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June 12: Nigeria’s Democracy Remains Fragile, Says APC Chieftain Eze

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, a prominent member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has described the 25 years of Nigeria’s democratic governance as fragile, with fluctuations observed across all levels of government.

Eze emphasized the importance of reflecting on the challenging journey the country has undertaken and acknowledging the genuine sacrifices made by its citizens over the decades in efforts to rebuild the nation. He noted that, as a democratically stable and economically viable state, Nigeria must commit itself to genuine service to assume its rightful position as a leading nation in the black world, not just in Africa.

This statement was released by Eze on Wednesday to commemorate this year’s uninterrupted democratic experience in the country. Eze highlighted the ancient origins of democracy, tracing it back to the 6th century B.C. in Athens and its subsequent influence on the Mediterranean region, the Roman Republic, and beyond.

Eze remarked on Africa’s political evolution, noting that the continent experienced a significant shift with the wave of democratic transitions, breaking the hold of single-party dominance in nations like Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. This change allowed for greater political pluralism and increased citizen participation.

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Reflecting on Nigeria’s history, Eze recalled the nation’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule, leading to the proud moment when the British flag was lowered, and Nigeria’s green flag was hoisted, symbolizing a new era.

However, Eze pointed out that Nigeria’s democracy has faced instability due to political competition, communal, ethnic, religious, and resource allocation rivalries, which threaten democratic processes. He also highlighted the pervasive corruption and inadequate engagement of government institutions with citizens and the private sector.

Despite efforts by successive governments to foster national unity in a country with over 200 ethnic groups, Eze lamented the ongoing challenges in achieving a cohesive national identity. He noted the country’s turbulent relationship with its military, which has ruled for nearly half of its post-independence existence through coups, overthrowing three republics since 1960. Two of Nigeria’s democratically-elected presidents in the fourth republic, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, previously led military regimes.

Eze concluded by addressing the critical issue of leadership, which he believes has failed Nigeria. He described the leadership problem as complex and deeply ingrained, contributing to the nation’s multi-sectoral stagnation and widespread poverty. Despite various attempts to diagnose and address these challenges, Eze warned that the leadership crisis remains alarmingly intricate and persistent.