Opinion: What is the way forward for Nigeria’s democracy?

by Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

Democracy-Day-2012

….the administration of President Jonathan will still lead us to the promise land if he sincerely fight corruption, deviate from giving the masses unrealistic encouragements, prudently implement budgets,….

Populary defined as Government of the People, by the people and for the people, Democracy was formally born on 29th May 1999 in Nigeria after long period of Military dictatorship. Nigerians were filled with hope when Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar peacefully handed power over to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo after a successful democractic election. Since then the nation was faced with various challenges ranging from corruption, lack of adequate respect for the rule of law, unnecessary government expenditure, unpeaceful election, poverty, insecurity, lack of political will and inadequate infrastructural facilities. However, the nation made some sucess in Information Communication Technology, recapitalisation of banks, encouragement of special agencies like The National Food, Drugs, Administration and Control, NAFDAC, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, and The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

It is important to highlight the activites of various administrations in the fourth republic to identify their merits, weaknesses and suggest the way forward. The Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration from 1999-2007 made some remarkable achievements that sustained our democracy. These include the official launch of the Global System of Mobile Communication, GSM which has gone a long way to initiate Nigeria into the global village. The GSM and its internet service has helped the masses to express their views about the government easily. Also it has helped in the developement of smooth communication between the government and the masses.

Another major achievement of Obasanjo’s administration is the recapitalisation policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN that re-introduced the trust of Nigerians in the banking sector. It is widely acknowledged that before the implementation of the re-capitalisation policy of the Central Bank that made it mandatory for all banks to have a minimal capital of 25billion Naira, many Nigerians were afraid to deposit their money with the banks due to their lack of trust in the financial institutions. But now Nigerians freely deposit money in any of the authorised banks in the country without fear.

Moreover, the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo is always remembered for his full support to the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs by encouraging the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control, NAFDAC under the directorship of Prof. Dora Akunyili. Before then, many Nigerians died due to their consumption of fake and counterfeit drugs.

Also, Obasanjo’s Administration achieved a lot in the fight against human trafficking and drug abuse through his full support for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

Moreover, Obasanjo’s administration had some weaknesses ranging from lack of adequate respect for the rule of law, military spirit and allowing negative political god-fatherism to stay. For example during the 2003 Anambra Governor abduction saga and amala politics of Oyo State.

The Umaru Musa Yar’adua administration suceeded that of Chief Obasanjo. Popularly known as humble President, Yar’adua’s government made some encouraging moves in sustaining the rule of law. It obeyed court orders without delay and ensured their enforcement. However, some critics described his government as baba-go-slow due to his inability to implement his 7 point agenda. His government was tackled with illness and political drama that led to his death in 2010.

After the death of Yar’adua, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over the mantle of leadership. However, his government will be assesed from 29th May 2011 when he was sworn in as an elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Many Nigerians voted for Goodluck Jonathan due to his humble background which he acknowledged by saying that he went to school shoeless and bagless which convinced the voters that he will really give them a breath of fresh air that he always promised during his campaigns but reverse has seemed to be the case because massive corruption, insecurity, and lack of basic infrastructures is now the order of the day. Moreover his government has improved the election system.

Futhermore, the administration of President Jonathan will still lead us to the promise land if he sincerely fight corruption, deviate from giving the masses unrealistic encouragements, prudently implement budgets, dismiss all his jobless aids and maintain only one aid in each sector. For example, there is no need for him to have new media, public affairs, media and publicity aids while their functions are same. Duplicating offices will only lead to laziness and unnecessary attacks on the personalities of critics instead of addressing issues and this does not meant well for our democracy. Finally, he should endeavour to allocate more funds to the education sector because it is the root of development.

Long Live Nigerian Democracy

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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