AS we approach the the general elections tomorrow, March 28 and April 11, 2015, enthronement of democratic principles and standard is sine qua non. it is an acceptable truism that one of the political realities of our contemporary global system is democracy.
It is a political process which focuses on the necessity and imperative of governments to rule only by the Consent of the majority. The popular belief Is that properly understood and practised, democracy can remove the layers of national socio-economic and political darkness. Countries that have attained the Status of mature democracy Continue to insist that It will be absolutely difficult to get things done in pluralistic society with poor records of democratic values and practices.
WITH the way things are going politically in contemporary Nigeria, it is very doubtful, whether Nigerians will ever realise the dreams of allowing democratic tenets to influence the Country’s political life.
IN this connection, democratic reality implies that all Nigerians must be willing to take difficult democratic decisions, and must see the benefits in supporting their Country’s democratic Institutions by exercising their franchise as voters, known collectively as the electorate. With the current state of democracy in the country, many Nigerians have openly wondered whether the struggle. For political independence was a worthwhile exercise. Clearly, all is not well with democracy in Nigeria. Still, democracy remains the only viable and sustainable weapon for tackling national backwardness and for securing recognition and respect from the international community. No one will ever doubt the political fact that a strong democratic foundation will provide Nigerians with the opportunity to. choose their own future.
THERE is need for all Nigerians to work together democratically, and openly express, indeed, demonstrate their commitments to the development of democracy. One of the disturbing features of the Nigerian democracy is that the Nigerian elite have not demonstrated enough support for the country’s democratic process, especially in times of increasing political uncertainties. The bulk of the Nigerian elite have virtually abandoned political involvement in government and governance. They have left the process of democratic development in the hands of the ‘politicians,” which may well explain the low level of adherence to democratic procedures and values in the country *
ONE of the reasons why most of the highly development States are experiencing stable democracy is the undiluted commitments of their elite to ensuring right political governance. It must be repeatedly stressed that Nigeria will find it hard to rise to the much desired political status of becoming one of the most stable and progressive democracy, if the Nigerian elite choose to remain on the political fence, or exist as mere political spectators. Undoubtedly, the Nigeria elite can, just as their overseas counterparts have demonstrated, contribute to the growth Of the Nigerian democracy. Greater elite participation in the country’s democratic process must become the defining characteristics of Nigeria’s political System. Despite marking 54 years as a nation, the political attitude of the majority of the Nigerian elite has been predominantly negative. It thus appears that Nigeria’s efforts to advance democratically will require a new shift in favour of greater elite involvement in the nation’s politics.
THERE is no doubt that the degree of support for democracy is largely influenced by economic fortunes. This means that the 71 percent of Nigerians living below the poverty line, by international estimates or the 54 percent poor Nigerians, by a 2005 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report, are not economically motivated to demonstrate sufficient and effective support for Nigerias democracy. All the same, the less privileged classes In Nigeria can offer considerable support for achieving sustainable democracy in Nigeria, if they can be overtly organized into pro-democratic groups. The current economic and political reform efforts may well push less economically empowered Nigerians from their economic adversities right up to the middle class bracket. Economically and socially disadvantaged Nigerians may well discover in the long-run how support for democracy can widen opportunities for political influence and business.
SINCE independence in Nigeria in 1960, it is reasonable to infer that the country has failed to enthrone a durable and sustainable democracy in our democratic efforts in the last 15 years. The appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as INEC Chairman, was an attempt to ensure flawless election but recent outcry against him on the issue of polling units is a litmus test
By all standards, the path to democratic development in the country will require joint political efforts between the ruling party, political parties and most importantly, the Nigerian electorate. Clearly, in a pluralistic society like Nigeria, democratic enthronement is possible, only If there is organizational unity at all levels of governance. The Nigerian elite, the electronic and the Print Media, have significant roles in the race to reach democratic maturity, by helping the people to understand the democratic process, guide them to appreciate what Nigerians want from the country’s democracy as well as outline the structure of democratic opportunities the Nigerian political system can support.