Friday, 03 June 2005
Democracy Day: Cause For Celebrations!
How Can We Forget?
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Many have commented on whether there is any cause for the average Nigerian to celebrate Democracy Day, at all, as if nothing has changed in Nigeria in the past six years of civilian government. There are reasons for the average Nigerian at home and abroad to celebrate our achievements, albeit, modest at they may have been.
The important focus ought to be the structures and foundations that are being laid through reforms and new policies that are being formulated and implemented. I feel compelled to remind Nigerians that it took quite a while for Nigerians to find Nigeria in the funk, national economic and political malaise that Nigerians have had to endure, funk and malaise inherited by the current government at all levels in Nigeria
I equally feel compelled to remind us all, that only disingenuous or mischievous persons would expect overnight successes as we fight the ills that ails our society, it takes about a generation to change national habits or attitudes completely, it takes economic cycle to re-order any economy and cause the improvement of employment and production environments. Enhancing production capacity that had been moribund, as it has been the case in Nigeria, it is not and will not be magical, even though all Nigerians, including myself, wish that things are much better, in the shortest and fastest time, for our people in Nigeria right now or since 1999
It is of course a fact, that we have expectation fatigue, particularly because we have had a sort of collective deprivations for decades now, it is therefore as if, every effort, even the best efforts, made to ameliorate the conditions, is just as if water is being poured in a basket.
We must realize however, that Nigeria was not always like it became before 1999, Nigeria will not always be in the challenging conditions as we have them now.
I am confident that there are good, excellent policies that are being formulated and implemented now, for which immediate or discernable results may not be felt, but soon, these policies and measures, will culminate in the Nigeria we need, these will lead Nigeria to sure-footed economic and political advancements, there are indicators, that are already apparent to keen observers, of Nigeria’s economic and political indices. Key international institutions are also saying so.
We ought to congratulate ourselves on our new fortune of representative government, we ought to, only ask that imperfect democracy is improved minutely, to become more fair and equitable, we ought not be saying there are no benefits in democracy, defined only, by loaves of bread or mounds of garri and tubers of yams alone. We ought to sincerely believe that our country is on the march forward and the best days for Nigeria and Nigerians are ahead of us.
Nigerians at home and abroad, must impress it upon our government, at national, state and local government levels, that our public resources must hence be devoted to the service of our people we ought to demand continuous improvements in policies formulations, implementations or executions.
Great societies are born or made, through sustained efforts by governments and citizens in multiple pronged approach of partnering to make good governance second nature, our government at all levels must do its part, the non-governmental organizations must do their part, and of course, the citizens must fulfill their own duty, responsibility and obligations! The government and people of Nigeria have, together, a great stake in the outcome of Nigeria, the public and private sector, the government and the citizens ought to make commitment to continually work together in sustained-focused manner, to make Nigeria into what we so much say we desire. All Nigerians must become more passionate about Nigeria.
A good country is not something that drops from the sky or something that is foisted upon a country by a president or a particular government, it is a rather, a joint venture comprising of leaders and the led, it is a collective endeavor for all. If Nigeria were a corporation, we ought to see Democracy Day as an Annual General Meeting, to take stock, compare notes on profits and loss, not just loss. And we ought to return to our locales seeking reformations that will lead to profits, it is not enough to continually berate the board of directors, while we act as careless and absentee shareholders! We ought to take daily interests, daily efforts at participating in the building of a great Nigeria that last till the end of time!
Nigerians ought to be expansive, effusive and forward looking in assessing the improvements, the benefits, both tangible and intangible, bestowed on Nigeria, since the inception of democratic governance in May 1999