Let me start by asking a vital question: what makes a democratic country democtratic? In other words, what is that which stays in the bottle and changes the nomenclature of that mere bottle? Am asking this question, as simple as it seems, because the general belief is that mere francise power, the power to vote and be voted for, or granting such right, confers the ‘democratic’ title on a nation. Indeed, many are quick to define democracy, a la Abraham Lincoln (during his famous Gettysburg Address in 1863) as the: government of the people, by the people (and) for the people. Great definition! But who are the ‘peope’ within the context of the three usages?
The ‘people’ in the first instance includes ‘everyone, indigenes and aliens within the territory’; the second usage meant ‘those citizens of voting age’ while the third means ‘both the indigines, the aliens and the respective governments of the world that would interact with such government on behalf of the state’. But in all these usages, the ‘People’ are , undoubtedly, the fulcrum of the state. Without population, a vital characteristic, the state remains nebulus, at best, as Descartes will suggest, a malin gelin induced idea. What this means is that the people, qua people, defines how and what they want the state of their dream to look like. The social contract theorists like Thomas Hobbes are so cocksure of this fact that they see it as the sine qua non of a stable cum orderly society, without which life will be ‘nasty, brutish and short’. As humans, the destiny or existence /demise of our different states lie with us. Here we have three options: be active in ensuring its sustenance and growth; work against its ideals and progress; or be less concern about what becomes of it.
As young humanists, it is our belief that we should be active (and indeed can’t afford to stand aloof) in the process of democratic reconstruction or development of our states. Our driving force here is the need to protect the ideals of our lifestance: that of ensuring that everyone regardless of their beliefs are respected and treated equally like others. This to me is one of the reasons that necessitated the organisation of the IHEYO International Conference in Nepal last month. From reports so far, the meeting to me, has been a huge sucess story that no one can afford to neglect. Indeed, am very happy that the Nepalese humanist youths are able to outline the basics of secularism to their fellow countrymen. That, to me, is what we should be interested in for that is one of the ideals of a truly democratic state: the young citizens, as part of the people in all the three usages, should be active and lend their voices to the achievement of the ideals of a democratic states.
The youths are no more future leaders, but leaders today taking more responsibilities tomorrow to ensure that the ideals of a truly democratic state are not drowned in the ocean of religious blindness!
Yemi Ademowo Johnson