15 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY … THE PEOPLE’S VERDICT
Nigeria marked 15 years of unbroken democratic rule last week. It was another occasion of Democracy Day on that May 29. SEYE ADENIYI went on the streets to sample the opinion of a cross section of Nigerians on another year of democracy. It was a mixed grill of the good and the bad…
Hammed Olanrewaju, Accountant/Businessman
We have seen and witnessed some appreciable level of development in the last 15 years in Nigeria. 15 years of practising democracy in the country has actually exposed us to so many things–both the good and the bad. For instance, we are able to enjoy telecommunication services, I mean mobile network service in the last 13 years or so. Also, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is another good health programme witnessed under democracy. This has enabled Nigerians, especially government workers, to have access to good and affordable healthcare services. There is more freedom of speech compared to what obtained during the military era. No more dictatorship and we have some good roads compared to the era of military regime. For example, Lagos-Ibadan express road is now under construction. There are more advantages of democracy in the last 15 years than the disadvantages, although there are some negatives or challenges of democracy like the security problem, Boko Haram insurgency, etc.
Alfa Akeem Atere, Metal Scrap Scavenger
Democracy or no democracy, things are very difficult for many Nigerians today including me. In the last 15 years, we have not enjoyed anything in Nigeria. In fact, I want to believe that military regime is even better than the democracy we are all crazy about. Our politicians are so greedy and wicked and that is why many Nigerians are suffering despite all the abundant resources we have in this country. To me, nothing has changed for better in the last 15 years.
Hon. Soji Rilwan Akanbi, Business Mogul/Politician
We have to thank God for Nigeria in the last 15 years of our democracy. We have witnessed and faced many challenges. Yet, we are still a united nation. Things are getting better compared to the era of the military anyway. But my fellow politicians at the helm of affairs of the country need to fear God, do the right thing to better the lives of the common people because I won’t deceive you, people are suffering. If we can manage our resources very well, I believe Nigeria will be a better place to live and we need God-fearing leaders that can tackle corruption, combat terrorism and insurgency as well as treat Nigerians equally. May God help us to achieve our goal in this country because we are yet to get to the Promised Land. The President is trying but he needs helps from Nigerians.
Dr. Adegboyega Elemede, Veterinary Doctor/Photography Expert
My brother, things are getting difficult for many Nigerians and this is not a country of our dream. Our people do not deserve all these suffering and we need to put square pegs inside square holes, as far as the issue of leadership is concerned. Many of our elected and imposed politicians and leaders have mortgaged the future of many Nigerians. May God have mercy on them. We are yet to reap the dividends of democracy in this country.
Mr. Remi Olaitan, Contractor/ Politician
We have seen a lot of development in the last 15 years, and I believe in the nearest future, we are going to meet up with the expected standard.
Nigeria is like a classroom with large number of students. In such a school, there will be noise and some level of crisis. Nigeria population is too large and this is contributing to our problem, we have different ethnic groups with diverse and different problems. It is like we all want to be under the same umbrella and it is not easy. But I believe with time, we will improve. Many of those in Boko Haram are foreigners terrorising the country.
Sherif Ali, Waste-to-Wealth Practitioner
I’m a native of Kebbi State but I’m living in Ibadan. Walahi, our government na our problem. Our leader just de kill us gradually and softly. People dey suffer we wey dey suppose to enjoy. God don bless us with many natural resources, but na our government dey embezzle everything. Look at Boko Haram, wetin be Boko Haram? Wahala too much for this country and if government cannot arrest Boko Haram, it means government itself na Boko Haram. No job, no work, no food, no house in Nigeria, everybody just dey suffer. If politicians no fit do am, make the military government come back oh!
Yusuf Adearu, Roadside Vulcanizer
We are suffering and nothing to enjoy or celebrate. The problem has been with us since 1999 when the civilian regime took over. We thought things would be better, but they are getting worse. All I can say is that it has been 15 years of suffering.
Dr. Femi Aluko, Medical Doctor
Nigeria has not changed for good despite our abundant natural resources. I don’t see any reason why people should celebrate the democracy they are using to brainwash and deceive Nigerians. The situation of the country is getting bad everyday. May God deliver us like He did to the Israelites.
Dr. Olufemi Ajala, Medical Doctor/Community Physician
What is in Nigeria that is worth celebrating? What is in this democracy for the past 15 years? We are just deceiving ourselves. Honestly, we have not had it so bad like this in the history of Nigeria. Very painful, I hope the politicians, including Mr. President, will do the right thing to fix Nigeria.
Islawudeen Tunde Sulemon, Shoemaker
If you look at me very well, do I look like a Nigerian that is happy, not to talk of somebody enjoying any dividend of democracy? The politicians are the only one enjoying in Nigeria and that is why the masses of this nation will continue to rain curses on them and their families. With the situation of things in Nigeria today, if I have access to gun, I will kill many politicians. I can also tell you that poverty is making many Nigerians to join Boko Haram, let there be employment, you will see that Boko Haram will stop but as long as people, especially the youths, are jobless and suffering, Boko Haram will never stop. So there is nothing to be happy for about our democracy.
Aiyegbusi Samuel, Civil Servant
We don’t have a government in Nigeria and that is why we are yet to get to the Promised Land. Also, many Nigerians are lazy and that is one of the reasons we are still a poor nation. Many people still depend on government and it is not going to help us, we need to go back to farming for the country to survive.
Mama Felicia Eyebiokin, Bread seller
(Speaking in Yoruba language) We are really suffering and there is nothing to be happy about in this democracy they are talking about. At my age, I am supposed to be resting, but you can see that I’m still selling bread to get money to feed myself. My children are struggling to make a living, so I don’t want to disturb them. Our politicians and leaders are armed robbers, killing us everyday. But I know that God will catch them one day. We are not happy in Nigeria.