The tyranny of the Nigerian elite

By May 10, 2023 May 17th, 2023 3 Comments

Can the masses rule? This is a question that often may not have a direct answer or even clearly fathomed. Democracy is a system of governance that gives a semblance of the rule by the masses where it is structured as representative governance for the people. The people themselves willingly devolve their power to these representatives who in turn serve the interest of the masses with the policies and laws they make on behalf of the people. Overtime, these representatives have taken power and instead of serving the interest of the people, they have retained the power to oppress the masses and blocked ways that the people struggle to retrieve their power back.

These few individuals make laws, execute laws and protect their interest rather than what benefits the whole. They create a circle of community as elites of the masses. They decide and execute power mostly without any input from the people.

But, societies cannot be governed directly by the masses otherwise; it will be chaotic yet, democracy legitimises the power of the ruling elite.

Within the democratic principle of leadership, the few ruling elites create illusions which start from the ballot. Leaders and elites create and sustain competitive elections, an illusion that the masses would think there are choices and are made part of the process by choosing their representatives and leaders. But what happens when these competitions are stage-managed? After all, the elites need to demonstrate that the masses have the right and have exercised their right to vote.

There is often an apprehension among the so-called elites when the people fight to take back their power. There is resistance and eagerness to destroy and ridicule the people and of course the leaders of such an attempt would be scapegoated and stripped and accused of so much that they do not dream of trying to wrest power. They have created structures to dismantle such an attempt.

If the ruling elites utilise the power to deliver on public good, they will retain the power handed over to them. Where it is bad and wrong is to take power, confiscate it and impoverish the people on whose trust they hold the power.

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Overtime, there has been a struggle for power between the masses and the ruling elites. This results in utilising the instruments of power to manipulate the people and set them up against themselves while they hold and entrench power. The masses often do not realise this as they continue to fight among themselves.

In Nigeria, the ruling class has utilised many strategies to keep the people apart and continue holding power. The last election was an attempt to wrest power by the people and it was roundly resisted and derided. While the Judiciary is waited upon to be on the side of the people or immerse itself in the power of the ruling class which they undoubtedly are part of, the people should not rest.

Taking power from the ruling class is not necessarily to lead the few but to ensure that those given the power use it to solve the problem of the society.

The elites of Nigeria are only after power. They use the power to impoverish the people and neglect social amenities which have mostly dilapidated. They do not care about the people or build structures and institutions for a functional society. They only care about themselves and their cronies.

While the politicians fight to retain power, the business class fights to be in the good books of the politicians as the educators do not think they can affect the society from the classroom. These happen as the traditional and religious elites offer their blessing or at best offer weak criticism.

The power class is very attractive in that those who aim to be there fight and manipulate and kill in order to be a part of it. That ensures that the future of the person is assured.

Nigeria’s resources are plundered and carted away, money stashed overseas and properties scattered across the world. These tyrants do not have the milk of humanity in them. It does not perturb them when they hear the cries of the poverty stricken people across the country, rising unemployment, food insecurity, and criminalities spreading across Nigeria.

Nigerian masses are on a tightrope of lost hope. Many find solace in emigration but it does not solve all the problems as the ruling elite find joy in it as the number of the people who question and would fight them depletes.

Indeed, the masses can rule through the collective power they have which includes choosing the right representation and the collective power they have to withdraw the representative. And only that collective power can challenge the tyranny of the Nigerian elite and alter the constant distribution of poverty.


Image credit: Google


  • Marleek says:

    I’m beginning to rethink the brand of democracy practiced in Nigeria and most African countries needs a bit of adjustments. Obviously democracy as practiced presently has not been beneficial to masses. A combination of democracy with a tinge of benevolent dictatorship should be tried.

    • Uzo says:

      You may not want to see the result of democratic dictatorship. The real deal is to have visionary, selfless and people oriented leaders.

  • Osisioma igbo says:

    Beautiful write up. I wish that men can listen,learn, and practice beneficial democracy rather than apply the leniency of democratic principles to appropriate only for themselves everything that will be needed to grow and develop an entire society

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