Nigeria’s democracy has been a topic of discussion since its independence in 1960. There exists the question of whether the country’s democracy will continue to thrive or fail. The upcoming 2023 general elections, however, present an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the state of the country’s democracy and ask whether it is a mirage or a reality.
Over the years, the country has undergone several transitions from military to civilian rule. This is all in a bid to establish a stable democracy.
No doubt it has made significant strides in consolidating its democracy over the past two decades. Considering that it has successfully held six consecutive general elections with power peacefully changing hands from one party to another. In addition to maintaining her relatively free press, active civil society, and vibrant judiciary. All of these are recognized critical components of a functioning democracy.
However, there are also concerns about the state of Nigeria’s democracy. Particularly with regard to political stability and governance. Nigeria has faced significant security challenges in recent years- the rise of Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast as well as banditry and kidnapping in other parts of the country.
These security challenges have not only led to the loss of lives but have also created a climate of fear and insecurity. Both of which could affect the credibility of the upcoming elections.
Furthermore, there are concerns about the state of governance in Nigeria, including corruption, political polarization, and weak institutions. Corruption remains a significant challenge in Nigeria. The country ranks high on the Corruption Perception Index, with a score of 26 out of 100, indicating a high level of corruption.
This has led to a lack of accountability, with government officials embezzling public funds with impunity, and citizens suffering from a lack of basic infrastructure and services. The lack of progress in tackling this issue could erode public trust in democratic institutions for ages to come.
Political polarization, on the other hand, has intensified in recent years. Political leaders and their supporters are becoming increasingly divided along regional, ethnic, and religious lines. This has led to a situation where elections are often marred by violence and allegations of electoral malpractice.
In addition, Nigeria’s institutions are weak and often unable to deliver basic services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure to its citizens. This has led to widespread dissatisfaction among Nigerians, who feel they are not being listened to by those in power.
In light of these concerns, it is essential that Nigerians take the upcoming 2023 general elections seriously. It is expected that they use it as an opportunity to not only reflect but also change the country’s path. The elections provide an opportunity for Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable. It also brings the opportunity for Nigerians to change the set of rulers it has had since independence. It is also essential that political leaders prioritise the needs of the country. Political leaders need to work towards building a stable, prosperous, and democratic Nigeria.
In conclusion, Nigeria’s democracy is a mixture of both reality and mirage given the aforementioned challenges it’s bedevilled with.
Hence, the upcoming 2023 general elections present an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the state of the country’s democracy and work towards building a stable, prosperous, and democratic Nigeria.
The road ahead may be challenging, but with the right leadership, Nigeria’s democracy can become a reality rather than a mirage.