Nigeria’s democracy not delivering dividends – Jega

Abuja, Feb. 9, 2018 (TNE) Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Friday said Nigeria’s democracy is not delivering dividends to the people due to the autocratic nature of politicians.

He said these politicians, ”obviously were connected to military rule”.

Jega made this known while contributing in a panel discussion on “Three Decades of Democratic Transition in Africa’’ organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja.

According to him, Africa’s democracy, instead of providing the dividends to the people, is creating instability and crisis.

The former INEC chairman said “the challenges most African countries are faced with is that democratisation in most of the countries are on account of legacies of military rule.

“Clearly, everybody knows that military rule is an aberration, and if it has done anything on our continent here in Africa, it is that it has created very dangerous legacies.

“In Nigeria, we have been talking about `militicians’; many of the prominent politicians now are people who learnt politics under military rule, particularly under the Babangida politics of transition.

“Many of them now have a do-or-die mentality of engaging in election and it is a mindset that was imbibed under the military rule.’’

He said that there is a growing frustration that democracy is not delivering what was expected of it whether in terms of legitimacy of regimes, in terms of stability, peaceful coexistence and quality of governance.

“Most times, the electoral process is just a routine because candidates who do not represent the people are imposed on the people. So, the lack of integrity of the election coming from a military approach is responsible for undermining democracy in Africa.’’

Jega, however, advised that caution should be taken in proffering solution to the challenges of democracy, saying “yes, democracy may be challenging, but we can address this within the democratic framework.’’

He added that military rule is not the solution to democratic challenges because it will exacerbate the issue because no country has successfully developed with a military mindset.

He said that one of the key tenets of electoral democracy is regularity of elections, but noted that although most African countries now conduct elections regularly, the quality of these elections are not sound.

Jega called on Nigerians to rethink the practice of democracy to enable it to drive development and impact positively on the well-being of citizens.

The Director of CDD, Ms Idayat Hassan, said that Africa is practising a hybrid system of democracy, adding that although Africans practise democracy, it has become authoritarian for selfish reasons.

Hassan said that successive administrations in the country have continued to use democracy to their personal advantage.

Hassan said that real democracy should be inclusive and delivering development to the people.


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