One of U.S past president, Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. This statement makes emphasis on the people or the polis as the center and main focus of every government. Policies, laws, constitutional amendments, and the likes are focused on ensuring the safety of the populace.
In 2018, Nigeria declared June 12 as the official day to celebrate democracy in the country which was to commemorate the June 12, 1993 election which was regarded as the only free and fair election in the country. The purpose of democracy is to establish a people led government which is why the voices of the people are very important.
Well, with the current situation of things in Nigeria, the word “Democracy” is only just a word in our mouths and not a completely practiced system. This is not to criticize the government because it has not solved any of our problems. Is it not amazing how recently the government decided to implement a ban on twitter within 24 hours of its announcement? Like, that was the fastest thing I have seen the government implement in years.
Across the country, youths decided to stage a peaceful protest to exercise their right but security personnel were sent to the streets in large numbers to ensure it does not hold. This got me shocked because cases of killing, kidnapping and other social vices have been trailing the country, yet the government did not send in the security personnel to ensure safety and curb the insecurity. My question now is where is the democracy?
In a country where we don’t have freedom to speak against the wrong doings of the government either through the internet or through peaceful demonstrations, what then is the democracy we are talking about? So, we are celebrating democracy today, but the truth is we have no clue as to what we are celebrating.
In summary, democracy in Nigeria is still an irony until a people led government becomes the order of the day. Has the government failed her citizens, yes! Have the government failed to observe the principles of democracy, yes! What can be they do? Let them revisit the constitution and do what is necessary.