Except for things that relate to the incomprehensible Supreme Being, everything that has merits has demerits. However good something is looked at, there can be a fault attached to it. That is what makes a man. That is how all known living creatures were made. As for the abstract nouns such as an idea or an imagination, they can be good or sinful. The end of every action is the message and reformative effects to be derived.
The gains and pains of any minority entity in the midst of vast majority of same species of living things may look easy to decipher. The minority or majority can be in race, tribe, religion or belief. Theses are the commonly known in Nigeria. It can be in term of social economic status like when a few poor families live in the midst of a community of well-to-do families. That is not very common, especially amongst the Africans. In short, it has been proven that in such situation, the privileged one cannot take undue advantage to exploit the poor. The poor like in “The Beggars’ Strike” would have choices. And really, it is unimaginable what could be of a society where there are no poor people. In that sense, the poor should not be the minority. But they are in considering the economic status. On the other hand, the rich are supposed to be the minority, but they massively control the wealth upon which human existence today is paraphrased. So, in that sense, they are the majority. This sounds philosophical, anyway.
The above scenario is the commonest in Nigeria. In a country with nearly two hundred million people, only a tiny part, maybe less than five percent, holds the commonwealth of the nation. From north to south and from east to west, the situation is the same. It is even worse in the north where parents abandon their children to loiter the streets in search of survival just like a large number of their parents are poor, extremely poor. The children, in majority, are denied access to all human comfort. The children are subjected to harsh life and they grow up without definite direction or target in life. They are exploited and programmed to remain in their condition. Though more in number than the children of the privileged, they are the minority in accessing the vast economic opportunities made by the government for its citizenry.
The minority can be in terms of political affiliation. In that case, the minority political group would continue to make the noise while the majority continues to carry the vote and make the decision on behalf of the minority. Even the philosophy in democratic definition is defeated. Democracy is supposed to be the government of the people, by the people and for the people. The main drivers of democracy “the people” are mentioned three times but unfortunately, I have discovered the import attached to each of it is different from the other. The meaning of “government by the people” is quite different from the “government of the people”, both of which are distinct from the “government for the people”. Here the juxtaposition of the majority and minority comes to play.
Government of the people implies an authority, a system headed by elected or selected persons in a society or nation. That system or government is supposed to be for every person who belongs to that society or nation, without any demarcation on the grounds of socio, economic, political, ethnic or religious base. The government is elected to look after the electorate according to the constitution of the society. The document that governs the society spells out all that are required of the elected persons to ensure sanity, security and progress of the society as well as justice in the distribution of socio-political and economic wealth. Here, instead of the government of the people to be made up of the majority, it is often controlled or reserved for the powerful minority who possess the resources and are positioned to buy or muscle up the majority at will.
However, the second phase that defines democracy “government by the people” as it relates to the minority and majority political dichotomy proves enigmatic. To me, it reveals the deception in democracy. Though the people are supposed to be the owners of the government, events around most parts of the world simply portray the people as the authority by the people that matter, those who matter in a society or nation. Especially in Africa where the tiny minority holds onto power and remotely control the majority at will, it is difficult to explain who actually owns democratic rule.
The people are twofold. They are either the majority who utilize their numerical strength in holding onto power or they are the minority whose socio-economic powerful status and over-domineering influences suppress those of the majority. The majority may be large in number but weak in strength, social and economic wise.
Experiences have shown that there is hardly any society or nation that is not owned by certain known or unknown elements. As an Igbo highlife legend, Chief Oliver de’Coque put it: “Ana enwe obodo enwe”, meaning a place is owned. Yes, every place on this surface earth is owned, including countries. Every place is owned, not by possession of land but by the governance of the place. The authority, the decision makers are only made up of a tiny few. They are hardly of the majority. And they can be of the good – thus they making the society or nation and its people witness development – or they are bad – often referred to as the cabal – and the nation and its people’s witness hardship and frustration.
Although God created land and water, both have been partitioned by the human race. Yet, the partitions have been grabbed by certain majority or minority existences. The simple import of the last definitive segment of democracy, “government for the people” is the same as ‘for people that matter’. Governments, especially in the black nations, are still for the people that matter.
Government’s reactions and treatments to matters that concern the masses are never the same with those concerning the rich, influential or tiny powerful minority. Governments do not care about the masses who are the majority. But no one chose where he belongs in terms of creation. No one should question God or his parents why they brought him/her to life in wherever place. God has His plans for every human and He does not make mistake. So being a minority or majority in whatever form: social, political, ethnic, economic, amongst others, should not be a source of depression. Rather, it should be a source of strength and push for you to make a difference.
No where on earth is the best as long as human beings are concerned. No condition is best for humans. No amount of power, wealth and companions satisfies humans. That is why the word “marginalization” is a recurring abstract in every democratic setup. Although democracy portends equitable distribution of all that belongs to the society to all legitimate dwellers of the place, human factors are always there to subvert this end.
While majority from all sides stands the better chances of being in control, the minority, however, often suffer denials that lead to poverty and vulnerability. The minority in terms of poverty are often in terrible and pitiable conditions. It is unimaginable that the poor could feed on the nice aroma emanating from the kitchen of the rich. Life is really funny!
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail email@example.com.
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