EditorialMaking Nigeria Work Again

Making Nigeria Work Again

June 17, (THEWILL)- The idea to move Democracy Day celebration to June 12 annually is, indeed, a good and even brilliant one. It serves a symbolic purpose in making a strong statement and commitment to the reality of that day in 1993 when Nigerians voted against ethnic and religious fault lines.

It also serves as a reminder that democratic governance is achievable if deliberate efforts are made to cultivate intentions of due process, equity and justice. If organisations and institutions are ruled based and governed and the rule of law operates the same for everyone.

Declared on June 6, 2018, by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration in remembrance of the botched June 12, 1993 presidential election presumably won by late businessman, Moshood Abiola, but annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida military regime, the day has come to stay and taken off the shine from the arbitrarily selected May 29 hitherto reserved as Democracy Day, since the return to civil rule in 1999.

Pegging that day to commemorate the struggles of Nigerians for a civilian government, freely and fairly voted for and the sacrifices of their compatriots to restore the mandate after it was annulled, will continuously rankle in the minds of those genuinely committed to the progress of the country; it will also shine the light on the dark schemes and devious plans by those masquerading as paragons of excellence, while in fact frustrating the growth of the country.

Sadly, however, the preceding years have been excruciatingly painful for millions of Nigerians when it comes to looking at the democratic gains of the past 25 years. Like a domino effect, all social, economic and political indices of growth have been progressively negative, leaving millions of Nigerians frustrated and apathetic about the country.

For government after government, the policy scorecard has been diminishing in returns of democracy dividend: Poverty has multiplied in geometric proportions through the years, insecurity is widespread, unemployment is rife, ethnic mistrust is growing by leaps and bounds, religious intolerance is increasing and separatists and self-determinists are holding sway in the polity.

Alarmingly, the governing elite appears to be aloof. Their consumerism and beggars belief; their choice of consumption over production has impacted the economy negatively.

In the midst of grinding poverty, the governing elite budgets billions to renovate houses, purchase vehicles and corruptly enrich themselves, while educational, health and transport infrastructure are decaying.

Much more importantly is that equality of opportunity, which is a hallmark of democracy, is still a far cry from these shores because of a mismatch between supply and demand in all respects, courtesy of successive maladministration for the past 25 years.

More crucial is the fact that political parties which ought to be the driving agents of mobilization, education and aggregators of the views of the people to the central government act as though they are trading companies.

At the slightest inconvenience, alliances are forged and broken, defections are orchestrated and consummated with scant regard to dictates of the Constitution. No longer are elections determined and won at the polling booths but at the courts.

Twenty -five years may be considered too small to celebrate giants gains in a diverse, multi-ethnic country like Nigeria but the journey to greatness starts with one step. And it is time to begin to take that step at the end of a quarter century of democracy in the country.

It is on this note that we call on all elected and appointed leaders and other stakeholders in the Nigeria project to wake up to the clarions call to make democracy work for the ever resilient and diligent millions of Nigerians.  It is time for less talk and more action, intentional and deliberate actions that put the interests of the people first.

We congratulate Nigerians for bearing the brunt of the past, excruciating 25 blighted years of civil rule and call on democrats in the nooks and crannies of the country to rededicate themselves to democratic governance.

aiteo

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