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Democracy Day: Nigeria not truly democratic says Peter Obi

The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has said that Nigeria was yet to be a truly democratic nation.

Obi asked that the country be returned to a truly democratic path.

The former Governor of Anambra state stated this in a series of tweets on X on Wednesday, June 12, to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

According to Obi, Nigeria can achieve true democracy by jointly voting for true democracy as it did on June 12, 1993.

He added that the result of not being a true democracy had led to leadership failure that had bred rampant systemic corruption, high levels of insecurity, growing poverty rates, and ‘unparalleled’ levels of hardship and hunger.

He also pleaded with Nigerians to defend the nation’s democracy and protect it from being truncated.

He said the nation should mark its 25 years of uninterrupted democracy by aspiring to be a truly democratic country.

“An unexamined life is not worth living, so it is now time to re-examine what we have been doing over this quarter of a century. Democracy, as we know, is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

“While we may say that in 1999, we started in earnest in the right direction, today, we have deteriorated into what can be classified as classical state capture. Instead of benefiting all, it has become a deprivation to all.

“The consequences of not being a true democracy have led to leadership failures that have resulted in uncontrolled systemic corruption, high levels of insecurity, lack of freedom of speech, increasing poverty rates, and unprecedented levels of hunger and hardship, which remain unsolved and are growing geometrically,” Obi stated.

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Obi who came third in the last general election said democracy should be a place where people are properly oriented, the rights of citizens respected and laws obeyed.

He said for any democracy to succeed, the leaders must remain answerable to the people, especially to the poor.

He added that to illustrate further that Nigeria was not truly democratic, it had been ranked as follows:

“In the measurement of democracy, we have a democracy index score of 4.23, which ranks us low on the Global Democracy Index. In the Corruption Perception Index, we are ranked 145th among the 180 countries measured, showing a high level of corruption in Nigeria. In the Rule of Law Measurement, we are ranked 120th out of 142 countries measured in the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index, indicating that Nigeria suffers from gross disobedience to the rule of law.

“The 2024 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) describes Nigeria as one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists. Nigeria ranks 112th out of 180 countries where journalists are regularly monitored, attacked, and arbitrarily arrested. We are ranked 109th out of 125 countries measured on the Global Hunger Index.”

Obi encouraged all Nigerians to respect and defend government institutions and obey the nation’s laws.

He also expressed hope for building a new Nigeria founded on the pillars of true democracy.




     

     

    The ICIR reports that since 2019, Nigeria has been celebrating its Democracy Day on June 12, changing from May 29 when it returned from military dictatorship to democracy in 1999.

    June 12 was preferred by former President Muhammadu Buhari, who led the nation between 2015 and 2023, the day the election considered the most credible, free and fair in the country was conducted.

    The poll produced the acclaimed winner Moshood Abiola.

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    An estimated 14 million Nigerians showed up at polling units, defying poor weather to elect Abiola in an election they hoped would put an end to military putsches and dictatorship.

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    Although data from the poll showed that Abiola won the election, he was never formally declared the winner.

    Abiola was also never sworn in by the military government under the administration of Ibrahim Babangida, an Army General, who annulled the poll.

    While struggling to reclaim his mandate, Abiola was imprisoned by the then Head of State, Sani Abacha, another Army General who took over from Babangida. Abiola died while still in detention, in 1998.

    Buhari conferred Abiola with a posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), the highest national honour exclusively reserved for presidents and former presidents.

    The Nigerian government always declares a public holiday on Democracy Day.

    Bankole Abe
    Reporter at ICIR | [email protected] | Author Page

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