Politics

Democracy in bondage in Nigeria, political elite must stop influencing elections – Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, says for democracy in Nigeria to come of age, incumbent political officeholders must stop influencing election outcomes.

 

In his Democracy Day message on Sunday, Atiku said political leaders must be committed to the principles of fairness in election conduct, to avoid a dictatorship society.

 

Democracy Day is commemorated annually in Nigeria on June 12.

 

The former PDP presidential candidate said his observation of how democracy is run in Nigeria has convinced him that “a lot of work still lies ahead.”

 

He added that democracy in the country “remains in bondage”.

 

“On this occasion of Democracy Day, it is time for us to reflect as a people and a country on our journey to becoming a democratic society,” the statement reads in part

 

“For Nigerians who were around during the dark days of military dictatorships, it is important that we appreciate the successes that we have achieved in making democracy the norm of politics in Nigeria.

 

“But democracy without a corresponding commitment to the principles of fairness and fidelity to the rule of play by stakeholders in the processes of conducting elections still leaves the people prostrate to tendencies of dictatorship.

 

“For our democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections.

 

“Democracy and the process of democratization is a constant work in progress. While what we celebrate today is a return to civil rule in Nigeria, the desire to make our democracy self-sustaining and independent of anti-democratic elements is the new frontier of participation by all democrats.

 

“As I congratulate Nigerians on this day, in celebration of return to civil rule, I also call our consciousness to the reality that democracy in Nigeria remains in bondage and it will need the energy of all of us to rescue it.”

 

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