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20 Years After: Nigerians yet to enjoy dividends of democracy — Onitiri

Lagos Central Senatorial candidate in the just-concluded elections, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, has rated democracy low in Nigeria 20 years after the end of military rule.


Nigeria returned to democracy on May 29, 1999, after prolonged military rule.

In a press statement in Lagos yesterday, Onitiri said that “despite 20 years of democracy, Nigeria is not yet out of the woods and our citizens are the worst for it because of poor leadership.”

Speaking ahead of the May 29 anniversary, the former senatorial candidate said: “Nigeria celebrating 20 uneventful years of democracy. As one of those who fought for this fledgeling democracy, I stand to say boldly that Nigerians are yet to enjoy dividends of democracy because of poor, inefficient, selfish and corrupt leadership foisted on the country. “Our citizens are the worse for it.

It is sad to observe that we are yet to enjoy basic amenities of life that developed countries enjoy such as uninterrupted electricity supply, potable drinking water, good roads, access to health facilities and good, quality education almost 60 years after independence.”

Onitiri, who is among the arrowheads of the late Chief MKO Abiola’s Epetedo declaration in 1994, lamented:” We fought to drive away military regime in 1992/1999 but the military dropped their khaki and hijacked our struggle in agbada.

“What you don’t have you can never give. The retired military in agbada can never give us dividends of democracy. No wonder you now see rising cases of insurgency, kidnapping,   killer-herdsmen, wanton killing of innocent Nigerians and other criminal activities.”

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The PDP chieftain claimed that Nigeria is now in dire and urgent need of good leaders with the fear of God and love of the people.   “Nigeria needs leaders such as we have in Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore. We fervently need leaders that want to genuinely serve the people and not looters and wasters of our commonwealth”.

He admonished the newly elected leaders not to embark on new projects but strive to complete abandoned projects that litter the nooks and crannies of the country.

“All our political structures should be strengthened and the doctrine of separation of power reinforced.   We need to deemphasise the use of money in our politics.”

Onitiri suggested that all political appointments and emoluments be reduced by half and savings therefrom spent on the empowerment of youths and women.

According to him, a country that is so blessed with human and natural resources should not be left to rot and be ridiculed by developed nations due to lack of good leadership.   “Our destiny is in our hands. Let us salvage the country together. Let us give our youths the chance to govern and turn the country around. Our suffering and poverty is ENOUGH. O TO GE E!” he admonished.

The PDP chief warned that our leaders urgently needed to attend to the impending/looming revolution of the unemployed youths by implementing serious empowerment programmes and skill acquisition, instead of the huge resources wastefully spent on military gadgets and combating insurgency and criminals.

“The situation in Nigeria is getting worse instead of getting better. The patience of Nigerians has expired and we are sitting on a time-bomb that can explode anytime. The newly elected leaders should strive to complete all abandoned projects and not embark on new ones. They owe the nation a robust and efficient leadership”, he said.

He stressed that the new leadership should focus on the poor masses, saying their programmes should be people-oriented.

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