Nigeria’s democracy is maturing, improving and becoming strengthened, says Dr Joshua Bolarinwa, International Relations expert and Senior Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
Bolarinwa, who spoke on Monday with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the occasion of Nigeria’s Democracy Day, urged other African countries to emulate its unwavering commitment to democratic rule.
NAN recalls that former President Muhammadu Buhari on June 6, 2018, declared June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day in honour of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, instead of May 29.
The declaration followed many years of agitations by civil society groups that Abiola must be immortalized.
According to Buhari, the change was to remind all Nigerians of one free election after which the presumed winner along with Nigerians were denied their rights and their choices.
Abiola, who was the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election died in detention for an alleged treason.
According to Bolarinwa, the 1993 election was the fairest, freest and globally acclaimed polls, adding that if it didn’t happen, Nigeria would never have thought of democratic rule because of the gradual adaptation to military rule.
“The journey so far in Nigeria’s democracy has been a tortuous one and just like in some other African countries, Nigeria suffered under military rule.
“Like President Tinubu mentioned in his speech, it’s exactly 30 years today that 1993 laid part of the foundation to the democracy we’re enjoying today.”
He also said Nigeria had been doing its best to improve democracy through electioneering, campaigns and peaceful governmental transitions.
Bolarinwa hailed current president, Tinubu’s political prowess, noting that he was a man endowed with abilities to strengthen democracy.
The international relations expert asserted that in the political history of Nigeria, the election that brought Tinubu into power was the most keenly contested.
According to him, a lot of factors that normally determine the outcome of elections, including cash for votes, were addressed with the mopping up of currencies in circulation.
“The outcome of the 2023 election was like a receipt gotten for what had been paid for and this further showed the strength in our democracy.
“All we need as Nigerians is to tolerate and understand the few policies that have been rolled out, and give the new government a chance,” he said.
Bolarinwa urged other African countries to learn from the discipline, commitment and determination of Nigerian leaders.
He stressed that the new administration would help achieve stability not only in Nigeria but also in the whole of Africa. (NAN)