Wike berates activists undermining Nigeria’s democracy

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mr Nyesome Wike, has berated activists whose activities he describes as undermining the progress made so far in the 25 years of the country’s democracy.

Wike said this on Thursday in Abuja at the second edition of ThisNigeria Newspaper Gold Prize and Annual Lecture Awards.

He argued that in spite of the ongoing challenges, significant advancements had been achieved.

“Advancements such as improvements in infrastructure in the FCT and proactive efforts in the current administration to restore hope among citizens,” he said.

Wike stressed the need to recognise and build upon these successes to continue fostering national development.

In his keynote address, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mike Ozekhome called for genuine democracy, effective governance, economic reform, youth engagement and social justice to ensure the country’s progress and unity.

He reflected on the significance of the 25-year milestone since the country returned to democracy in 1999.

He noted that the generation born during this period had no experience of military juntas and repressive regimes.

He emphasised the need for youth involvement in governance, citing historical examples of young leaders in the country and other countries.

He also highlighted the potential of the nation’s youthful population and the importance of harnessing their energy for national development.

He called for a new constitution that would reflect the will of the people and for electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections.

He highlighted what he observed as underrepresentation of women in government and the need to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to gender equality

Sen. Shehu Sani, a former senator and an activist, reflected on the challenges faced by activists and leaders in the struggle for democracy and underscored the sacrifices and injustices endured during those tumultuous times.

He highlighted the importance of perseverance and collaboration in striving for democratic ideals.

Prof. Abiodun Adeniyi of Mass Communication, Department, School of Postgraduates Studies, Baze University, said that democracy “requires constant effort and the responsibility of citizens is to work towards a better democratic system.

“American democracy, often seen as the bastion of democracy, has been around for centuries but still faces challenges.

“While it is one of the most functional and referenced democracies, it is not the best.

“Our election processes are marred by controversies and violence.

“We need to improve gender representation and ensure inclusivity in governance, reflecting the true nature of democracy.

“To strengthen our democracy, we need to focus on election integrity, credible leadership and systemic change.

“Corruption remains a persistent problem and our institutions are weak.

“We need a synergy to build a self-regulating democratic system, not give up and continually strive for more democracy”.

The publisher of ThisNigeria, Mr Eric Osagie, said that the 2024 edition celebrated and critically examine Nigeria’s quarter-century of uninterrupted democratic governance, discussing its prospects and possibilities.

Osagie said that the Gold Prize Awards were presented to individuals who had demonstrated outstanding contributions to the nation’s democratic development.

“Our 2024 Awardees are persons who made the critical difference in the discharge of their duties with uncommon zeal and commitment to the common good of the citizens and the country,” he said

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Written by Nike

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