May 29, 2021, marked 22 years of the return to democratic rule in Nigeria. In 1999, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in to office to usher in the 4th republic of Nigeria’s democratic journey.
The day used to be celebrated as Democracy Day, but the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari changed it to June 12 in honour of the annulled elections of June 12, 1993, and its presumed winner late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
The 22 years has witnessed ups and downs in Nigeria’s democratic experiment as the nation has seen steady growth and development in the midst of conflicts and biting security challenges.
That is to say, the 22 years of the democracy comes with all sort of insecurity challenges including Boko Haram, armed banditry, rampant kidnappings, farmers and herders clash, communal clash, avengers in the Niger Delta, cultism, rituals, among others, which were absent prior to democratic governance.
Similarly, within the 22 years, Nigeria has experienced economic recessions, industrial decay, collapse of education sector, poor health facility, issue of climate change, as well as issue of cyber crime. The Nigerian democracy, of course, comes with a lot of uncertainties.
Moreover, democracy emerged with irregularities, issue of election malpractice, political thuggery, snatching of ballot box, tempering with election results, issue of ethnicity, religion, regionalism, among others, all in the name of democracy. It’s only in Nigeria that competency is not a matter of concern but rather who you know.
The delusion is, democracy isn’t favouring Nigeria at all, because it’s same democracy that brings disunity, intolerance, conflict and economic setbacks. Prior to democratic journey, we were one Nigeria, irrespective of any colouration.
Also, the nation’s constitution has become a mere document, mere document in the sense that even the law makers have no respect for it talk less of fulfilling the obligations written in it.
The fundamental human rights provided in the constitution to be enjoyed by everyone is selective, to an extent that only those who are born with silver spoon enjoy it; deprivation of rights is everywhere; in fact, Nigeria’s laws respect only the elite.
The security agencies are no longer respected because of corruption, almost all the military and para-military personnel are corrupt; then where is democracy?
Since democratic inception, civil service commission disorganised, the issue of pension and gratuity, hmm!!! Workers are owed several months salaries, no issue of promotion, arrears, welfare, motivation, award of hard work, incentives, among others.
Nigeria’s democracy has not been stable since inception yet we keep celebrating, what exactly are we celebrating? Is it the poor remuneration or what, insecurity or bad economy? We need to progress.
Therefore, let’s have a look at it again and make it stable, because at this juncture we have nothing to celebrate or showcase to the world as an achievement. Finally we expect the president to highlight new plans and strategies that will serve as a pathway to Nigeria’s growth and development on the democracy day, not the usual speech or rhetoric.
Department of Mass Communication,
University of MaiduguriNo tags for this post.