Connect with us

Opinion

The Oracle: Dictatorship: Antithesis to Democracy (PT 3)

Published

on

By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

Last week, we concluded our discourse on democracy as a form of government. Today, we shall x-ray the meaning, concept, causes and the possibility of having elective dictatorship in governance.

MEANING OF DICTATORSHIP

In all countries of the world, you won’t find a dictator who calls himself a dictator. Instead, dictators bear ordinary titles such as president, emperor, great leader and similar monikers. That’s because ‘dictator’ is a pejorative term assigned to certain rulers by other nations, particularly the developed nations of the West – that is, countries with thriving economies – such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and many others.

To be considered a dictatorship means that a country is known to be run by one person without any checks and balances on his/her power. Dictators make unilateral decisions that affect their countries without having to consult any other branch of government. That is because there is no other branch of government that is not controlled by the dictator. Human nature being what it is, dictators do not rise to power for the good of their nations (though, they usually claim otherwise). They seize power to benefit themselves, their families and their close political allies.
Dictators usually come to power through some kind of violent struggle, rather than the peaceful passage of power that we take for granted in the United States. In cases such as the late Kim Jong-il in North Korea, the ruler is even worshiped as a demi-god.

CONCEPT OF DICTATORSHIP

The concept of dictatorship, in its origin and evolution, may be better appreciated both as a complementary and protective constitutional device and as a complete antithesis to the democratic constitutional state. Thus, Carl J. Friedrich (1937), in referring to the ancient Roman model, makes a distinction between constitutional and unrestricted dictatorship. Franz L. Neumann (1957, p. 248) comments that dictatorship may arise and function as “implementation of democracy,” “preparation for democracy,” or the “very negation of democracy.” Plato and Aristotle saw the origin of tyranny in the weaknesses and degeneration of democracy, and political theory has been based on the polarity of democracy and dictatorship ever since. However, the view that a revolutionary dictatorship necessarily presupposes the existence or the counterpart of a democratic constitution is disputed. Answers may be provided by the recent sociological and political research into the historical process of transition from a constitutional, restricted dictatorship to an unrestricted, total dictatorship.

CAUSES OF DICTATORSHIP

The inability to function and the internal weakness of democracy are undoubtedly among the main causes of the establishment of dictatorial rule. The totalitarian communist system of the Soviet Union arose in consequence of the crumbling away of tsarist autocracy, hastened along by a mass movement. In general, it can be shown that unresolved social tensions and economic crises, together with the undermining of constitutional order and the development of undemocratic power aggregates, are among the conditions that give rise to dictatorial regimes.

POSSIBILITY OF HAVING AN ELECTIVE DICTATORSHIP IN GOVERNANCE

Over the years, the executive arm of government has always been seen as the primary source of tyranny, and in Britain the Parliament was developed to control its power. After centuries of struggle, this control was finally achieved in the nineteenth century by making the executive government responsible to the Parliament.

The growth of disciplined political parties in the twentieth century has reversed this responsibility, and the executive government can now often control the parliament, resulting in a form of elective dictatorship.

There is nothing new about the concept of an elective dictatorship. After all, nearly 2500 years ago, the Roman Commonwealth instituted the office of dictator, the incumbent to be chosen by the Senate to deal with crises such as war, sedition and crime, which were too difficult for the two annually-elected and often mutually antagonistic consuls to deal with. The dictator initially held office for six months.

The Nazi government of Adolf Hitler is an extreme example of a modern elective dictatorship, but Hitler was elected and his dictatorship was legal under the Weimar Constitution. The Weimar Republic had responsible government, with a Chancellor as head of government. The president-the aged Field Marshal Hindenburg at the time of Hitler’s accession-had considerable authority, including dictatorial power if public order and security were threatened.

The Weimar Parliament was elected by proportional representation, with consequent difficulty in forming stable governments.

The constitutional tradition and the rule of law are much more firmly established there than they were in the Weimar Republic. Nevertheless there are disturbing common patterns in all elective dictatorships.

In modern times, attention was first called to the new elective dictatorships by Lord Hailsham, in a famous address on the BBC in 1976. He later wrote:
Disregard the fundamental human values of justice and morality and you will soon turn majority rule into unprincipled tyranny. But in practice, human nature being what it is, every human being and every human institution will tend to abuse its legitimate powers unless these are controlled by checks and balances, in which the holders of office are not merely encouraged but compelled to take account of interests and views which differ from their own.

In pointing to the dangers of an elective dictatorship, Lord Hailsham was in fact echoing the views of a long tradition of political theorists, dating back to the times of ancient Greece. Even the expression ‘elective dictatorship’ was similar to Thomas Jefferson’s description of a type of government as elective despotism.

He wrote: The concentrating [of all the powers of government] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation, that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one … An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.

