The Executives: The Nigerian Executive is headed by the President followed by the Vice president. The executive carries out the government policies. They execute and maintain the constitution of the federation.
The Legislature: The Nigeria National house of assembly consists of (360) House of representative members and 109 Senators, (3) from each of the 36 states and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory). The Law makers have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Nigerian people and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They serve as a watch dog to both the executive and judiciary arms of the Nigeria government.
The Judiciary: The functions of the Nigerian Judiciary include, interpret the law and defend the Nigerian constitution, acts as a watchdog against excesses of the legislature and the executives.
A common definition for democracy is, “a government of the people, for the people and by the people”. You will observe that “PEOPLE” stands out in this definition. Therefore, it will not be wrong to say that the Government (The Executive, Judiciary and Legislative arms) exist for the people.
Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, have these arms of government worked in unison to really serve the people?
If you agree that the arms of government should not exist in isolation, and are a mechanism whose operation is meant to create a healthy, conducive and safe environment for her citizens, tell me how our arms of government have fared in Nigeria?
What is the fate of millions of half-baked graduates who are turned out of our Universities yearly? Many of these graduates are products of the so-called federal Universities. Presently, tertiary education is at a halt in Nigeria.
What is democracy to young children in Sokoto, Niger delta, Kogi and others in various towns, villages in Nigeria whose classrooms are under trees, dilapidated buildings?
What is democracy to young infants who die at child birth owing to lack of basic medical facilities?
What is democracy to the average income earner who cannot afford to travel abroad for medical checkup?
Our leaders know how “good” our tertiary institutions are; that is why majority of them send their children abroad for higher education. The same applies to health care. Some of them even travel abroad to buy panadol.
We have witness the executive, legislature and even the judiciary turn the law on its head; at the detriment of the masses. The “people” who are said to be the Subject of government, have turned spectators. Is that the best we can do – look on and watch the unborn generation robbed of a safe, prosperous Nigeria?
A fourth arm of government is important in a democracy like ours. I called it the governed arm. By this, I refer to Nigeria citizens not holding any political office or appointment. Amongst other functions, the governed arm shall:
1. Know their fundamental human right as enshrined in the Nigeria constitution.
2. Participate actively during elections and ensure to vote credible aspirants irrespective of tribe, religion. Non-participation should be considered a crime and breach of our common interest.
3. See Nigeria as one entity.
4. Call their representatives to account and be concerned about their representation.
5. Not succumb to the ploy of greedy politicians who may want to use them as political assassins or thugs.
6. Have a stake in the development of their immediate community.
I call upon fellow Nigerians to see the need to be concerned about our Nation; we must be concerned about the activities of our leaders and ensure that their policies, actions and representation promote the sustainability of the society.
I call upon the media to beam their search lights on government programmes, policies with emphasis on their implementation. As a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) volunteer member of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) group in Emure-Ekiti, Nigeria. I remember the efforts made by the president of the group at the local government and state levels to effect the release of treated mosquitoes net for distribution in the rural areas. All his efforts were to no avail. Yet the mosquitoes nets were available but those who were in charge of the distribution preferred to distribute them amongst their kinsmen, sell or leave them to rot in their offices.
Abraham Lincoln said, “think of what you can do for your country, and not what your country can do for you”. At the moment, we can only adapt this saying to fit our Nigeria system. “Think of what you can do for your country; and ensure that your country (the government) is doing what it should”.
Nigeria will take its place amongst the committee of developed nation only when we collectively decide to pull her out of the woods. My fellow citizens, I put to you my proposition, a vibrant and responsible followership – THE GOVERNED ARM.