By Kayode Adaramodu
When the Greeks thought of a system of governance that was all-inclusive, never would they have imagined that it would one day be the most preferred system of administering governance all over the world. From the great city of Athens to the famed halls of the American Capitol building, democracy has garnered strength all over.
Even the great President Abraham Lincoln attests to the inclusiveness of the democratic process and describes it as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. A quote that has reverberated the world over and Nigeria is not left out.
The beauty of the democratic process must have motivated the hearts and minds of Nigeria’s founding fathers to bond across ethnic and religious differences. This bond forged by the zeal to attain a common goal led to the attainment of independence in 1960.
Sadly, shortly after the attainment of independence, our young country soon found itself navigating the murky waters of religious and ethnic differences which culminated in incessant military interventions in governance. The end result of this series of interventions was the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, which signalled the birth of a new struggle in our dear nation.
Needless to say that on May 29th, 1999, the country returned to a democratic dispensation and the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12 dream was put to bed. But has the country really enjoyed the dividends of the June 12 struggle?
In his 1999 speech delivered in Nigeria, former United States president Bill Clinton, posed a series of questions in which he asked, “can a great country that is home to one in six Africans succeeds in building a democracy amidst so much trouble?
Can a developing country, blessed with enormous human and natural resources, thrive in a global economy and lift all its people?
Can a nation so blessed by the verge and vigour of countless traditions and many faiths be enriched by it? I believe the answer to all those questions can and must be, Yes”.
While Bill Clinton saw a way for the nation to progress, the country’s reality has been far from that. The successive Nigerian government in this democratic dispensation has continued to make light of the supreme sacrifice paid by those who fought for the return of the country to democratic rule.
From 1999 till date, our nation has experienced woes of bad governance, corruption of epic magnitude, series of human rights abuses as well as economic downturns. In the last few years, security has taken a turn for the worse also, and most recently, the country appears to be seemingly retrogressing from democratic principles. Sadly, my dear state, Ekiti, has not been entirely immune to these multitudes of woes.
The journey so far has not been all bleak for my country Nigeria as well as my State Ekiti. Far and few in between, some government policies have been geared towards the right direction. We must agree that Democracy is far better than military dictatorship.
Since 1999, we the people, have through our democratic institutions, made laws and policies that directly advanced the course of the people.
In fact, without democracy, people like us will not have any chance whatsoever to aspire to lead our people, as we are doing now. Whatever plans I have for our people is a direct reflection of our interactions due to the liberty of association, guaranteed by democracy.
We can take pride in the fact that as a nation and State, we have lived together surmounting various challenges, and I believe that as the Fountain of knowledge, the poor delivery of the dividends of democracy only stands to improve more with the right calibre of servant-leaders at the helms of State affairs.
I will continue to put in my bit for a better Ekiti knowing fully well that someday on the near horizon, we shall once more reap the beauty of our democratic process.
We must change the narrative!
We will revive Agriculture; we are an agrarian State. We must bring back our textile industry, creatively employ our youths and empower our women. We will invest more in Education. Our processes will benefit from the emerging opportunities in digital technologies.
My sleeves are already rolled up, my strategy is ready.
It is up to you and me, we won’t let the pain outweigh the gain. It is time for us to start to see our desired change.
God bless the people of Ekiti state, God bless Nigeria.
Adaramodu is a Policy Consultant and 2022 Governorship Aspirant in Ekiti.