Deepening Nigeria’s Democracy

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Today is Democracy Day in Nigeria, but unlike other years it is also a day when a new government will be inaugurated at the Federal level and 33 of the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a day of great activities in the polity.
On the surface, it is a day that can be used to measure the growth of democracy in Nigeria. It is a milestone to celebrate for at least two reasons: that despite the fear preceding the 2015 elections, peace prevailed. Similarly predictions that Nigeria would collapse in 2015 also failed.
On these accounts, The Tide congratulates Nigerians as a whole. We also congratulate the man declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. Also deserving of our congratulations are the persons who will be taking oath of office as governors, especially Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
For some time now, many Nigerians have concerned themselves with the need to deepen democratic ethos in Nigeria. But the more the ordinary people ask for good governance, peace, justice and development, the less they seem to get. Indeed, the case of corruption in government and the disregard for the rule of law have become a culture.
Sadly, even as so much is apparently going wrong in the polity, some persons resort to praising persons in government for reasons that may be obvious to many. In fact, Nigeria has developed a culture of hero worship, and the king does no wrong. Whereas democracy requires service and accountability from elected officers, Nigerians give them the status of the gods.

ordinary people ask for good governance, peace, justice and development, the less they seem to get. Indeed, the case of corruption in government and the disregard for the rule of law have become a culture.
Sadly, even as so much is apparently going wrong in the polity, some persons resort to praising persons in government for reasons that may be obvious to many. In fact, Nigeria has developed a culture of hero worship, and the king does no wrong. Whereas democracy requires service and accountability from elected officers, Nigerians give them the status of the gods.
Democracy is still believed to be the best form of government by many because it is supposed to guarantee a number of ideals. They include; to enable the people choose their leaders in free and fair elections; guarantee the rule of law and free and competitive market economy.
In addition to the fact that not too many Nigerians will agree that the ideals stated above are achieved, the ordinary Nigerians are so dissatisfied with government at all the levels, even when people is the central theme in democracy. Some even think that democracy had brought more evil than good.
Nigeria may be mocking herself with the celebration of Democracy Day, if the leaders and the people do not stop and reflect on the journey so far. People must ask themselves how and why some Nigerians risked their lives to enthrone democracy in Nigeria.
Democracy which had improved the lot of other lands appears to compound the case of Nigeria. Politicians who took advantage of the democratic environment promoted ethnic, sectoral and self-serving politics. They compromised the law, encouraged mediocrity and impunity.
Unlike other lands, elections in Nigeria shame the people. Until now the cost of governance in Nigeria is scandalous. In fact, the politicians had no qualms being the highest paid elected leaders in the world. Even as the nation’s economy drops our legislators earn more than the President of the United States.
Successive administrations across the country did not allow mere freedom of expression. In some States, persons who were perceived to be too critical were chased out of town or killed. Some had governors that operated as Sole Administrators as the other arms of government were shut down.
In the midst of complaints like these, legislators started working on laws that would grant them pension, immunity and life assurance policies. Meanwhile, the workforce could not enjoy the full implementation of the National Minimum Wage, nor were steps taken to  stop pensioners from going to their untimely grave.
This is not the democracy Nigerians voted for and unless the people insist on the right tenets of democracy the nation will continue to suffer. Civil societies, the international community and the judiciary must act now and bring everyone under the law if Nigeria must join the league of advanced nations.
While we endorse the expectation of change by many Nigerians, The Tide expects that the Buhari administration will concern itself with deepening democracy in Nigeria. If this is the only thing the administration achieves, Nigerians will be appreciative beyond measure.
All Hail Nyesom Wike
Rivers State will receive Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike as her new Governor today. He will be taking office after unprecedented attempts to scuttle the swearing-in of today. He will also return the state to the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
We are pleased to congratulate him and his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo on their electoral successes and to welcome them to the office of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Rivers State.
The new governor will not need to be reminded of the enormous responsibility that awaits him. In addition to the security, developmental and systemic challenges, this administration should hurry to re-unite sections of the State.
He must resist the temptation of playing to the gallery in Abuja and start the process of meeting the real needs of the people. Rivers State must return to her people, they must control the economy and the apparatuses of power and administration.