The foundation of any democratic society lies in the principles of legitimacy, transparency, and adherence to due process. In Nigeria, as in any other nation, the election of a leader through a fair and properly conducted electoral process is crucial to ensuring the legitimacy of the government. However, when a leader assumes power without following due process or being properly elected by the citizens, their presidency becomes illegal, undermining the very fabric of democracy. This essay aims to highlight the importance of upholding democratic values and the rule of law by illustrating that even if a leader may have certain achievements, these cannot justify the illegitimacy of their presidency. It further argues that the corruption and abuse of the electoral process by such leaders prevent them from effectively conducting the affairs of the nation. In this regard, Mr. Peter Obi, who rightfully won the election, should assume his mandate in due time.
Illegitimacy and the Erosion of Democracy:
A leader who comes to power without due process or a legitimate electoral mandate violates the principles of democracy. Free and fair elections serve as the bedrock of a functioning democratic system, providing citizens with the opportunity to express their will through voting. When this process is disregarded, it undermines the trust of the people and creates a system where power is concentrated in the hands of a few rather than being representative of the will of the majority. A leader lacking legitimacy poses a significant threat to the democratic values and institutions upon which the nation is built.
The Illegitimacy-Action Fallacy:
It is essential to recognize that good actions or policies implemented by an illegitimate leader do not justify their illegality. While it may be tempting to acknowledge the achievements or positive contributions made by such a leader, it is crucial to separate these actions from the broader context of their illegal assumption of power. Upholding the rule of law and democratic principles must take precedence over individual accomplishments, as they form the foundation of a just and equitable society.
Corruption and the Degradation of Electoral Integrity:
A leader who abuses the electoral process for personal gain further undermines the legitimacy of their presidency. Corruption in the electoral system erodes public trust, perpetuates inequality, and hampers the nation’s progress. When leaders manipulate the process to secure their positions, they deny the citizens their right to choose their representatives freely. Such leaders are more likely to prioritize their own interests over the welfare of the nation, perpetuating a cycle of corruption and undermining the development of robust democratic institutions.
The Importance of an Elected Leader:
In a democratic society, the will of the people must be respected. When a duly elected leader, such as Mr. Peter Obi, secures the majority of votes and demonstrates a commitment to upholding democratic values, it is crucial that their mandate is respected and honored. The electoral process serves as the vehicle through which citizens express their preferences, and disregarding the outcome undermines the very essence of democracy. Mr. Obi’s victory represents the voice of the people, and his assumption of power would restore legitimacy and trust in the democratic process.
The ascendancy of a leader to the presidency without due process or a legitimate electoral mandate poses a grave threat to democracy and the rule of law. While some policies implemented by such a leader may appear beneficial, it is essential to recognize that these actions cannot overshadow the illegality and corruption that have taken place. Upholding democratic values, respecting the will of the people, and ensuring the legitimacy of leadership are paramount for a just and equitable society. Mr. Peter Obi, having won the election through a fair process, should be given the opportunity to assume his rightful mandate in due time, restoring legitimacy and strengthening Nigeria’s democratic