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Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

Failed 15 Years of Uninterrupted Democracy in Nigeria

By Rufus Ibebe Akpobome
Democracy is the government of the people, for the people, and by the people. This was the simply way in which I was taught what democracy was by my government teacher some years ago at Ekiugbo grammar school when I was a secondary school student.
My government teacher who is now late (may her soul rest in peace), said then that democracy is the only form of government that can guarantee the safety and development of a nation. According to her “a democratic government is the only government that should and will be allowed in a country because; it is the only form of government that can ensure that the citizens are adequately protected from both foreign and internal attacks. Any other form of government therefore must be rejected because the best system of government is the democratic system of government”.

She ended that day by saying, “my dear students you must do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria remains a democratic nation” Looking at the state at which my dear nation, Nigeria would be celebrating her 15 years of uninterrupted democracy, gives me some concern as a Nigerian. The fact that Nigeria is counted as one of the democratic nations in the world, and the present situation of how things are been done in the country give me a double thought weather to believe my late teacher (Mrs. Ese kofi) or not. This is because; the Nigerian democratic society is not the peaceful society that we seek. The history of democracy dates back to the classical Athens in the 6th century B.C.E. Athens are also, regarded as the birth place of democracy. It is regarded by many, as an important reference point of democracy. Democracy can also be seen as a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally- either directly or indirectly through elected representative- in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It is define by Oxford English mini dictionary 6th edition as “a form of government in which the people have a say in who should hold power”.
In Africa, forty-three out of the forty-eight countries in the sub-Saharan Africa have held at least one multi party election in the past decade, compared with 1990 when only three countries were solidly democratic. South Africa can be said to be one of the most successful democratic countries in Africa having had twenty years of uninterrupted democratic government. Nigeria would be celebrating her fifteen years of uninterrupted democratic government on the29th of May, 2014. This day, would also mark the official three years in office of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan presidency. As usual, the day is going to be a national holiday. May 29th is usually referred to as democracy day because it was the day that Gen. Olusengun Obasanjo (rtd) took over power as the president of federal republic of Nigeria in 1999 after a long military rule. In as much as am not here to paint the government of the day black, I must not fail to point out the fact that all the governments that have rule this country in these past fifteen years of democracy have failed this nation woefully. They had the resources and the power to turn this nation into the biblical “promise land”, yet they did little or nothing thereby putting the masses in pains and anguish. Only few Nigerians can boost of having acquired the divided of democracy in this fifteen years. Even the few that have acquired this dividend must have done this because they have one connection or the other with one politician or the other. The governments have done so bad that almost all the youths now want to be politicians because they see it as the only way to embezzle nation’s wealth. Nigerians would be celebrating this year democracy in pains and fear because of the current security Challenges in the country. Even though we must admit that the world at large is passing through tough security challenges, in must be noted that that of Nigeria is worst because while other countries fighting and seems to be winning against their opponents, Nigerian governments at all levels are busy deceiving their masses and running to other countries for help. The war against terrorism far from been won by the Nigerian government. With these past fifteen years of democracy, there had never been a time when this country had been safe. President Olusengun Obasenjon experienced the sharia and O.P.C. problems. President Umaru Musa Ya’dua of blessed memory experienced the Niger Delta militants struggle and now President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a more deadly group the Boko Haram insurgents. The most annoying part of these groups is that they become stronger by each passing day. The Niger Delta militants brought the economy of this country to a still before the government begged them to receive amnesty. Boko haram which literary means western education is a sin are now using western produce weapons to destroy lives and properties yet the government seems to be helpless. Nigerian Democracy cannot be seen as a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally- either directly or indirectly through elected representative- in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. Neither can we say that the people have a say in who should hold power. Elections for this past fifteen years have been characterized by bloodshed, rigging, non-provision of election materials, assassination of political aspirants, destruction of lives and properties, blackmails and above all, non fulfillment of promises that were made during election. These problems that are deliberately carried out by politicians have gone a long way in making the common masses unhappy and sleep with one eye closed for fear of the unknown. A democratic government is supposed to guarantee its citizens freedom of speech, freedom of political expression and above all, freedom of the press. Nigeria democracy had grown from worse to worst. It has gotten to the point where a journalist on duty can be assaulted by a local government chairman. The masses now live in pains because they cannot express themselves neither can they belong to the political parties of their choice for fear of being molested by politician. Fifteen year of democracy yet we cannot fight our internal security enemies. The governments still have to tell cheap lies to the masses that all is well when obviously all is not well. All the same, I wish to wish all Nigerian, a happy democracy day ahead. There is a saying that the worst civil rule is better than the best military rule.
Ibebe . Rufus Akpobome is a Delta State based journalist Email: Rufworld@yahoomail.com, Rufworld1@gmail.com Text only 08105350976

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