Its 20 years of democratic governance in Nigeria, our correspondent, Kayode Awojobi, reached out to know the thoughts of young Nigerians on how democracy has thrived in the country thus far. Herein below are excerpts of their responses.
“As a democrat there is only one strong ideal that I hold of the military men and that is to protect the citizens from external attacks. Military governance is a no no for me. Some of the main factors of military rule are lack of freedom of speech, inconsistency in government policies. Despite this, I must applaud the fact that the military rule has been bold enough to create states in the country which no civilian rule has been able to achieve.
The democratic rule so far, so good, in the country has only been on a great name and not a positive act. We have only heard that we are under the democratic dispensation but we do not practice true democracy. What do you say about a democracy that doesn’t even authorize freedom after speech? You can still be tried in the law court for libel when you should be pardoned out of the freedom of speech and freedom to one’s opinion.
I don’t really want to go into how the democratic governance has been. I would like to make a point from my profession of expertise which is communication. For the past twenty civilian years, there have never been an absolute situation of freedom of press. Do you say the press is free when it is being owned by the government itself or those in government? The workers would like to keep their job.
Media houses are now partisan. Where then is the free press? The media is highly regulated? What is the hope of getting investigative reports when the journalists have succumbed to brown envelopes to keep their livelihood?
Democracy has not been
able to help the media solve this phenomenon!”
“Although Democracy has not fully met our expectation but it is better than the Military regime.
Having read about Nigeria’s Military regime, it was said that military coup de’tat were carried out to halt corruption, which they never did but made worse.
Today’s Democratic government is not yet what we have desired but allow me to say this, ‘Corruption in a Free and fair society is better than corruption in an oppressed society.’ In other words, Nigeria moved from being a Nation under oppression and embezzlement to a Free and Fair state still fighting the shackles that hold them.
20 years of Democracy and we still haven’t found our ground, we are still a nation in Chaos, Anarchy and Tribalism. A Nation with total Economic Imbalance, a country that lacks Structure and Organization. A country where it’s biggest problem are its citizens.
Concerning Nigeria’s future I do not fear a Military Coup.I fear a
revolution, a revolution by the Masses, a revolution that comes from hunger,
lack and anger all which have been bottled up over the years. This revolution is
what I would call A Coup de’tat by Citizens against those in Power.”
“Let’s thank God for democracy in Nigeria. A system of government belonging and fully dedicated to the people. It is arguably the best thing that has happened to us in this country especially considering the fact that we got it at a time we needed it most.
It is a system of freedom, expressing rights to “everything” projected by the beauty of the rule of law. We are advantaged with its coherence with diversification in religion, language, tribe and ethnic groups of which we have in abundance. It is a perfect system that empowers the people to enthrone their servant-leaders, power sharing within arms of government (executive, legislature and judiciary) with a constitutional guide that is religiously implemented.
In addition, opportunities
are created in terms of leadership, economic growth and development of the
nation, division of labour, employment, trade, commerce and investment.
However, there are many threats to our “special” type of democracy which include a faulty presidential system of government, opposition politics that often plunge us to insert round pegs into square holes, favouritism which downplays integrity, fairness, justice and competence, poor leadership, embezzlement and corrupt mentality.
Furthermore, our weaknesses are glaring especially in areas where we lack justice and trust in the judiciary with delayed and twisted judgement, intimidation, oppression, incessant high crime rate, large rich-poor dichotomy, and the list goes on.
As for my projections for the next twenty years, with a change in
our mentality, I forsee a restructured Nigeria, a yet still developing nation
with quality education standard, stable economy & economic policies, a
democracy chaired and championed by (vibrant) youths and a possible revolution.”
Democracy, government of the people and for the people, they say, but this has not been in the last 20 years.
The military era seems to be better than this era. Opportunity to solidify Nigeria peace and unity has been missed out. If the trend continues, there might not be Nigeria in another 20 years to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our return to democratic governance.