….Calls for Sober Reflection; More Youths, Women Participation in Governance
By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Worried by the continuous recycling of leaders and career politicians in the nation’s political space, the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) has said the country has nothing to celebrate in her 18 years of democracy, described by the organization as incomplete.
The organization lamented how democracy in Nigeria has excluded the youth and women from active participation, condemning the huge monetization of democracy in the country as a calculated attempt to rig out young people from democratic process.
The NANS President, Comrade Chinonso Obasi in a statement made available to The New Diplomat, yesterday said, “We are worried that the political space remains constricted by recycled leaders and military apologists without any attempt to include women and youths in decision -making process.
“The electoral system admits active participants only on the basis of possession of large sums of money both for the expression of interest and nomination of forms.”
Obasi stated that at the local government level, which should be a training ground for future leaders, state governors had hijacked LGs’ structures.
The students’ group also paid glowing tributes to the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who had lost their lives during several elections in Nigeria just like the sacrificial lamb.
“We use this opportunity to remember the countless members of the NYSC that lost their lives in the course of the do – or – die battles, otherwise known as elections in Nigeria.”
The organisation, while expressing worry over what it described as “the continued celebration of Nigeria’s incomplete democracy,” called for a moment of sober reflection over the ineptitude approach of leaders to core matters of governance in the past years.
The statement said, “NANS therefore, use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, particularly, youths and women to think deeply about the way Nigerian democracy is being operated and resolve to engender a durable change. That is a better way to celebrate democracy as a popular system of governance.”
Obasi said the ‘yearly hollow ritual’ had helped to blind Nigerians to the grave historical shortcomings that led to the present democratic system of government.
“NANS believes that after 18 years of governance by some people for the people , Nigerians should set out a day for national sober reflection on the shortcomings of what the country parades as democracy,” he said.
NANS also criticized members of the state Houses of Assembly for allowing themselves to become rubber stamp of the state governors.
Crucial issues of education and gender mainstreaming , it said , were still treated as tokens for electoral mandate during electioneering and not as necessary pillars for the development of an open society and sustainable future.
Obasi said budgeting process had continued to be shrouded in secrecy just as the implementation ‘follows the path of voodoo political economy,’ while the masses remained at the mercy of their representatives.
He said, “Yet despite the disdain for public opinion, by May 29 of each year, public holiday is declared to serve as recreation for rulers in the name of celebrating Democracy Day.
Time has come for Nigerians to ask what manner of democracy is that which does not include or cater for the future generation?”