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Stakeholders call for overhaul of democratic practice for rapid nation growth

By Lyric BAHM, Abuja

Nigeria’s tortuous journey in democratic governance came under intense review recently in Abuja when stakeholders in politics and government met for several hours with members of the academic community, civil society groups and journalists to discuss how to improve the practice of politics and democracy in the country.

Organized by members of the Nigerian Political Science Association, NPSA, the two-day event brought together eminent professors and other scholars as well as serving government officials to speak on the alleged perverted development of Nigeria’s democracy, the effects and pressures which money politics has placed on the population as well as the desperation of Nigerian politicians, who use every means available to grab power seeing that it has become a means to easy wealth.

President, Nigerian Political Science Association, NPSA, Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie called for complete overhaul of the method of practicing democracy in Nigeria to ensure that the system of government develops properly to benefit the people and the country.

Professor  Okolie remarked that “Nigeria has been gradually guided by politicians into democratic reversals arising from government deficits, the proliferation of hopelessness and haplessness among its citizens.”

The political scientist, who made the remarks while declaring open the 2nd Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association, NPSA, in Abuja, with the theme: “Democracy and Governance in Nigeria, 20 years after,” which was widely attended by political stakeholders wondered why Nigerian politicians have so promoted corruption to the point that elections have become a do or die affair.

Professor Okolie also remarked that “the existing governance architecture has assisted political leaders to  introduce and perpetrate acts of alienation, exclusion of a helpless population from government,promote banditry, unbiased criminality, fraud, corruption, unbridled suppression, and
eulogization of mediocrity” in the place of industry and development.

He argued that the nation’s political actors and members of the ruling class have unduly benefited from the 

faulty development of current democratic practice that was foisted on Nigerians and are ensuring that nothing will be done to change the statuesque so 

long as it remains gainful to the benefiting class.The issues raised in the president’s keynote address were largely adopted by other speakers, who brainstormed on the problems militating against the growth of the
nation’s democracy in the past 20 years of uninterrupted civil rule and what practical measures can be introduced to remedy the challenges to move the nation forward.

In an interview with newsmen, Professor Aloysius Michaels Okolie said efforts must be put in place by the National Assembly and political parties to reverse the downward slide in the nation’s democratic practice to ensure that the dividends of democracy are reaped by every Nigerian. In another interview, the Head, Department of Political Sciences and International
Relations, University of Abuja, Professor James Nda Jacob, aligned himself with the theme of the conference saying it was chosen to draw attention to the slide of the nation into autocracy and other debilitating factors holding the country captive in its tortuous journey to nationhood.The 2nd Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association [NPSA]
was co-hosted by the North Central Zone Branch and the Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, University of Abuja.

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