How improved is Nigerian democracy? Someone may ask. Nevertheless, Nigeria has recorded some levels of political development since 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule.
It is true that Nigeria has suffered from unstable governance, particularly, during military regime. After independence in 1960, the nation, Nigeria experienced civil war that lasted almost three years, that was between 1967 and 1970.
After the civil war, there was need for stabilized administration in the country, but unfortunately, the country was seized by some military leaders, and that was he beginning of military rule in Nigeria. Be that as it were, in 1999, Nigeria actually returned to democratic system of government.
For the last eighteen years, Nigeria has been experiencing peaceful transition from one democratic rule to another democratic rule. Eighteen good years of practicing democratic system of government, one would have expected Nigeria’s democracy to be improved, however, there are yet different problems in Nigeria, occasioned by weak democracy.
Problems such as social injustice, and human rights abuse, and imposition of political leaders on citizens, and tribal sentiments and marginalisation, and electoral malpractices and irregularities, and corruption and unemployment, including poor standard of living of Nigeria’s citizenry.
That is why in this article, we will be discussing those ways that could help improve Nigerian democracy. But before then, let us look at what is meant by democracy.
What Is Democracy?
Democracy, in simply language, is a kind of government, or a system of government, whereby, citizens of a nation exercise franchise by electing their fellow citizens whom they want to represent them in government. It is a system of government, where the views of the people are respected.
How to Improve Nigerian Democracy
I have said earlier that we will be discussing some of those ways to improve Nigerian democracy, and here we go.
1. Respecting the Rule Of Law
The idea of respecting the law of the land or having respect for the rule of law, is very very important in any democratic setting, the Nigerian political leaders and the entire citizens of this country must insist and advocate for the respect for the rule of law, if Nigerian democracy must be improved.
Having respect for the rule of law is one of the effective ways to improve Nigerian democracy, because where there is respect for the rule of law, democratic values would be sustained.
2. Encouraging Patriotism
Unpatriotic tendencies exemplified by the Nigerian political leaders, including political elites have threatened Nigerian democracy.
Our leaders, whom Nigerians entrusted with powers and who are expected to lead aright have disappointed Nigerians, therefore, to improve Nigerian democracy, Nigerian poltical leaders should implement democratic principles in Nigeria and become patriotic citizens of Nigerian nation..
3. Respecting Human Rights
Since democracy is viewed as the best system of government, which allowed for freedom of speech, respect for human rightss among others, these tenets of democratic rule should be sustained.
Having respect for human rights is one of the effective ways that could help improve Nigerian democracy. In democratic setting, citizens disagree to agree, it allowed for citizens to air their views, and when Nigerian”s views are respected, and their rights respected too, the likelihood is that it will help improve Nigerian democracy.
4. Encourage Sincerity Of Purpose In Governance
To improve Nigerian democracy, one of the effective ways is to encourage sincerity of purpose in the business of governance.
Practical and realistic measures should be put in place and such measures should tackle social injustice, and electoral malpractices and irregularities and corruption among other problems facing Nigeria.
And this call for magnanimity on the part of Nigerian leaders. Sincerity in governance is one way Nigerian democracy can be improved.
5. Addressing Obsolete Laws
There are some laws that are no more relevant to the system, and such laws do hampered proper and smooth functioning of government, and can even affect development, including commerce, and investment and diversification of economy among others.
Therefore, in Nigeria”s quest to improve its democracy, such obsolete laws need to be addressed by relevant authority particularly, when there is an opportunity to amend the Nigerian constitution.
6. Encouraging Cooperation and Dialogue among Arms of Government
To improve Nigerian democracy, there is need for dialogue and cooperation and continued engagement among the Executive, the Legislature and the judiciary, arms of government, such cooperation will enhance and sustain democracy thus, Nigerians would be offered the opportunity to maximize the dividends of democratic governance.
However friction can not be totally avoided among these arms of government, but be that as it may, the rule of law must be respected, while Nigerian leaders should guide against overlapping individual arm of government’s boundary.
Understanding of such will help bring about accountability, improve democracy as well as enhance governance.
7. Upholding the Principles of Democracy
More so, for democracy to be improved in Nigeria, there is need for democratic principles to be upheld.
There should be that concerted efforts on the part of every Nigerians particularly, Nigerian leaders, who saddled with the responsibility of formulating and implementing government policies to uphold the democratic principles.
Since Nigeria is operating a democratic system of government, the impact of democracy should be felt.
8. Military Should Be Discouraged From Meddling In Politics
Since Nigeria is operating a democratic system of government, the Nigerian military should be completely discouraged from meddling in politics. Nigeria is no more under the military regime hence, military should have no business with Nigerian politics.
Nigerians should not be taken back to those days of military rule, and Nigerians should not be talking about improving their democracy and would be allowing some privileged few to take the country back to that era, where the military were governing this country.
Truth be told, military administration is distant apart from that of democracy. it is an aberration to the principles of democracy.
9. Nigerian Political Leaders Should Put In Their Best To Improve Democracy
To improve democracy in Nigeria, political leaders have to put in their best, Nigerian leaders should learn how to be courageous in handling the affairs of the state, much more important now that there is an advocacy to restructure Nigeria.
There should be concerted efforts on the part of Nigerian leaders to build institutions with visionary leadership, and must be committed to bringing about positive change in Nigeria, this is very necessary if Nigerian democracy must be improved.
Nigeria has been experiencing peaceful transition from one democratic rule to another democratic rule since it returned to democratic system of government eighteen years ago. Yet there are some problems Nigerian leaders must work to solve.
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