PARTICIPATORY POLITICS: THE HEART AND SOUL OF DEMOCRATIC ADVANCEMENT





Participatory Politics is a brand of democratic culture that gives priority to mass participation in the affairs of the state. It does not begin and end with elections. It practically involves the act of working hard to perfect deeper knowledge and understanding of the local context.

This democratic practice implies making governance a collective enterprise. In other words,it makes the ordinary citizens in the local communities indispensable stakeholders in the day-to-day running of the government. This makes government sensitive to the wishes and aspirations of the people.
 Modern civilization has witnessed a global shift towards the democratic practice which makes room for the inception of majority inclusion in the affairs of the state. In this day and age, whereby human thinking and activities are controlled by the sweeping influence of the information super highway, there is no hiding place for practices that emanate from autocratic intents.

The digital culture has made people increasingly conscious of their inalienable fundamental democratic rights. These do not only involve the rights to vote and be voted for. They include the right to participate and contribute meaningfully to the nitty-gritty operations and activities of the government.

These untouchable rights of the citizens also include the rights to ask pertinent questions, demand for answers and effectively promote values that would pave way for the emergence and prevalence of good governance. This provides no room for politics of exclusion and intimidation.

 We are now in a new dawn. And this new dawn marks the triumph of freedom over tyranny. This is an era defined by equality and fairness over abuse of power and aristocratic privileges. After all, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,”they say. This depictsthe great danger associated with any civil culture that allows the prevalence of politics of god-fatherism which has hitherto become the bane of the Nigerian democratic practice.

 In every journey of discovery, the critical point of departure is from where the rain starts beating us. Nigeria has suffocated! The sustenance of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy is the responsibility of all of us.This is the most vital challenge on our pathway to greatness. It is the most compelling task for all Nigerians to address if, and only if, our vision to build and sustain a virile society where political, economic, environmental, religious, social and cultural justices would prevail is anything to go by.

 In the face of the forgoing stance, it is arguable that there must be something shocking, if not paralyzing, about the strange notion still holding sway at some quarters that certain individuals has what it takes to single-handedly impose a candidate on a particular political party. What in the world has become of the traditional democratic tenet that “democratic power belongs to the people?”

 I, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians, particularly the good people of Rivers State, to march together and face out the obnoxious civil culture of politics of ordination and leadership by imposition. And internal democracy within the respective political parties is the take-off point.

The tenet of modern civilization reveals thatpolitics of imposition or leadership by ordination are as dangerous as leadership by an organized mob.  It threatens progress and democratic advancement. And this obnoxious virus must be expunged from our fledging democratic system.

Mass participation is very key to a workable and result-oriented democracy.Collective participation in democracy helps to spread the responsibilities of nation-building.And it must be reiterated that the take-off point for democratic advancement is internal democracy within the political parties. This is the true panacea for peace and progress. The time for the indispensable change isnow. We must banish the mockery of democracy. And now is the time for the singing of the birds.
Dr. Terry M. Bagia, Esq.
Author, Human & Environmental Rights Lawyer,
Community Organizer, Socio-political Renaissance Crusader,
President/CEO of Restoration Dynamics International (RESDIN) and President-general of Door-2-Door Democratic Movement (DODEM), World-Wide

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