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Experts lament non-usage of natural endowment for national development

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Experts have identified Nigeria’s inability to channel her natural endowment to human capital development as bane of its development.

The experts submitted that the tenets of democracy had not festered as expected since the return of civil rule in 1999.

Speaking at a policy dialogue webinar supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation West Africa, a Professor of Political Science and Strategic Studies at the National Defence College Nigeria, Gani Yoroms, who spoke on the theme, “The 2019 elections and the democratic backslides in Nigeria,” urged civil society groups to rise up in defence of democratic processes. 

He added: “The summary of our interrogation is that the 2019 election may express the beginning of the backsliding stage of democratisation in Nigeria. However, the present administration still has a chance to rebuild the confidence of the electorate and the population in the democratic process. But in all indications it is impossible for the regime in power to do this. The onus is on civil societies to strive to build democracy from its backsliding.”

Yoroms held that the controversy surrounding the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral law was another issue that indeed contributed to the possibility of democratic backsliding.

On his part, Dr Musa Ibori, who is of the faculty of Social Sciences, University of Abuja, submitted that lack of organic citizenship has made Nigeria a waste land of political opportunism, as national resources are squandered to appease the appetite of self–aggrandizement. 

He further observed that the danger in such a political behaviour is that democratic process is compromised to serve narrow interest instead of using it as instrument for national cohesion.
 
Ibori insisted that if the consent of the governed is sought in the leadership recruitment process, it is an opportunity to have the much needed charismatic leadership in a country like Nigeria, who will rather combine the diversity to build a very strong and cohesive nation.

He argued that democratic process should be consolidated rather than reversing the gains already made. 
 
“The independence of the electoral body can only be ensured if it is financially independent. No serious democracy can flourish in an atmosphere of insecurity. While the citizens should be protected to freely express their franchise, electoral institutions must also be protected and strengthened to serve their objectives. Voters’ confidence in the electoral system can only be revitalised if necessary measures are put in place to ensure transparency. The use of electronic voting systems can go a long way in boosting the morale of electorates.

“There should be regular interface among the critical stakeholders like the government, political parties and civil society organizations on how to ensure free, fair and transparent elections devoid of security threat and intimidation.”

 


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