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Despite 19 years of return to civilian rule, Nigeria’s democracy is still very fragile and those in position of power should be careful not to truncate it, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said. Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 2018 Democracy Day Lecture, Dogara stated that it is consensus and compromise that drive the wheels of democracy and urged those who hold levers of power to resist the temptation of sliding into dictatorship because such leaders often end miserable. “Let me also talk about tyrants, despots, those who threaten democracy, enemies of open society.
As a matter of fact, we don’t have to dig too deep down moral lanes to be able to fetch some moral lessons to warn them, as history is an open book to them. “It doesn’t matter whether they are dictators who came before Hitler, to dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, name them, Sadam Hussein, Muomar Ghadhafi, a certain charging has ended their lives. “And it would be wrong for us to think that we can do what they did; and not see what they saw. As a matter of fact, the beauty of democracy is in forbearance.
Those of us who are true democrats here will exhibit light in the way and manner in which we carry out institutional prerogatives with forbearance and with grace, those are true democrats.” According to Dogara, all over the world, democracies nowadays hardly die at the hands of people with guns, but in the hands of civilian leaders who have dubious allegiance to democratic norms and values.
He noted that: “Whenever you see a democracy that is working; check it very well, it is consensus and compromise that drives it. Of course, this democracy that we all cherish is very fragile, and as such we can’t take it for granted.
That is why I thanked the President for making us all come here to remind ourselves of the fragility of our democracy. “Nowadays democracies hardly die at the hands of men with guns, what truncates democracies globally is the election of leaders with dubious allegiance to democratic norms.”
Speaking further, the speaker submitted that: “Any generation that has gone to sleep would have awaken to the rude shock that the courts and other democratic institutions have been weaponized against them, and as much they have become subjects, instead of citizens, where obeisance to the government is demanded as against the government fearing the people.
“That must not be the case with our own democracy, and for us to ensure that our democracy survives, we have to be eternally vigilant.” The speaker noted that elections have sometimes produced enemies of democracy and urged the citizens to be eternally vigilant in order to protect and defend the nation’s hardearned democracy.
He argued that there is every reason for Nigerians to celebrate almost two decades of civilian rule because the beauty of democracy is that it gives hope for a better future to the people and that history shows that the rich and powerful have always interchanged places with the poor and vulnerable.
- Dogara said: “For some of our citizens who wonder whether they are in the position to invest their liberty in the pursuit of happiness, I want to say they shouldn’t despair, as there is hope for the living. That fully in the course of history, the rich and powerful have always interchanged places with the poor and vulnerable.