77% of Nigerians dissatisfied with country’s democratic trajectory in 25yrs – Masari

77% of Nigerians dissatisfied with country’s democratic trajectory in 25yrs – Masari

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari has cautioned government at all levels, including the political class that Nigeria’s democracy is at a critical stage which requires urgent attention to address declining faith in the system, especially among youths.

He gave the warning on Tuesday while giving the Keynote address at the Public Lecture in celebration of Nigeria’s 25th Democracy Day anniversary, held at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja.

According to Masari, who governed Katsina State previously, 70% of the Nigerian population prefers democracy but 77% are dissatisfied with its performance, citing a 2022 Afrobarometer survey.

He also warned contemporary politicians saying it shouldn’t be just the government of the politicians by the politicians and for the politicians.

Masari went on to state that in representative democracy, elected politicians merely hold power in trust for the people.

“We need to prioritise the needs of the populace ahead of our own needs. We also need to become better democrats. We need to fully imbibe the culture of democracy. We need good winners and good losers,” he noted.

He emphasized the need for continuous attention to shifting perceptions of democracy among Nigerians, warning that complacency could undermine the system’s endurance.

He stressed that democracy’s value lies in its ability to deliver tangible benefits to citizens, urging leaders to prioritize poverty reduction, inequality, human capacity development, and opportunity expansion.

The former governor highlighted the importance of engaging youths, who constitute a majority of Nigeria’s population, and creating an enabling environment for their growth and contribution to the country’s development.

In his candid opinion, most youths are dissatisfied with the current system and are seeking opportunities abroad, emphasizing the need to create incentives for them to stay and invest in Nigeria’s future.

“The first point is that we need to pay serious and continuous attention to the shifts in the perception of Nigerians about our democracy. It is easy to think that our democracy can continue to weather the storms because we have had 25 years of unbroken civil rule. That might be misleading.

“Democracy can continue to endure only when the people think it is desirable and thus worth keeping and defending. According to a 2022 survey by Afrobarometer, 70% of Nigerians polled prefer democracy to other forms of government. That is the good news. But 77% of those surveyed are not satisfied with the way democracy works in Nigeria, up from 57% in 2017.

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