Nigeria’s democracy still fragile ―Dogara
THE Speaker, House of Representatives Honourable Yakubu Dogara on Monday said that despite 19 years of the return to civilian rule, Nigeria’s democracy is still very fragile warning that those in the position of power should be careful not to truncate it.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja at the 2018 Democracy Day Lecture, Hon Dogara cautioned that all over the world, democracies nowadays hardly die at the hands of people with guns but in the hands of civilians leaders who have dubious allegiance to democratic norms and values.
He noted that elections have sometimes produced enemies of democracy and urged the citizens to be eternally vigilant in order to protect and defend our hard-earned democracy.
The Speaker argued that there is every reason for Nigerians to celebrate almost two decades of the civilian rule because the beauty of democracy is that it gives hope for a better future to the people and that history shows that the rich and powerful have always interchanged places with the poor and vulnerable.
He further stated that it is consensus and compromise that drive the wheels of democracy and urged those who hold levers of power to resist the temptation of sliding into dictatorship because tyrants and dictators have always ended miserably such as the likes of Mussolini, Hitler, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and others.
According to him, “It is a great privilege for me to stand before you on this auspicious day of marking what the freedoms associated with democracy mean to us. I want to particularly thank Mr President for deciding that we invest this day in celebrating those who made the sacrifice to bring us here, and what we have been able to as a nation use this opportunity to achieve.
” I believe he will be marking his third year in Office by tomorrow. As it is said in Hausa: the song is sweeter to listen to from the mouth of the composer. I believe he will be able to tell us as a nation what these three years as the system has meant to us”.
Speaking further, he said that, “Any generation that has gone to sleep would have awakened to the rude shock that the Courts and other democratic institutions have been weaponized against them, and as much they have become subjects, instead of citizens, where obeisance to the government is demanded as against the government fearing the people. That must not be the case with our own democracy, and for us to ensure that our democracy survives, we have to be eternally vigilant.
” Let me also talk about tyrants, despots, those who threaten democracy, enemies of open society. As a matter of fact, we don’t have to dig too deep down moral lanes to be able to fetch some moral lessons to warn them, as history is an open book to them. It doesn’t matter whether they are dictators who came before Hitler, to dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, name them, Sadam Hussein, Mumar Ghadhafi, a certain charging has ended their lives.
“And it would be wrong for us to think that we can do what they did, and not see what they saw. As a matter of fact, the beauty of democracy is in forbearance. Those of us who are true democrats here will exhibit light in the way and manner in which we carry out institutional prerogatives with forbearance and with grace, those are true democrats”, he stated.