Why Nigeria should try Aboriginal Democracy – Chris Okotie

Pastor Okotie

Reverend Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie, the pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries who is also of the Fresh Party has explained why Nigeria should try his concept of Aboriginal Democracy.

This is coming when Nigeria, which operates a Presidential system of government, is going into the general elections in 2003. In the First Republic, the country operated the Westiminster model. Under Ibrahim Babangida’s military presidency, Nigeria operated Diarchy.

Now, Okotie has recommended Aboriginal Democracy. He explained how it will work this way. “I call it aboriginal democracy. It will still be tripartite in the sense that you have an executive, you have the judiciary, but in this case, the legislature will be eliminated and legislative powers will be given to the people. What our legislators do is already within the polity. For instance, when they come to National Assembly, they form committees, to address various problems. In the Senate, there are 57 standing committees; in the House of Reps, 89. These committees like the committee on health and the committee on education are already in the polity. In the polity, you have associations like the Nigerian Medical Association. It was established in 1951. The Nigerian Bar Association was established in 1933. The Nigerian Union of Teachers was established in 1931.

“ So, what the Houses of Assembly do is just replicate these associations. And I am suggesting, proposing that we take legislative powers from these representatives and give them directly to the people, empower the people within the constitution, and these associations to make the relevant laws that affect their specialized areas. That way the burden of sustaining that structure, we are talking about billions of naira, will be eradicated and democracy will be brought closer to the people.

On the fact that the associations are not elected representatives of the people, Okotie put across his logic, saying that they emanate from the people and they have been established institutions for many, many years. “See, they understand the realities in their own sector. Instead of looking to an elite club that does not really understand what is going on, the Nigerian Medical Association which has been out there at the forefront of trying to maintain a general state of health for our nation and is within the people will know better what is good for the nation in that area. And they will not be paid. So if we are talking about democracy, then we must talk about what the people have engendered by themselves. Lawyers bonding with lawyers, market women, bonding with market women, doctors, bonding with doctors in what I call egregious socialization. They form an organic nexus by way of enterprise and endeavour. They know more about what is going on in those areas within the society than this elite club that we call the National Assembly. And I mean no disrespect.

He added: “So instead of getting people to represent the people, let the people represent themselves. And like I said, they are not paid. And they have been established in the polity for years longer than any of the political parties that we are talking about today. So, they would be in a better position to give information as to what is needed in that area, in the formulation of policies or in the formulation of laws, than people who are drawn from different places, who do not even understand the dynamics of these areas that the associations or the committees that they represent.”
Read the full interview in Thisday