As Nigeria Celebrates 21 years of Democracy, 27 Years of June 12
In our commemoration of 21 years of Democracy in Nigeria, PTL news sought the views of Rev. Solomon Adegbolagun, the National President of Centre For Righteous Living (CRIL), a Christian faith based Non-Governmental Organisation in Nigeria. He spoke about the event in question and concludes that Nigeria will need a true man of integrity to move the country forward.
It’s 21 Years of Democracy in Nigeria, do we have any cause for celebration?
Yes, we certainly have cause for celebration. We are not where we are expected to be but we are not where the soldiers wanted us to be. We thank God for giving us democracy and autocracy. Thank God though we still have the soldiers among us still making sure that we are ruled by force, with arbitrary laws and coercion, yes we have things to identify and show our gratitude to God, that it is well and we are no more under military rule, and that is why we are celebrating freedom.
What can we identify as the positive and negative sides of the experience?
Looking at our democracy the first thing to see as positive is that all the political parties came together in unified decision to confront the soldiers and demand that they rule by democracy, and the soldiers had no other thing but to respond to the cries of the people. But not without many casualties particularly for the June 12, and all that but in all that we still thank God. All is well.
The negative side of the issue is that we have left one kind of oligarchy and we have left one kind of few people forcefully ruling us to those on our own selected or elected or by fraud brought into the government but still they are also behaving like soldiers. Some of them are really soldiers who have dropped their khaki and taking on agbada, so they are still behaving as if we are in military rule but yet it’s better than when the soldiers were ruling us. The negative side is corruption, corruption is still very high and leaders are still doing what they want to do. They don’t really look towards solving the problem of the poor. That is the negative side.
Are our political leaders meeting up to our expectations?
Our political leaders are not meeting our expectation, all because the root cause of going into politics these days is not service. The root cause is purely business and so when somebody uses money for business he will make gain. So our political leaders are still seeking after personal gains, financial and economic gains, and most of the time with their cronies, their family members, their relations, those who are close to them are the ones enjoying government. The large number of the rest suffer for it. Although very few of them have the mind of service. The larger proportion of our politicians have totally disappointed those that elected them,as they seek after their political gains.
With 21 years down the line, what is our hope as a democratic country?
Yes 21 years down the line, the hope comes brighter by the day because we are not where we were when Obasanjo was ruling and doing whatever he wanted, and that democracy or no democracy he was even harassing the assembly people, the National Assembly, and he wanted a third term, and everything was in a comatose because of his ambition.
So 21 years down the line, democracy has improved, that is no more possible for someone to braggado. There are more and more contributions of our populace, now in government, though money is still the same thing that determines who is there but then information is reaching people faster than before, and people are getting informed and the government can no longer do what they like without cries. The media is actively working hard by ensuring that a lot of things are exposed, making our leaders do what they want, but we are not yet there.
Democracy is not yet there for us because INEC the body that was specially created to oversee our elections has not been able to bring thorough electoral process. This to me is a major problem that the true leaders are not the ones leading us but those that are forcing their ways through buying of votes, through other means of braggadocio, but we will get there by God’s special grace very, very soon. The hope is bright and as the years come by more and more people are getting into politics especially the Church that had run away from politics and they don’t want anything to do with it, they are now getting to know that without getting there they will not be able to change anything.
A number of them are coming up, and by the time these ones get their ways into politics and they are able to establish themselves, and stand on the platform of Christ that they have been projecting, and if they too do not change, they look unto Jesus and be servants to the people, we will soon receive a new hope, a new democracy in Nigeria. Thank you.
Some people have been coming up on what tribe or zone they want the next President to come from. What will you like to say on this?
If we are going to be sincere to ourselves the next president, to me, should really come from the South East. Igbos deserve their chance to rule the country, no matter whatever it is they have been so much discriminated against in terms of rulership and this time we need to give them chance. But unfortunately Ibos are not in the political party that is in government. But in our country money still dictates where people’s votes go to, and those in government have more money than those out of it, and so when election comes there is the impact of those in government upon the populace especially in the north. Where the north goes is where the votes go. If the voice of the north is still one and they have APC as their party I am sorry for the Igbo man that is carrying a box he may not be able to get through. So if that is not the case I do not want the North again to produce another president. I want the South West. In South West we have qualified and competent people to rule Nigeria, we have people who will be able to carry out proper democracy, we have people who obey, who respect their God and who will rule well. I hope some of the qualifications are available in the APC but I believe very strongly that some people in APC can do so. Not only one person, a number of them are there. I believe South West should have a better opportunity because of their alliance with the north to get into the next presidency. But from all indications if the South could come together and pick an Igbo man and get his Middle Belt to work along with them, the equation may be possible, but may not be this coming election, it may be 2027.
How will you like to pray for Nigeria?
Well, I have been praying for the country and I am still on my kneels, pleading with God, for directions, leadership is all we need in this country from the local government to the presidency. We pray that People of God, those who fear God, those who want to serve their neighbourhood, who want to give their life service, who do not want to amass wealth on earth but wealth in heaven, who would not want to steal but keep on serving the people, are the prayers I am praying. We pray that in various Churches where their bishops and pastors are locked them up, and not allow them to practise or go into politics, that good and committed candidates are released. The Church is still very much asleep on issues of election. They still do not know how to organise themselves. We pray to God, we get a candidate and together vote for that candidate. I pray that God will enable the Nigerian Church to see their responsibility in this way. Unless they are united and come together and seek God’s face, for the Bible says if God’s people called by His name shall humble themselves and pray and seek His face, He said He would hear us, He would forgive our sins and heal our land. So our land will only be healed when we have the right people in government, and they would not be thinking of what gets to them but what gets to the people.
There will be emergence of those who want to live their lives in the entire service to the people and to God, then Nigeria would become a place where people will love to live, and not to run away from, works would be created, employment would be available, farmers will be happy, even the rich would be happy too. This is because there will be less of the robbers, less of atrocities and not that those who are thugs will be in the street. Everyone would be very busy moving the economy forward and contribute their quota. That is my prayer for my country and I want it happen in my time. May it be so in Jesus name. Amen.
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