Nothing has changed in Nigeria —Ex minister

Former Minister of State for Education, Professor Jerry Agada, in this short interview with JOHNSON BABAJIDE, noted that Nigeria is yet to get it right, despite 21 years of democracy.


OUR democracy is 21 years. As a political stakeholder and former minister of state, would you say Nigerians have fared better under democracy?

Ordinarily, between May 2019 and now, one would have said that democracy is maturing, because, at least, the military has not come to truncate it. We have succeeded in changing from one civilian administration to another. With this feat, we can give kudos to the operators of Nigeria’s democracy.

However, let me say that Nigerians have not felt the impact of democracy, because things are not getting better. A lot of things are going wrong as if we are not in democratic dispensation. The way Nigerian leaders handle situations clearly shows that we are still lagging behind in the practice of democracy in the country. If certain things happen to the ordinary people and other personalities, you would want to ask where the place of democracy is, to the extent that one would begin to ask whether Nigeria is operating democracy at all.

But I strongly believe that Nigerians are not happy with the current democratic settings in the country, because what is happening now in terms of our democratic experience is not the same as what operates in other places where democracy is being practised. Nigeria is operating a type of military-democracy rule that is to give order and say people must obey.


With what appears to be the failure of the political leadership in the provision of critical infrastructure, don’t you think military system is better than democracy?

No, military rule is an old fashion of rulership. If military takes over in Nigeria now, it cannot survive because no part of the world would recognise the government and that is why they are afraid of doing anything funny.


A section of Nigeria believes that the present administration does not respect human rights. What’s your assessment?

Look at the happenings presently. I’m talking about the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The military took over almost all the streets of Nigeria, abusing people. You read on the paper how the military punish innocent citizens of this country in the guise of implementing the lockdown order. Look at the recent happenings where the frontrunners of the COVID-19, I mean those engaged in essential services like medical doctors, nurses etc. were being harassed by security men.

So, I look at it that there is no total democracy in Nigeria and it will be worse under military regime.



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