National Association of Seadogs (NAS), popularly known as Pyrates’ Confraternity, Katamaran Deck, has decried the improper practice of democracy by the political elite and leaders in Nigeria.
The Chairman/Capoon of the Katamaran Deck comprising Ijebu and Remo lands with secretariat in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Mr Olumide Fagbohunka, stated the position of the Confraternity in a statement on Thursday in commemoration of this year’s International Day of Democracy. The statement is titled, “Nigeria’s Democracy: Baby at 23?”
The United Nations General Assembly in a resolution passed in 2007 established the International Day of Democracy to encourage governments to strengthen, review and consolidate democracy. It is a day celebrated worldwide every year on September 15.
The theme of this year’s Democracy Day is “Importance of Media Freedom to Democracy, Peace and Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).”
Fagbohunka lamented the quasi-practice and improper observance of democracy foisted on the Nigerian people by inept political leaders, who he said hide under an equally inept political arrangement to perpetrate monumental corruption in public, political and elective offices.
He condemned the usual refrain by the country’s political leaders, who he said were always quick to blame their ineptitude on Nigeria’s democracy as still being “nascent” or “a baby”, even after about 23 years of unbroken practice.
The Katamaran Deck Capoon noted that the Nigerian political elite, having entrenched corruption in their practice of democracy, have continuously undermined good governance while scandalously promoting corruption and graft in public offices.
He further kicked against fake promises of democracy dividends and good governance often made by politicians to the people, noting that for democracy to be successfully rooted in any society the electorate must have the genuine feelings and belief that they matter, their votes count during elections and that the government cares about their welfare and well-being.
He expressed regret that this could not obtain in a corruption-endemic society.
His statement partly read, “Democracy, which most believe to be the best form of government in the modern times seems to be begging to smile in Nigeria due to its quasism kind of practice borne out of selfish leaders who intentionally create and perpetrate corruption in different forms, knowing fully well that corruption is no way a good friend to democratic practices.
“The disheartening aspect is that, these leaders would always come out to claim that Nigeria’s democracy is still a baby. What a shameful assertion! Baby at 23 with no attempt to crawl let alone walk, no effort to blab let alone talk.
“Having planted corruption into the polity, every effort toward good governance always proves abortive.”
Fagbohunka, however, said Nigeria’s situation is not irredeemable as far as true practice of democracy is concerned. He noted that a lot of work must be done to create a working and sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
The statement added, “Democracy in Nigeria has been repeatedly promised by those in power for decades, but promises seem to fall short of their mark and Nigeria remains to be anything but a true democracy. For a democracy to be successful, the people of a country need to feel like they matter, their vote matters, and that the government cares about them. A true democracy is “people initiated, people promoted, sustained by the people for the benefit of the people”, (Ogunleye, 2005) but in a country swept with corruption, the only thing sustained by the people is the oil industry and croplands.
“Nigeria may be far from a working democracy but at least initiatives have existed to put one into place. For Nigeria’s future, it is not impossible to create a sustainable democracy, but a lot of work must be done.
“However, as human beings will always celebrate life in spite of numerous challenges, so as I join Nigeria in celebrating International Day of Democracy due to her existence despite various threats to her entity as a nation.”