Nigerian Democracy

April 13, 2017 Africa , Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo

 

By

Ogunniyi Abayomi

 

A military infused organised democracy or liberal system of government?

 

 

Nigeria consists of 36 states, 774 local government areas, 250 ethnic groups and six geopolitical zones within its territory.

Human and natural resources abound within our landscape with a great potential for economic growth and development as a sub Saharan nation within the African continent.

The political and social atmosphere within our society has been entangled with controversies among our leaders and its citizens. We have encountered various clashes from the political, religious and ethnic groups within our society that has sabotaged our identity globally.

Our political history has encountered various tragic events and pogroms ranging from the military coup d’état on January 15, 1966 and counter coup on July 29, 1966, the civil war between Nigeria and the republic of Biafra that began in 1967 and lasted until January 15,1970, the controversial cancellation of the June 1993 election results by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and major controversial attacks within Nigeria’s political scene since 1999, disrupting the democratic procedure and process laid by the Nationalists who fought very hard for the independence of our nation.

The story behind the affairs of our administration in Nigeria is the turmoil of a government that is less concerned about the welfare of the citizens who elect them into power.

The inconsistencies do not seem to end when their votes do not count, nor are we reaping the labour for a democratic state when our leaders institute policies against the welfare of the masses, inflicting hardship on the people, likewise depriving of their rights to live and survive.

Democracy as a government for the people, by the people and to the people is less visible when the political administration is not accountable and sincere to its electorate, depriving them of their rights and benefits unless you are a close associate or family member of the political leader. The tales of corrupt practices are being dealt with when you are in the opposing circle of the administration, reminiscent of the military system of government in a federal system of government.

Economic crises are not resolved either, people paying a levy for development yet they do not enjoy what has been paid for, yet we claim to be in a democratic system of government. The privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria never yields any kilowatts for electrical energy yielding in darkness despite various investments by the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing under the leadership of Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The electoral process is manipulated by certain individuals who work in favour of the political godfathers to savour the right of the people to vote and be voted. The Rivers State election cannot be out of sight where there were reports of electoral officers receiving a 111 million naira and various settlements to ensure an unfit candidate who has no vision for its state to rule the affairs of the country by disrupting due process.

The transition for a democratic system by the military personnel which began in 1987 did not understand what it takes to run a democratic system, enforcing a total ban of political parties from contesting the election in 1989, a decree instituted by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

The decree was lifted in 1991 in a strategic fashion when Babangida permitted the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to disqualify any candidate they deemed unfit by the electoral commission to contest the election. According to the human rights report published in the month of June 1993, various journalists and human rights activists were arrested, the military took over the the nation’s bar association, threatened striking academic institutions and closed down media publications to ensure the rigid transition ran smoothly without any opposition.

The success of this transition for a democratic system of government was evident on June 12, 1993 when he annulled the victory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola‘s presidential election which led to upheavals within Nigeria. General Sani Abacha‘s succession opposed the motion of a democratic state until his death on the 8th of June 1998.

1999’s democratic dream was a reality when President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria after the failure of the Shagari administration in 1979.

The story remains the same and the challenges never seem to fade away despite efforts from various leaders elected. Do we need a reform therefore or should our policy be reviewed and resurfaced?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ogunniyi Abayomi

Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.

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