded in some circles as one of the burgeoning generations of emerging leaders in Nigeria that has what it takes to herald an era of progressivism and prosperity in the country after so many years of gloom and stagnation.
The other day while addressing a political rally, Mr. Duke gleefully told his audience how the Cross River State was a multi party democracy in 1999 but changed it into a one party dictatorship by the time his terms in office ended in 2007! Hear Mr. Duke thus:
“I know the meaning of the word ‘family.’ I know, better still, the meaning of the word, ‘PDP family.’ In 1999 when we assumed office, we did not have all of Cross River in the PDP. So, there were some in the defunct All Peoples Party and, of course, there were others in the PDP. My first task as governor was to bring all of Cross River into the PDP family. I was the chief executive of that family. I was the head of that family. And by the time I left in 2007, all of us, Cross River State became one family…”
Truly, the Cross River State was a perfect example of multi party democracy in 1999. The defunct All Peoples Party (APP) was arguably the strongest party although the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the Governorship Election; the APP won two Senate seats; Five out of the Eight seats allocated to the State in the House of Representatives, 13 out of the 25 seats in the House of Assembly and 13 out of the 18 Local Government Chairmanship seats.
However by the time Mr. Duke left in 2007 he had used patronage, corruption, stick and carrot paternalism, chicanery and oppression to turn the APP into an empty shell. I therefore wonder aloud how a supposed modernist like Mr. Duke should be romanticising a One Party Dictatorship! It is clear that Mr. Duke despite all pretentions has the mindset of a totalitarian dictator!
It does appear that that streak of dictatorship runs through the vein of nearly all the leading lights of the PDP including President Jonathan who has unmasked his dictatorial proclivity of recent in so many ways.
The pernicious consequences of the One Party Dictatorship in the Cross River State cynically enthroned by Mr. Duke is evident in the intense struggle and crisis that has torn the PDP apart in the State so much so that a bomb was planted in the Secretariat of the PDP on the 24th November, 2014, that exploded and left the entire State paralysed with fear and apprehension on how far desperados in the PDP can go in their mania to grab power at all cost.
Another deleterious consequence of the One Party System falsely foisted on the People of the State is the dearth of the culture of dissention, consensus building and debate in the State so much so that the Cross River State House of Assembly that is supposed to be the corner stone of democratic values has been turned into a jelly, pliant, compromised, patronising, debating society!
The controversial N40 Billon Bond that the Government of Cross River State recently sought the approval of the Cross River State House of Assembly to obtain from Commercial Banks in order to escape from its dire financial straits brought about by years of mismanagement and corruption is a pointer to how low the legislature has compromised its position as a constitutional watch dog and oversight supervisor of the executive branch of government in the State.
The Cross River State House of Assembly is composed of 25 (Twenty-five) members, 24 of which are PDP while the All Progressives Congress has one member. On the 14th August, 2014, the then Secretary to the Government of Cross River State, Mr. Micheal Aniah, vide Letter No. SSG/GSA/S/300/VOL.XVI/300 dated 10th June, 2014 titled “HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY APPROVAL FOR THE RE-FINANCING OF PART OF COMMERICAL BANKS’ LOANS WITH BONDS NOT EXCEEDING N40 BIL LION AND THE ENGAGEMENT OF ISSUING HOUSES/FINANCIAL ADVISERS FOR THE PURPOSE” wrote to the House requesting for approval for Governor Liyel Imoke to obtain a loan of N40 Billion from Commercial Banks. In a charade that made nonsense of democracy and subversion of its Rules; the Cross River State House of Assembly made up of eight members without debate unanimously approved a resolution authorising the executive branch of government to:
(i) That pursuant to the approval of the State Executive Council (the EXCO) and relevant regulatory authorities, the State is hereby authorised to raise debt capital of up to N40,000,000,000 (“Forty Billion Naira) (the “Transition) from the capital market on such terms and conditions and by any offering method as the EXCO may deem appropriate;
(ii) That the Honourable House hereby authorises the EXCO to determine the deduction on a monthly basis from the monthly statutory allocation accruing to the State from the Federation Account for the discharge of State’s obligation under the Transaction;
(iii) That the monthly deduction referred to in Paragraph 2 above shall take effect and remain in force for as long as the State’s obligations under the Transition are outstanding;
(iv) that in the event however that the monthly allocation above is not sufficient to discharge the State’s obligations under the Transition, the EXCO be and is hereby authorised to enhance the security and repayment terms under the transition including but not limited to obtaining a bank guarantee, domiciliation of State’s statutory allocation less the deduction above with a recognised Nigerian bank, create a charge over the account domiciled with the Nigerian bank and issue an irrevocable standing payment order to the bank for monthly deduction from domiciled account for the credit of the Sinking fund Account (“ the Sinking”) which shall take effect and remain in force for as long as the State’s obligations under the transition are outstanding, and such other methods as the EXCO may deem fit;
(v) that the House hereby authorises the State’s Honourable Commissioner for Finance and the Accountant General of State, acting reasonably and lawfully, to do all such acts and take all such steps including, without limitation, issuing an irrevocable standing payment order /irrevocable letter of authority authorising the Accountant Generation of the Federal to deduct the amount determined by the EXCO pursuant to the Paragraph 2 above from the State’s monthly statutory allocation from the Federal Account for the credit of the Sinking Fund established and managed by FBN Trustees Limited and Skye Trustees Limited (the “ Trustees”) and or such other trustee as may be appointed, on behalf of the Bondholders and the execution of the relevant documents necessary for and or incidental to giving effect to the Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 above;
(vi) that the EXCO be and is hereby authorised to do all such other things and execute of such documents as may be required to ensure the successfully execution and completing of transaction, including appointing advisers;
(vii) That the authority conferred on the EXCO in Paragraph 6 above shall include the power to delegate such functions of duties to the State Debts Management Officer, or such persons or officers, as the EXCO deems appropriate subject to such supervision and review as may be prescribed by the EXCO. With such a cynical understanding and appreciation of the tenets of democracy as graphically painted by the Cross River State House of Assembly, how can the people of Cross River State continue to entrust their destiny in the hands of a One Party Dictatorship that presently prevails in the State?
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