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I have always been in the number that believes strongly that Nigeria will reclaim its role as the giant of Africa. Year in, year out, I struggle to keep this hope alive regardless of the realities on ground. However, it became harder to profess faith in my motherland when February happened. We had trusted INEC for an efficient process in the presidential election but there seemed to be a commitment to dishonour Nigerians yet again.
With the chains of electoral malpractice witnessed and recorded across the country, it still baffles me
that a ‘winner’ was declared at a time when citizens were not just asleep but a time when results were still being uploaded on the database. Isn’t it iron
ical that we are marking Democracy Day today? If there is anything I remember from my Social Studies class in secondary school, it would be the definition of democracy – the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Sadly, the state of the nation consistently debunks the notion that power belongs to the people.
It’s been 24 years since Nigeria ended its toxic relationship with the military regime in order to embrace
democracy but it feels like that was more of a ceremony for the books and not a call to action. As we
mark this day’s event, I am here to declare, “LET DEMOCRACY BREATHE; DON’T SUFFOCATE IT. WE HAVE THAT RESPONSIBILIITY.”
I am particularly excited that the presidential election results are being contested at the court of law. I do not appreciate how easily the narrative of coerced acceptance of the spectrum of electoral irregularities have continued to be pushed on citizens per election cycle. It is high time justice prevailed. The last presidential election was plagued with unfortunate circumstances. In some polling units, citizens were denied their rights to vote because of their ethnicity, while some other units had their share of violence. Despite the hitches, it was inspiring to see Nigerians resisting the urge of hopelessness until surviving votes were counted.
It Is important to reiterate that leading Nigeria is not a personal community development project. It is absolute service to those who have elected you to lead. Election is not selection, recommendation or appointment. Elections do not follow the structure of royalty; political positions are not hierarchical. The will of the people at the polling booths decides who leads. If this basic principle of democracy is compromised, then there is a problem.
The solution Is not to chant RENEWED HOPE. The way forward is to ensure the judiciary is fully independent and allowed to follow the due course of the law.
Nigeria deserves a government led by duly elected officials who can be held accountable. The structure of accountability takes into consideration the fallibility of humans hence, serving as a framework for acts of service as and when due. Those who are courageous to go to the court do not trust in the delusion that they would fix Nigeria in a minute. They are motivated by the belief that Nigeria is ours and not a parcel of inheritance. They understand that to clean up the mess that has gravely engrossed the system takes creativity, efficiency, proactiveness, transparency, firmness and discipline. Their goal is simple, to Make Nigeria Great Again. They are certain that the success of Nigeria is a collective commitment and it
is greater than anyone’s personal ambition.
Without mincing words, I am forever a fan of a system that is designed to meet the needs of the people through empathy, realistic policies and no violence. I hope that by this time next year, we would look back and be grateful that democracy is not just breathing but flourishing.
I would rather wish you a happy holiday my fellow Nigerian. May justice be our reward.
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