Former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has warned Nigeria may experience what he termed “democratic quagmire” if the country fails to retrace its political steps to right direction.
He made the assertion while presenting his keynote address titled: “Respecting the Principles of Democracy” in Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
The former president noted that Nigeria’s democracy has gone through twists, dives and turns since political independence.
“The best of the country’s history has been the sustenance of democracy since the military transfer of power to an elected government in 1999,” he opined.
He, however, observed that there may be reasons to doubt how much lessons the leaders and followers have drawn from the country’s past and how far they are willing to go to deepen, widen and strengthen democracy and democratic practice.
The former president declared that the ways in which the political class has practised democracy, has deepened contradictions, negative coalitions, distrust, disloyalty and unpatriotic tendencies within and between communities and constituencies all over the country.
He stated that this means that there is a deep structural and philosophical problem that must be deal with.
He informed that if the practice of democracy is superficial and opportunistic and it is designed to pursue a struggle of limited objectives, it would precipitate variants of fractured engagements that cannot address structural and philosophical contradictions and challenges.
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“In fact, the order of the day would be community against community, religion against religion; ordinary citizens are then dragged into the directionless, meaningless and opportunistic personal or narrow ambitions of leaders.
“The end result will be confusion, diffusion, distraction and possibly leading to separation and disintegration.”
He stressed that democracy is possible in Nigeria and the people have the capacity to build a culture of democratisation.
However, he insisted that Nigerians must recognise and accept the fact that it is an evolutionary process with principles.
“Without retracing our political steps to the right direction, the current process will either not produce the right leaders or it will leave so many broken blocks on the path to governance and attract resources and energy away from the task of rebuilding Nigeria and consolidating our democratic practice.
“The result will be democratic quagmire, increased corruption, insecurity and survival of the fittest, richest and better connected with little or no recognition of merits,” he said.