Ali Abbas, an Associate Prof has explained Nigeria’s political development, challenges under democratic dispensation and way forward.
Abbas, who was also the former Head of Department Political Science, Yobe State University made the comment in an exclusive interview on Thursday in Damaturu to commemorate Nigeria’s 62nd anniversary celebrations.
He said one of the most notable democratic development Nigeria enjoyed was 23 years uninterrupted democracy.
“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that we enjoyed democracy for such long time without military intervention.
“This means our democracy is consolidating. It means the only process of acquiring power is through democratic process, as provided by the Constitution of the country. It also means politically Nigeria is maturing.”, he explained.
He added that Nigerians were orientated and had became aware that the only means of possessing power is to get votes from the people.
“Therefore, whoever wants to have power, most play by the rules of the game of contesting and winning elections.”, he added.
Abbas said another political development was having a electoral reform in the country.
He said before then, there were a lot of pre and post-election violence, which according to him had drastically reduced.
The scholar also looked into some of the challenges Nigeria is facing on democratic dispensation.
“Though democracy provided all the opportunities to elect our leaders, it also further divided Nigeria along ethnicity, religious among other social divisions. Which unfortunately is a thread to the unity of the country.”, he lamented.
He added that another challenge posed by democracy in Nigeria was the issue of insecurity.
“Insecurity is a serious challenge to political stability and development in Nigeria.
“People are asking what is the value of the so-called democracy if it cannot guarantee our lives and properties.”
He said terrorism kidnapping and mass abduction among others, had never happened in the country.
He observed that, though, there were massive infrastructural development going on in the country, the cost of living was increasing at an alarming rate.
“This does not allow Nigerians to appreciate the political development in the country.
”Because, to some, it was not just about political development, but about political-economic development, which translates to better life prosperity and so on.”, he added.
Abbas suggested some ways forward to the challenges
“Our election concern should be centred around electing transformational leaders, who understand their mandate and who can discharge such mandates without fear or favour.
“Leaders who understand the problems of Nigerians and who can solve the problems systematically but firmly.”, he said.
In doing so, Abbas said leaders should address the issue of national unity and national cohesion. Which according to him were very low at the moment.
“There are issues of mistrust, misperception, and miss understanding among Nigerians.
“So the country needs a unifier who can bring all Nigerians on board.”, he added.
He noted that politics could not grow without having a secured environment.
“So the issue of security is paramount. The security should not be only physical, but it should also be that of social economic, religious, cultural among others.
“There should also be a shared development across all regions religious, ethnic and political divides.
“Development should not be restricted to a certain part of the country while the other part is retrogressing.
“So that people generally in the country and think properly and appreciate democracy collectively.”, Abbas said.