I wrote this years ago. Sadly, it is still relevant.
I will have to break that definition into three parts and note the defining prepositions in capital letter. 1) Government OF the people 2) BY the people 3) FOR the people.
1) Government OF the people: When you say something is OF something, it means it is a government supported by the people, wanted by the people, put in place by those same people. This government is from the people, taken from them. It is made from the people. The people has looked around at all other governments and created one of their own. The OF shows the relationship that exists between the government and the people, it links them together. If you are a Christian, this might make it clearer. Pardon my inaccuracy. You might have heard it sometime in relation to Christ ‘I am OF the father....’ or ‘...gifts of the Spirit...’ English is our first official language and it is not my intent to teach it. I am trying to provide clarity here.
In Nigeria, we have cases and have seen elections that have been filled with tales of electoral rigging. Ballot boxes were stolen, some communities did not vote. We even hear of some parties telling certain popular candidates to step down and some go to various lengths to bring them down. Majority of the people do not vote but the Electoral Commission comes out with a winner. The same people the government is of shake their heads in wonder at the magic performed before their eyes. It has been same from the beginning. ‘This government that has done this and that is it really of us?’ The people wonder.
2) BY the people: Simply put, this means that the same people it came from govern the government. It tells you that the government moves along with the people. It reinforces that the people are the authors of the government.Those in power were taken are part of the people so the government is ruled by the people. It shows the actions, the compliance of that government and the key figure put in place to ensure it here are the leaders; from the president to the lowest police officer and political office holder. In Nigeria, the government is not of the people; hence, it is not by the people. It cannot be the people that rule because if it were, the roads, electricity, education, the economy etc will not be where it is now.
* The people send their kids outside their government to another for education. If it were of the people, they would build their education sector and make it one to reckon with. * The people in Nigeria use generators and have oil blocs. If it were by them, they will ensure constant electricity. * The people do not ply the government roads; they have private jets and go by air. If it were by them, they will build their roads. * The people leave their government every time they are ill to another to seek medical attention The list goes on and on.
If the people in power are from the people and they do all these, doesn't it mean that there is a problem with the people these people in power are taken from?
3) FOR the people: Here it means, everything that the government rulers put in place is in the benefit of the people. It is done to affect the people’s lives and make it easier and better. The Government works for the people. In Nigeria, they really work to our benefit. We do not see constant light. This is the tech age. Everything and anything you need to survive, to stay informed with, for your mobility from your cell phone to your laptop, electric cooker, factory equipment, needs electricity to make it function. The government should provide that. We spend the little money we make to provide it. After the removal of the subsidy on fuel, we use half quarter of our earnings to buy fuel, which we abundantly have, in its raw form. Shouldn’t fuel be cheap and electricity be available and constant? Good roads that should be our benefit is our killer. We die on the roads but money is pumped into every budget for roads but we never have them. The road accidents you can say kill yearly more than HIV/AIDS.
Our education sector is one of the best. We can rub shoulders with graduates from other countries because after four years we can boldly come out and introduce ourselves by saying, ‘My names are...’ we also say, ‘ please can you give me transport fare?.’ We can even decide not to pay our teachers and let the children stay home for four months. Oops! Silly me! That’s called a strike.
We go to the hospitals to be cured, we die instead. Then when the illness is a big one, 'sorry but our expertise and equipment have a limit. Please travel to India and Dubai for that'. We could wake up one morning and decide to sack experienced doctors for fighting for their rights. The list of our benefits in Nigeria goes on and on.
Lest I forget, the Police and Army we created for our benefit and protection are our killers and greatest nemesis. They let others that kill us get away and our cases remain unsolved for centuries.
In summary, THE PEOPLE is the important factor because the government is of the people, by the people and for the people’s benefit. In Nigeria, the people is not the common man, the ordinary man, the masses (pick one). The PEOPLE in Nigeria are a few. The few in power. Therefore, the government is of them, by them and for them. They alone are the benefactors and they do what they want. From the little I have written and the much you have seen and heard, does this term really describe the type of governance in Nigeria. It is DE-MOCK-RACE we celebrate today and not DEMOCRACY. On the other hand, what do you think? Is it worth celebrating and is Nigeria really a democratic state in the true sense of that word ‘DEMOCRACY’?
Thanks for reading my thoughts. What are yours?