Miracle Akubuo

The democratic system in Nigeria has been instrumental in countering rigging, malpractice, and other electoral irregularities. Democracy brings joy to citizens as it offers the freedom to vote for their preferred candidates, providing a sense of ease and protection against past issues like military rule. 

However, the effectiveness of Nigeria’s democratic system has faced challenges and has not fully met expectations. 

The Role of Democracy in Nigeria

Transition from Military Rule

Democracy has played a significant role in Nigeria by ending the era of bloody military regimes. It provided an opportunity for civilian rule, offering a more stable and accountable form of government.

Advocates for Independence

Key figures like Enahoro and Remi Fani-Kayode fought for Nigeria’s independence and democratic system. Their efforts laid the foundation for the democratic structure that followed.

Good Governance and People

Democracy is essential for good governance, as it enables effective decision-making processes that reflect the will of the people. A well-functioning democracy fosters good governance, which, in turn, benefits the populace.

Read also, Democracy Day: Celebrating Nigeria’s Journey towards Freedom

Shortcomings of Nigeria’s Democratic System

Persistence of Militant Influence

Despite the adoption of democracy, Nigeria still faces challenges with militant groups. The spirit and influence of militancy persist, hindering the full realization of the democratic system’s potential.

Corruption and Embezzlement

Corruption, particularly in the form of embezzlement, remains a prevalent issue in Nigeria’s political landscape. This undermines the trust and effectiveness of the democratic system.

Lack of Peaceful Transition of Power

Smooth transitions of power are crucial for democracy’s success. Unfortunately, Nigeria has experienced instances of contested elections and difficulties in peaceful transfers of power, which undermine the system’s stability.

Abuse of Authoritarian Power

Instances of abuse of power by political leaders have challenged the democratic system. While the military regime had its shortcomings, the shortcomings of democracy, such as secretive decision-making processes, come to light more readily.

Examining Freedom and Transparency in Nigeria’s Democracy

Freedom and Limitations

Freedom is a cherished aspect of democracy, yet in Nigeria, freedom has been compromised. Polling units have become arenas of violence, suppressing the exercise of citizens’ rights. The concept of freedom needs to be reevaluated in light of these challenges.

Transparency and Accountability

Transparency is a fundamental pillar of democracy, but its implementation in Nigeria has fallen short of expectations. Transparency alone cannot solve the issues; it must be complemented by freedom and trust. Instances of corruption and the dissipation of public funds highlight the need for enhanced transparency and accountability in governance.

Efforts to Improve Nigeria’s Democratic System

Innovative Election Systems

Proposals such as the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) demonstrate the Independent National Electoral Commission’s commitment to improving the electoral process. However, effective implementation is crucial for achieving the desired outcomes.

Accountability of Academic Staff Union

The failure of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to account for check-off dues has also contributed to challenges within Nigeria’s democratic system. Ensuring accountability across all sectors is vital for the overall success of democracy.

Democracy remains a critical system for Nigeria’s governance, offering opportunities for citizen participation, good governance, and accountable leadership. However, challenges such as militant influences, corruption, and shortcomings in transparency need to be addressed to maximize the system’s benefits. Enhancing freedom, transparency, accountability, and peaceful transitions of power are essential for Nigeria to build a strong and thriving democratic system that truly serves its people.

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