Leading lawyer and former Deputy Director of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has take a hard look at Nigeria’s democractic journey, warning that “We can only celebrate the 2020 democracy day as democracy aspirations, dreams and hopes for Nigeria.”
In a press statement made available to CITY LAWYER to mark this year’s Democracy Day, the former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate observed that “electoral banditry has provided the impetus for seriously failed governance on human rights, damaged judiciary, poverty and insecurity,” adding that “What plays out especially at our State and local government levels are massive corruption and executive lawlessness.”
The full text of the statement is below:
We have not done well as a nation with regards to elections and rule of law. Our leaders and politicians have paid lip service to the tenets of democratic principles. There has not been any general elections that has not been hijacked by individuals and groups backed by governments through massive rigging, thuggery and brigandage. The same scenario plays out at party primaries. That culture of stealing and rigging elections has also permeated our other segments of society such as the Nigerian Bar Association at both the National and branch elections.
Many organisations and professional groups have also been enmeshed in rigging election as a way of life in Nigeria including elections of students unions. The Nation has not bled so much as it has in terms of failed democracy as we have witnessed especially since 2004 when we made the first effort to conduct a civilian to civilian transition elections. Our electoral umpire has largely colluded with our bandit political leaders and party men to foist on Nigeria a culture of dishonesty and fraud in the electoral process. We can hardly say that the leaders that emerge through these fraudulent elections were chosen by the people. And that is why they have hardly represented our interests. And because the electoral system and processes were stolen as a matter of course, it has been impossible to use democratic platforms provided in the constitution to check the excesses of mis-governance including recall of elected representatives at all levels.
This singular act of electoral banditry has provided the impetus for seriously failed governance on human rights, damaged judiciary, poverty and insecurity. What plays out especially at our State and local government levels are massive corruption and executive lawlessness. It is a shame that governance has not worked well in Nigeria since the return to civilian rule in 1999. We can only celebrate the 2020 democracy day as democracy aspirations, dreams and hopes for Nigeria.
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