Social commentator and former presidential aspirant, professor Pat Utomi, has described the Nigerian democracy as lacking legitimacy, which is an essential factor in any system of government.
Speaking at the Lagos State House of Assembly on the occasion of the 2nd Anniversary of the 7th Assembly and the commemoration of June 12, Utomi stated that democracy, legitimacy and the rule of law are three inseparable components of good governance in any society.
He said, “There is deep erosion of the legitimacy of our democratic process, right now, such that if, God forbid, something untoward happens, many Nigerians will run into the streets and begin to celebrate, because that is how fed up they are of the current system. No government can function without legitimacy, which comes from a degree of interaction. Even the military understood and demonstrated this”.
Utomi noted that the Nigerian populace are far detached from elected officers who practice the concept of ‘big-manism’ on the assumption of public office, thereby, promoting impunity at all spheres of governance. He however charged public officers to uphold the tenets of true democracy in the armpit of the rule of law whilst recovering legitimacy for better governance.
Appraising the 1993 June 12 struggle, Utomi said, “Those who are committed to June 12 movement are concerned about social transformation and development. If truly practiced, the values of MKO Abiola and June 12 are strong enough to transform Nigeria’s democratic experience”.
On his part, Professor Abubakar Momoh, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science, Lagos State University(LASU), highlighted that the June 12 struggle and celebration of democracy goes beyond Late MKO Abiola.
“June 12, 1993 is not just about MKO, it is an idea, it is a movement and you cannot kill an idea because it is immortal. This struggle had everything in place for a thriving democracy but the trajectory of the Nigerian state is that those who knew the implication of freedom were not the ones who took over power in May 1999.
It is that paradox that we are still confronted with today. What we now have is promises without programmes, programmes without manifestoes, manifestoes without political parties and political parties without ideologies”.
Momoh, challenged the government to fight and win the class war among Nigerians, which has created the wide disparity between the haves and have-not by providing basic social amenities and packages that will address and reduce the rising rate of poverty in the country.
According to him, solving Nigeria’s numerous problems must be a concerted and committed effort by all stakeholders particularly the government.
Tayo Elegbede is a Freelance Journalist with Local and International Media Firms.
Follow him on twitter @tayojet1
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