Nigerians have called on the Federal Government to tackle corruption, election malpractice and power outage to free the country from some of its current challenges.
Nigerians, who expressed their views on the anniversary of democracy in Nigeria, identified challenges militating against the development of the nation’s democracy.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Jos, Lokoja, Abeokuta, Kano, Katsina, Ilorin, Eket, Jalingo and Osogbo, Nigerians noted that there were many things to celebrate in the nation’s 14th anniversary in spite of some challenges.
Lawal Abdurrasheed, a lecturer at Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, said corruption and election malpractice were responsible for increasing poverty, unemployment and insecurity in the country.
He stressed the need for stakeholders in the electoral process to ensure credible elections in line with the Federal Government’s agenda.
Mustpha Inuwa, a prominent politician in Katsina, also said that “unless election malpractice was addressed, democracy in Nigeria might not progress”.
He urged electoral bodies and other stakeholders to ensure acceptable, free and fair elections for the development of democracy in the country.
Julian Wogu, an educationist, said in Port Harcourt that it was necessary to make adequate plans for youth empowerment for nation’s democracy to succeed.
Wogu lauded the inception of democracy in the country since 1999, saying that the journey from the military era to the current regime was a good thing that happened in the history of Nigeria.
A cross section of others that spoke urged government to address the issues of youth empowerment, insecurity and poverty.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osogbo expressed divergent views on the celebration of May 29, as Democracy Day in the country.
Ganiyu Ola-Oluwa, chairman, Osun chapter of the PDP, who upheld May 29 date, said all Nigerians, regardless of political divides, should always strive to protect the nation’s democracy.
“The worst form of democracy is better than any military arrangement. Although Nigerians want more out of democracy, there is the need to appreciate the progress made so far,” Ola-Oluwa said.
Adesoji Masilo, state financial secretary of the Association for Collaborating Political Parties (ACPP) in Osun, also expressed support for Democracy Day in spite of challenges.
“We have moved from the zero point. Nigerians have reasons to mark Democracy Day on May 29.
“I only want to charge voters to always vote wisely, understanding the power in their vote”, Masilo said.
In Lafia, a former member of the National Assembly representing Keffi/Kokona federal constituency, Ahmed Wadada, said the journey so far had been impressive.
He said some milestone had been achieved in spite of the enormous challenges facing the system.
Also, a senior lecturer in the department of Political Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Collins Okafor, commended the Federal Government for its resolve to ensure that peace and security returned to all parts of the country.
Okafor lauded the improvement in the budgetary allocation to the education sector.
“Generally, it has been a great democratic experience, despite the challenges, government has applied the best approach to peace process in the country,” he said.
Tahir Fadallah, chairman of the Kano Lebanese Community, said various changes had occurred in Nigeria than expected, adding that Nigerians should exercise more patience with their leaders.
He said that democracy strived in all ramifications, saying that programmes that would create more jobs for the youth would move the nation forward.
In Jalingo, Akure, Lafia, Gombe, Bauchi, Makurdi, Birnin Kebbi, Port Harcourt and Awka, a number of Nigerians expressed the belief that standard of leaving had been raised across the country.
Most respondents also urged the Federal Government to initiate more reforms that would assist to create more jobs for the youth and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.
Charity Green, Taraba commissioner for women affairs and child development, said democracy had led to the enactment of the child’s right law, seeking to improve the lives of our children.