In the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, today marks the 21 years of uninterrupted civilian administrations in Nigeria.
Democracy day June 12 reminds us every year of the struggles of our leaders and their pains as well as the unity of Nigerians in speaking against the ills of failed military dictators.
Today we do not just remember the struggles of the late chief M.K.O Abiola but we remember the scores of people who protested in different states of the federation, the number of people who died speaking the truth and fighting dictators who held the country leadership hostage, we celebrate our founding fathers who were the first nationalist leaders who rose up the challenge of saving this country.
My thesis today is based on our supposed democracy. Considering the state of our beloved country since June 12 1993 to this present day Nigeria.
Are we safe to say, we actually practice democracy in Nigeria?
No consensus exists on how to define democracy, but legal equality, political freedom and rule of law have been identified as important characteristics.
Democrats generally support a progressive tax system, higher minimum wages, social security, universal health care, public education, and public housing.
These principles are reflected in all eligible citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes.
From the above, I will highlight that we are far from democracy in Nigeria and what we practice is not different from the military junta system, only that we tag it democracy merely an act of name calling but not by principles.
The first characteristics of democracy is Elective representation where the people of a state elect representatives who govern them.
I will be safe to call that free and fair election.
I can confidently say that from the annulled June 12 election till the last general election.
Thou there is an outright presumption that the June 12 election was the most free and fair election in the history of the nation had it not been annulled by Gen Ibrahim badamosi Babangida.
Most of our elections in Nigeria is usually full of malpractices, rigging, Electoral body favouritism, vote buying, electoral violence, mistaken tribunals and to crown it all declared inconclusive.
It is a story of an election conducted with political parties seeking for means to rig. The best rigger wins.
This is not associated to one tenure of government but all the civilian administration have been guilty of this.
Nigerians themselves have become slaves of politicians, selling their four years right to good governance for a token usually less than #2,000. The inconclusive declarations is just something I don’t want to talk about.
Also civil liberties are the bedrock of democracy.
Let’s not deceive ourselves, the Nigeria today is the government of special privileges.
Citizens cannot exercise their freedom of speech without fear. Even as I’m writing this, it is with fear that some bodies in leadership may call for my arrest or worst thing threatened to remain mute.
We have witnessed journalist killed, threatened or prosecuted for unveiling the truth they don’t want us to hear or know about.
In this same country, human right is based on who you’re and the position you hold or the amount of wealth you’ve accrued weather legally or illegally.
Special privileges and immunity are given to certain minority at the expense of the majority as contained in s308 of the 1999cfrn.
Anything that concerns the masses usually takes long to be addressed.
It doesn’t take more than one sittings for legislatures to approve billions for their private vehicles and payment of their exploitative allowances but it takes several sittings to approve the increment of minimum wages or to make a bill for the protection of citizens lives and properties from rapist and bandit and measures to take.
It was in the same Nigeria that a senator invaded the house and took away the maze, a senator also molested a woman, another convicted of corruption. They are all still senators in this country. This can’t happen in a sane country.
Furthermore, our judicial system is far from independent.
The judiciary is not the third tier of government in Nigeria.
It is the slave body of the executive and the junior arm of government to the legislature.
Judiciary that cannot perform its duty without fear or favour is that one judiciary.
Nepotism, tribalism and favoritism are the requirements for appointments of judicial officers not merit.
Judiciary that conflict itself in it judgement and decisions, judiciary that is not free from the control of the executive.
If I start to talk of all the ills in the judiciary, you will weep for the arm of government that would have saved us from all the vices we experience.
The judiciary which should be the hope of the common man is not even respected. Many courts decisions and judgement are not adhered to.
A government that do not obey the decisions of the court is that one democratic?
Where we have failed mostly is the roles of organized opposition party.
Opposition party in Nigeria is just somehow.
Opposition party that cannot dig up and call out ills without hypocrisy.
Opposition party that has it own wrong doing ms to cover. Opposition party in other democratic state of the world are know to be very checkmating tools of the government.
In Nigeria, it is a system of same circles of leaders in different polity parties.
Finally, we need to understand that beyond infrastructures and security if lives and properties.
There’s no democracy in Nigeria if some set of people are over the law of the country.
How can a president deny a state of their allowance and still tell them publicly I don’t have any money to give you claiming he himself is the country.
It is beyond just saying we’ve had 21 years of uninterrupted civilian rule but has it been practiced according to the features of democracy?
Someone said and I quote “There is nothing good to celebrate about Democracy because we are still in military regime. If you call this thing democracy then you are insulting other countries that are practicing a true democracy”. It is not democracy when Journalists are denied their Press right.
Citizens denied Judicial and Legal rights (freedom of speech).
Votes doesn’t count.
Courts decides who wins Elections.
We can do better. God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.