BusinessDay

Why Nigeria’s democracy is failing – Ezekwesili

…as FixPolitics launches office of the citizen campaign

Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former minister of education and founder of #FixPolitics has blamed the failure of democracy and governance in Nigeria on apathy and lethargy of Nigerians toward the electoral process.

Ezekwesili stated this at the launch of the Office of The Citizen (OOTC) campaign in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday.

She noted that the situation has made the political class to be monopolistic in Nigeria’s democracy. She, however, expressed optimism that the increasing participation of citizens in the electoral process could open up the process.

“The apathy and the lethargy of Nigerians was what made the political class to be monopolistic in our democracy, but now that monopoly would gradually open up,” Ezekwesili said.

The former minister stated that the launch of the Office of The Citizen was to further give more drive to the quality of engagement that citizens must have in order to encourage responsive leadership and stop democracy from being a monopoly in Nigeria.

She further stressed that it would be impossible for Africa and Nigeria to overcome its challenges and attain the desired position, without a change in the leadership recruitment process.

Read also: 2023: Buhari, Sultan, Lumumba ask Nigerians to elect right leaders

According to her, “What we are doing today is to further accentuate the quality of engagement that citizens must have in order to break democracy from being a monopoly in our country and continent to becoming truly competitive.

“A competitive democracy is what leads to better quality of governance of the citizens and we know that without quality governance we are not going anywhere in our democracy”.

Bolatito Adeniyi-Aderoju, coordinated chairperson of Work Study Group 1, said the essence of setting up OOTC ahead of the 2023 general election, was to educate Nigerians and the electorate on the powers that they have and the need to make informed decisions when voting.

“The idea of the Office of The Citizen is to enlighten citizens on the powers that they have. Many times they feel that their votes wouldn’t count and yet people are buying these votes.

“Nobody buys anything for nothing. So, the idea is to encourage them to get their PVCs, go out and vote for credible candidates, good leaders.

“Office of The Citizens is bridging the knowledge gap between what the citizens know, and understanding that; even when they are selecting good leaders and all those people are in office you can hold them accountable”.

Anthony Ubani, executive director of #FixPolitics, said the launch of the OOTC was to work towards having informed, educated and empowered citizens ahead of the 2023 general election.

“Today is very significant, just like you have heard from the founder of #FixPolitics; we have a three-point agenda in ensuring that our democracy stands the way it should stand.

According to Ubani, “The first in that pillar is what we call empowered and engaged citizens. The second is being able to emerge, as transformational leaders, value-based leaders. The third is to have a reform of regulatory and constitutional order.

The OOTC campaign is a three-month campaign which will introduce and mobilise Nigerians to assume their roles as citizens and choose the best candidates in the 2023 general election.

This campaign will take place in Abuja and Lagos from November 2022 to January 2023.