The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has issued a Democracy Day statement criticizing the structure of the country’s democracy and said that it was remembering the National Youth Corps members who were killed by supporters of General Muhammadu Buhari in Northern Nigeria during in the 2011 elections and in subsequent elections in the country.
“Leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) is piqued at the continued celebration of Nigeria’s incomplete democracy,” a statement signed by the organisation’s president, Chinonso Obasi said.
“This yearly hollow ritual has helped to blind Nigerians to the grave historical shortcomings that led to the present democratic system of government, which is observed with a quasi military constitution and electoral system,” the statement, e-mailed to The Trent on May 30, 2017, said.
“NANS believes that after 18 years of government by some people for the people, Nigerians should set out a day for national sober reflection on the shortcomings of what the country parades as democracy.
“We are worried that the political space remains constricted by recycled leaders and military apologists without any attempt to include women and youth in decision making process. The electoral system admits active participants only on the basis of possession of large sums of money both for expression of interest and nomination forms.
“At the Local Government level, which should be a training ground for future leaders, state governors have emasculated the sector for political aggrandizement, stifling innovative ideas, development and popular participation.
“Even State Houses of Assembly have been colonized by state governors to ensure lack of accountability and probity in governance, because lawmakers must be loyal to the governor and not the ideals of true democracy as participatory governance.
“Crucial issues of education of youth and gender mainstreaming are still treated as tokens for electoral mandate during electioneering and not as necessary pillars for development of an open society and sustainable future.
“Budgeting process has continued to be shrouded in secret just as the implementation follows the path of voodoo political economy, while the masses the electorates remain at the mercy of their representatives instead of the other way round.
“Yet, despite the disdain for public opinion, each year by May 29, public holidays are declared to serve as recreation of rulers in the name of celebrating Democracy day. Time has come for Nigerians to ask, what manner of democracy does not include or cater for the wellbeing of the future generation?
“NANS therefore use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, particularly youths and women to think deeply about the way Nigeria democracy is being operated and resolve to mobilize for a durable change. That is a better way to celebrate democracy as a popular system of governance.
“We use this opportunity to remember countless members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that lost their lives in the course of the do-or-die battles otherwise known as elections in Nigeria,” Obasi ended.