Democracy Day: We Started Well In 1999 But Have Now Deteriorated – Peter Obi

As our dear nation marks Democracy Day today, commemorating 25 years of striving to be a democratic country, the fundamental question for all of us remains: Are we truly democratic?

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. True democracy should be people-oriented, where the rights of citizens are respected, the laws are obeyed, the leaders remain accountable to the people, and people's welfare and care, especially for the poor, become paramount and high priorities. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case in our situation. To further illustrate that we are not truly democratic and have only produced the vices enumerated above,

we are now 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.

Let us, therefore, use the commemoration of June 12 as an occasion to return to a truly democratic nation. We achieved that feat on June 12, 1993, by collectively voting for democracy in Nigeria. We must stand in defense of Nigeria's democracy today.

I urge everyone to respect and protect the institutions of the democratic state, obey the governing laws of the state, be accountable to the people, and fulfill the responsibilities of responsible governance as contained in the constitution.

As we build a New Nigeria, these tenets shall be the pillars of our true democracy. It is possible. -PO

Last updated on July 10th, 2024 at 11:55 pm

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