Nigeria's democracy on life support


Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 09:05 PM

Written by Editorial Board

On Sunday June 12, was the fourth anniversary of the declaration of democracy day in commemoration of 

the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by billionaire businessman, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola. It was also the 29th anniversary of that sad event believed to be the freest and fairest presidential election in Nigeria. 

As expected President Muhammadu Buhari, addressed the nation with the usual "we are trying our best" statement. Most if not all the lines of his broadcast speech was predictable. There was really nothing inspiring about the address. It was rather filled with lamentations of the failed efforts of the government to address the now complex twin issue of insecurity and economy that has become our nightmare. 

Buhari had said "I know many of us are concerned with the rise in insecurity due to terrorist activities in parts of the country. As a government, we are working hard to contain and address these challenges. And ensure that the 2023 general elections are safe and secure for all Nigerians. To achieve this however, we must all contribute. It is not the job of government alone. I ask all citizens to support and cooperate with our security agencies by reporting any suspicious characters and activities to law enforcement agencies. We can only have a safe country if we are able to prevent crime not after the crime has been committed". 

For seven years, the Buhari administration could not make any significant impact in the fight against terrorists and insurgents. It was therefore insulting to say that "as a government they are working hard"! What exactly are they working hard on? What is the proof of their hard work to contain the daily activities of herdsmen, bandits and other violent groups that have made life unbearable for Nigerians? The claim is to say the least insulting to Nigerians. 

On Sunday 5 June, a large group of fighters armed with AK-47s arrived on motorbikes and opened fire on multiple villages in southern Kaduna. News reports had it that as the inhabitants mobilised to repel the attack, a helicopter engaged in airstrikes against them, providing cover for the attackers. As of last Thursday morning, locals count 45 people killed and 120 people injured. 

Same Sunday, gunmen stormed the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State and killed scores of innocent worshippers including children. While we were still wondering how they easily made their way into the community and escaped after the heinous act, another group of hoodlums attacked Igama and Edumoga Ehaje areas of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State last week killing no fewer than 11 persons. 

These vicious attacks and mindless killings are clearly a failure of the Buhari regime. It is a screaming testimony of their inability to solve the main enemy currently undermining our democracy. And with one year to go, it is safe to give up on the government. No hope at all. We must however, congratulate the president for his sincere and honest admission that there "is rise in insecurity". 

But beyond the issue of insecurity, all other things that would have made democracy to be enjoyable have been basterdized. We cannot pretend that our democracy is in a stable condition. The flouting of court judgements by agents of government, incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerians without a valid warrant of arrest by security and anti-graft agencies are all sad commentaries of our democracy 23 years after. All of these will make Chief Abiola and all the fallen heroes of our journey towards attaining a stable democracy to be sad wherever they are. 

Since it is clear that the government is incable of bailing us out of the mess they have put us into, the only remedy will be to ensure that they conduct a free and fair election come next year, that will usher in a new administration. It is not too much to ask for. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant institutions and agencies of government must be strengthened to ensure that violence, vote buying, rigging, manipulation and other forms of electoral malpractice are nipped in the bud. Nigerians want the best set of leaders to emerge and that will be a legacy of the outgoing Buhari administration to leave behind.

Edited By: fadil

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