Monday, 29 May 2017

Reminiscing Nigeria's 18 Years of Unbroken Democracy.

 
 I hope our democracy is no longer a demonstration of craze like late Fela Kuti sang, I believe it has delivered us some dividends that is worth celebrating. So happy democracy day to all my fellow Nigerians out-there.  
 
Prior to May 29, 1999, Nigeria went through series of dictatorial military rule and the dream of a democratic Nigeria was far fetch. Today we remain grateful that power is no longer taken by force but given by the people through popular and credible elections.
 
Indeed one could say how credible have been our elections? It seems our leaders have been selected and imposed on us by some political buccaneers due to porous electoral processes. However, worthy of note is the major improvement we have seen in our most recent elections. A stride I believe will deliver to us credible and peaceful elections in the dearest future. 
 
May 29,1999, heralded the re-entry of democracy with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since the inception of democracy, there have been some remarkable changes, read them below as outlined on thepointernewonline.com:  

For the first time in the chequered political history of Nigeria, civilian rule has successfully transited from one regime to the other without military ousting a sitting civilian government, sacking the constitution, and replacement of the statutes with draconian military decrees.

Another significant landmark in the 18 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria was the power shift at the Presidential level with South-South for the first time producing the President and Commander-in-Chief for the nation which for decades has domiciled in the northern part of the country..

This particular event has the significance of giving a sense of belonging to the South-South who, though produce the bulk of the nation’s wealth (petroleum resources), felt marginalized for not being in the Presidential position to manage the resources.

The emergence of law making chambers at the National and State levels since 1999, has unlike the volatile days of the military leadership where decrees were churned out without democratic input, people through their representatives, now make laws for order, peace and good governance of the nation.

Some of the immediate dividends of this can be seen in certain Acts of the National Assembly such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) which gives profound expression to free access to information and has been domesticated by many states.

The people’s right to franchise has also gone a step forward to deepen democracy in the last years.

Notwithstanding the strides recorded in the years of democracy, it will amount to insincerity of purpose to assume that there are no worrisome traits on the journey so far.

Indeed, the cankerworms wrecking hardship on the journey on the democracy highway in Nigeria revolve around culture of violence, ballot box snatching, falsification of results, intimidation of voters and political opponents, refusal, failure or neglect to imbibe the culture of accountability by some politicians, are still staring us on the face.

Transparency, ability to minimize hunger, poverty and disease, as well as providing shelter and employment constitute the hallmark of democracy .

There is, therefore, the urgent need to work on these key indices with a view to improving performance in the relevant sectors.

The rough ride on the democracy highway in Nigeria will be incomplete if the heroes and architects of the nations democracy and the ideals for which they stood for are not immortalized.

Great statesmen like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, among others, worked assiduously for nation building and ideally should serve as a source of inspiration to the younger generation.

These great leaders brought the hope that Nigeria will surmount the challenges facing her today and emerge stronger and more influential in the comity of nations.

Those spoiling for war should therefore shield their swords and join hands in expanding the frontiers of democracy dividends.

Nigeria is indeed a great nation of good and great people, but there is the need for concerted efforts to redefine those thins that unite citizens while de-emphasizing those that tend to promote mutual mistrust, hatred and disloyalty among the citizenry.

God bless Nigeria.


Watch out for my happy democracy video on my social media platforms: Facebook: Mercy Ebute
Twitter: @MercyEbute
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