Copycat systems

Comments: 0

African nations are slowly coming to terms with the notion that individual adult citizens should have opportunities to share their opinions about ways for collective societies to move forward as entities. Needless to say, the pressure exerted by external sources to embrace democratic practices should be taken with pinches of salt. In the UK, the House of Lords is an arm of the political system that grants access to members through means that are not democratic. The USA should also explain the finer points of the Electoral College system to those of us who don’t understand its rationale.

The electoral systems that function in African nations are still struggling with the psychological needs of each society. Is it possible that the stakeholders who were responsible for devising the constitutions of these nations were intellectually lazy in several cases?

For example, the Nigerian constitution is an imitation of the USA’s template. The founding fathers of the USA’s political system probably drew inspiration from Ancient Greece and other European models, but it is clear that they were present enough in their minds to devise a template that took into account the group dynamics within their country.

Those dynamics have shifted considerably in the last 100 years to the extent that even the USA has a lot of work to do in making its template a truly credible model for democratic practice. So why are Nigerians simply copying that model – lock, stock and barrel?

Anyone who is familiar with West African History will know that Africans had several sophisticated systems of governance that incorporated checks and balances in them. Who or what is blocking those who have the inclination from drawing inspiration from those sources, to create new templates for the times we live in?