DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA: KUDOS TO PRESIDENT BUHARI/APC’s ELECTORAL REFORMS ON DEMOCRACTIC SYSTEM, BY ABBATI BAKO

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Even European Union (EU) and all other global’s stakeholders on Democracy commended His Excellency PMB, APC and the 9th National Assembly for their efforts to ensure sustainability of Democracy in Nigeria. Other African Nations and even South South Nations of the World will emulate NIGERIA’s Democractic transition. Especially Countries within the West African Subregion where Military Junta took over Governance.
Democracy is a system that is created and designed based on the guidance of vision and practicality for the sake of governability of human family. Governance is an imperative part of human existence.

The universal acceptance of Democracy from all the regions of the glove began in the 18th century. But, the concept of the system was originally initiated in Athens (Greece) 508 BC. This means that Democracy has a very long history in the world.

This writing identified that democratic election in Nigeria has been thwarted (especially 2007 elections) due to taking almost two decades for not responding to peoples’ demand to reform the Electoral Laws. The principles of Democracy that are based on the understanding that an effective and vibrant system of democratic governance is one which is based on representative, equitable (across gender and other categories of people), transparent, accountable and inclusive institution/class; a vibrant, responsible and capable social media and a dynamic civic society. Election is the building block of Democractic System. According to Professor Paul Collier of Oxford University, UK “Election is an institutional technology of Democracy, 2009, London. By the efforts made by the current President and N/A members Nigeria is now moving into 30 global emerging Democractic Nations. This means that the INEC will be watched globally how they will conduct Free and Fair Elections in NIGERIA’s Democractic transition in 2023.

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Democracy is defined by freedom of speech and assembly, free elections and a government resulting from such free elections, the separation of powers and the rule of law which is engaged in the political process. But in Nigeria the system has been characterised by incessant violence. Government officials including the electoral commission, security under the mobilization of contestants and ruling party had the greater share of blame. Part of the proactive factors included effort to mutilate, mar, rig or annul elections for the benefit of incumbent or other contestants. The electorates who are the governed and with high majority population wise were subjected to all sorts of brutality leading to destruction of their lives and properties by the bandits and even security personnel, thus triggering violence.

The effort of judiciary was still below expectation in ensuring fair judgment. Professor Kamilu Sani Fage (2002, BUK) says, democracy can be classified into three general categories. They include:-
(1) Normative
(2) Empirical
(3) Normative – Empirical
Professor Tatah Mentan of the institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota is an expert on political science and teaches courses on globalization and security studies, says “Democracy is about political choice fostered by meaningful political competition. A formal definition of democracy by (Holden) is that, it is:-
“A political system in which the people, positively or negatively make and are entitled to make, the basic determining decision on important matters of public policy”.

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“On the other hand, substantive democracy according to Martin: goes beyond the formal trappings of democratic political system (such as multipartism and elections) to include such elements as accountability and genuine popular participation in the nation’s political and economic decision making processes”.

For Karl Marx’s: “Democracy is a set of institutions that permit the entire adult population to act as citizens by choosing their leading decision makers in competitive, fair and regularly scheduled elections which are held in the context of the rule of law, guarantees for political freedom, and limited military prerogatives”.
For Mill, the ideal form of democracy is that:-
“in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being at least occasionally called on to take an equal part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general”.

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“The minimal requirements of formal democracy are five (according to Professor Attahiru M. Jega (2007, Ibadan)
1. Basic freedom guaranteed
2. Existence of universal suffrage
3. Operation of multi party system
4. Periodic free and fair elections are held
5. Governance based on the rule of law”

On the other hand, eminent scholars around the world disputed that in Nigeria and most African nations are not doing democracy in accordance with principles of the system. Professors Larry Diamond, Tatah Mentan, Paul Collier, Belis/Owen and many more scholars and experts in political democracy. They all believed that DEMOCRAZY has been in practice not DEMOCRACY!

But if the current reform initiated by the APC and put into practice and positively resulted to credible, fair, free and internationally acceptable to global’s Democractic stakeholders PMB and APC will left a legacy in African Democractic transition.

Abbati Bako,psc,bsis,Kent,UK, Political Strategy and Communication Consultant and Special Adviser to the Governor of Kano State on Public Affairs




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