The founders of the United States of America, particularly Jefferson and Madison, brought remarkable intellectual rigour and imagination to the problems of creating a new democracy. They may have been somewhat misled by the French philosopher Montesquieu, who thought that the separation of the executive, legislative and judicial powers was the secret of the success of the English system after 1688, and the American system was modeled on that principle. ‘The Americans of 1787’, wrote Bagehot, ‘thought they were copying the English Constitution, but they were contriving a contrast to it.’ In fact what Montesquieu was emphasising was the importance of the independence of the judicial system from political forces (unlike the situation in France), and this separation of powers is common to both the British and American systems.

As Lord Acton put it: ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Edmund Burke was also aware of the dangers of untrammeled power. Two hundred years ago he wrote that ‘in a democracy the majority of citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppression upon the minority.’ His views were echoed nearly a century later by J.S. Mill when he wrote of:
‘the evil effect produced upon the mind of any holder of power, whether an individual or an assembly, by the consciousness of having only themselves to consider … A majority in a single assembly easily becomes despotic and overweening, if released from the necessity of considering whether its acts will be concurred in by another constituted authority. One of the most indispensable requisites in the practical conduct of politics, especially in the management of free institutions, is conciliation: a readiness to compromise; a willingness to concede something to opponents, and to shape good measures so as to be as little offensive as possible to persons of opposite views.’

He went on to say that, to control a government, it was essential to:
‘throw the light of publicity on its acts; to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them which anyone considers questionable’.

This attitude was totally different to that of Dicey three decades later. Dicey believed that the true source of the life and growth of the British Constitution was ‘the absolute omnipotence, the sovereignty of parliament’. It must be admitted, though, that when this sovereign Parliament was prepared to take action with which Dicey disagreed-as in Home Rule for Ireland, his respect for the Constitution seemed to vaporize. He recommended a referendum (so much for the sovereignty of Parliament) and, if a majority voted for Home Rule, he was prepared to see armed insurrection (so much for respect for the British Constitution).

None of the countries above has anything approaching responsible government in Bagehot’s sense, though all pretend they have. What they have is party government, where the party which wins the majority of seats in the lower house forms the government and its leader become prime minister. The government is responsible, not to the parliament, but to the caucus of the government party MPs. The lower house merely registers the laws proposed by the government, after discussions with the government party caucus. The caucus relies for its electoral success on the party organization, which in some of the parliaments may give orders to the parliamentary party.

There are also other constraints. The doctrine of the sovereignty of parliament, under which its enactments cannot be struck down by any court, now applies only in New Zealand. Canada and Australia are federations, with entrenched constitutions. The powers are divided between the federal and state governments, and any disputes are decided by the courts. The UK is a de facto provincial member of the European Federation, with laws enacted by its Parliament liable to be overridden by European Union laws on certain designated subjects, and disputes resolved by a Union court.

These restraints still leave formidable and effectively unreviewable powers in the hands of a government which controls the lower house. The only remaining barriers to party despotism are upper houses, but these barriers are of very uncertain strength. If the government party has the numbers in the upper house it is really no barrier at all for, except in the UK, where party members of both houses meet in a common caucus where the upper house members are usually heavily outnumbered by those from the lower house. The decisions of this caucus are usually binding on upper house members, even in cases where most of them actually oppose the decision. Cross voting is rare; it is effectively non-existent among Labor members in Australia. The House of Lords was a special case, for most of the peers did not accept party discipline. The answer was inevitable. Exploiting the non-elective character of the House of Lords, governments managed to reduce its power to a mere delaying role.

However, if the government party does not have the majority in the upper house-and this is becoming increasingly common, with four of the six elected upper houses using proportional representation-the upper house can be a formidable obstacle to an elective despotism, reviewing legislation thoroughly, and amending and sometimes rejecting it. Government activities may be closely and critically scrutinized and inquiries held into matters the government does not want investigated. If elected by proportional representation, upper houses can reasonably claim to be more reflective of actual community opinion than a lower house elected by single member constituencies. This claim should be slightly qualified, if only part of an upper house-usually half-retires at each election. This is deliberately done to make the upper house a continuing body, without violent fluctuations in balance caused by temporary changes in public opinion. (To be continued).

FUN TIME

There are two sides to every coin. Life itself contains not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. Let us now explore these.

“Yesterday, I attended a burial of a friend’s grandfather. But their tradition is that at every burial ceremony, an old man would come out and announce the next person to die. So this old man said the first person to leave the burial ground will be the next person to die. Since yesterday, we are still at the burial. Even one elderly man that is over 95years is asking me if my parents won’t be looking for me.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.” (Plato).

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight

Published

on

By

By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

Continue Reading

Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

Published

on

By

Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

Continue Reading

Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

Published

on

By

By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: