About May 29 And Nigeria's Democracy

About May 29 And Nigeria’s Democracy

21 YEARS OF UNBROKEN CIVIL RULE

For the first time since the advent of the current democratic experiment in 21 years, today isn’t a public holiday. To honor the memory of the 1993 presidential election winner annulled by the military, the late M.K.O. Abiola and the sacrifices he made, last year President Muhammadu Buhari proclaimed June 12 as Nigeria’s Day of Democracy.

May 29 used to be known as Democracy Day annually. After all the formalities that granted official recognition as the new date on June 12, the Presidency said: “Only the date and working day of the handover will be May 29. The Act amended and signed by Mr. President no longer makes May 29 a public holiday. June 12 is now a public holiday and a Day of Democracy for the region.

Although May 29 is no longer a public holiday, as the country marks 21 years of unbroken democracy, it does not make the day any less significant. Despite all the challenges of the last years, it is worth celebrating that we have kept the military at bay and offered some windows to freedom of expression and other civil liberties.

Nevertheless, the democracy we practice is still underdeveloped, crude and profoundly flawed. Elections are almost always fought like wars – fraught with conflicts, aggression, mass bribery, thuggery and coercion in an ethnic , religious and regional politics.

Leaders are regularly placed, often incompetent, by large-scale malpractice, as the use of money to purchase votes has become the order of the day.

The situation surrounding security is even more precarious. Racked by an apparently intractable Boko Haram insurgency that claimed thousands of lives and rendered millions homeless aside from other cocktails of crime and crime – from kidnapping, armed robbery, conflicts between herdsmen and farmers, cultism to general banditry – Nigeria has become a nation under siege.

A recent study on the index of fragile states (FSI) listed Nigeria as the world’s 14th most fragile state. It is an indication of the current problems that all stakeholders need to come together to tackle the political and socio-economic factors that pull the country down the slope.

Therefore, on a day like this, we must inform our elected leaders, at all levels of government, of the need to concentrate on the people, their health and welfare; the optimum distribution of scarce resources and the efficient implementation of service delivery policies.

Once we begin to do all these things and more, it will be difficult for Nigerians to exploit their ability and our democracy will remain in danger.

About May 29 And Nigeria’s Democracy

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