Photo by: Dami Akinbode
May 29 marks Democracy Day in Nigeria, annually, so this past Tuesday, the nation commemorated it. As a military-rule recovering nation, we have really come far in moulding the frameworks of our democracy. Every four years, Nigerians have the right to vote, in order to choose a president. The election of 2015 saw a rare act of swift, peaceful conceding by a now-former president, plus the 2015 election and its results were hailed as free and fair. These were rarities for Nigeria and certainly, for the continent of Africa. Internet access in Nigeria is not regulated by the government. In fact, it was majorly through social media that many Nigerian youths championed for the signing of the Not Too Young to Run bill, into law.
Our democracy has come a long way.
There are still challenges that have made Democracy Day bitter-sweet for me. Can anyone else relate to this feeling? It often seems like the idea of democracy halts, to many politicians after elections. The idea of democracy is that the public has the right to vote for people that will represent them in government offices. So, it is absolutely wrong to enter into power and turn away from the concerns of the public. For Nigeria, what we often see is democracy that births some milder form of authoritarianism. It is like when a generous act is reciprocated with disdain.
Is it really a democracy when there is limited dialogue between political leaders and their constituents? Is it really a democracy when employment is often not based on merit but on nepotism? Is it really a democracy when there is an epidemic of parents not being able to send their children to school? Is it really a democracy when the masses see no end in sight to terrorism in the nation?
Perhaps, this is what it means to be a young democracy? To some extent, probably. But, the Nigerian child has always been taught to dream big and break barriers. These values should not be abandoned by our politicians.
Our leaders should imbibe that: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” ( Luke 12:48 KJV). (Note: him or *her; men or *women).
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