June 12: Instead of enjoying dividends of democracy, we’re subjugated – PFN Scribe, Amalambu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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June 12: Instead of enjoying dividends of democracy, we’re subjugated – PFN Scribe, Amalambu

In this interview, Rev. Dr. Blessed Uchechukwu Amalambu, the Assistant Secretary, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Southeast region; Abia State Secretary of PFN and Treasurer of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Abia State chapter has lamented that rather than enjoying dividends of democracy, Nigerians suffer imtense subjugation in the hands of their rulers. Amalambu wailed that despite the birth of democracy in the year 1999 which had promised a sigh of relief to Nigerians, the latter still goes not have a feel of the concept of true democracy, hence the glaring absence of freedom of speech. He, therefore, called for a sober reflection from the leaders of the nation and evaluation of how far, so far, the purported democracy has been run from the year 1999 till date.

Excerpt:

Q: June 12 Democracy Day and Nigeria Democracy at 25?

A: Today is democracy day, as Nigerians are observing, a day set aside to reflect on the issue of democracy. From the record, this is about 25 years now, Nigeria has been enjoying uninterrupted democracy from 1999 till date. It is a thing of joy that we are no more under the military dictatorship but then, there’s a call for sober reflection and evaluation of how far, so far, from that very 1999 till date? The question should be, do we really have that democracy in Nigeria? Comparatively, from the military era and now, that we are free from dictatorship are there progresses? Are there development? These are the things that a well meaning and reasonable leadership will look into.

With the birth of Democracy in the year 1999, everyone across the globe has a high hope that through democracy, Nigeria and Nigerians will breath a sigh of relief because formerly, there was no freedom of speech. But with democracy, there’s freedom of expression, freedom of choosing who will lead, because democracy according to a simple definition is Government of the people by the people and for the people, which the leadership of a chosen government has some responsibilities, including focusing or concentrating on the critical areas like the security of lives and property and the total wellbeing of the people being led. These pillars – the security of lives and property; improved standard of living and the franchise, having the right to vote and the people’s vote must count in a genuine democratic setting. The people’s opinion must be respected both in the choice of who rules, leads or becomes whatever in the leadership cadre. These are the things we need to look into if we want to practice Democracy in Nigeria.

Bear in mind that Democracy Day in Nigeria is supposed to be celebrated in May 29 annually but because of what happened in June 12, 1993, where MKO Abiola’s election was annulled, which the whole world considered was a robbery, a denial, a deprivation and intimidation and the people’s opinion were not actually represented. The dictatorship of the then Military leadership of Ibrahim Babangida cancelled the election that was duly and rightly elected by the people. Abiola was not allowed to rule. That’s why we are remembering this June 12 as Democracy Day rather than May 29. So using this now as a benchmark that somebody’s right who was duly elected by the people was denied, deprived and illegally rejected by the then leadership of the military leadership, are we free from such denial, are we free from such deprivation, are we free from such intimidation? Your answer must be as good as mine, considering what happened in the previous election where the electorate came out with joy to vote for the candidates of their choice but the election umpire, the INEC and those who considered themselves as stakeholders, and the Judiciary did what they did in order not to allow people’s opinion stand and then imposition.

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The judiciary and some Nigerians who considered themselves as special species connived in the broad daylight to deny the people their opinion and the choice they made through their vote.

Q: Issues yet to be addressed by the present administration under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

A: Now that the present leadership has come in, and has stayed up to a year in office, there are some issues that have remained untouched. There should be a holistic evaluation, there should be sincereity because I have read many articles of different people trying to sing the praise but presently and comparatively too, Nigerians are suffering, the Nigerian leadership has failed in the area of security. People are being marginalized, for instance, here in Nigeria, I have been a victim of cattle destroying the crops that I cultivated on three plots of land. I could not harvest a bag of cassava, all of them were eaten by the Fulani herders and their cattle. If you try to confront them, they will rise up and kill and nobody will query that. There are violence, there are bandits everywhere harassing the lives of Nigerians, killing them in their hundreds, and the perpetrators are not called to book, signifying that security wise, there’s no democracy yet. Now come to the standard of living, I mean the improved standard of living, which should be the dividend of democracy, Nigeria is going backwards presently. I am talking authoritatively because I went to the market to buy a bag of beans which I bought at the cost of N18, 000 in the year 2020, to my surprise, it is now sold at N200,000. As I am talking right now, a bag of rice dangles between 78, 80 to 85 thousand Naira. A bag of rice was about N17,000 in the year 2020. Imagine someone saying that if we pay the labour force N60 minimum wage, the economy will crumble, while political office holders have wardrobe allowance, newspaper allowance, laundry allowance and other needless allowances, all to themselves running into millions of Naira.

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Q: Are Nigerians enjoying the real democracy presently

A: From what I said earlier, I will say not really, because instead of enjoying the dividend of democracy, we are being subjugated. We are enslaved, we have no democracy which is freedom. Democracy has to do with freedom of association, freedom of speech among others. I think, we are under dictatorship in disguise.

Q: Any hope , way forward?

A: Yes, there is and I want to use this opportunity to plead with our leaders to help lead the way. Thank God I listened to two federal lawmakers recently, they were very vocal about the issues bedeviling Nigeria and I said if we can have people like them, who are reasonable, who are passionate, who feels the pains of the poor masses, then Nigeria has hope. There are politicians who are really clean, who are passionate, people who want things to be done in the right way in leadership but our problem has remained the activities of those people who called themselves cabal, and who have succeeded in hijacking the leadership in Nigeria. I have maintained that until we get rid of cabal system of government, ethnicity, religious bigotry, tribalism and all those things that hinders the smooth running of democracy will continue to flourish. The present administration in collaboration with selfless and well-meaning Nigerians should rise up against this cabal system. It should be properly addressed and handled. Presently, I Rev. Dr. Blessed Amalambu am saying unequivocally that there’s no democracy in Nigeria. When we start running and practicing the real democracy, there will be improved standard of living. I am appealing to the leadership of Nigeria to cut down the cost of governance, plunge back the excesses to the labour force and give them a living wage that can help them pay their house rents, transportation, medicals and at least sustain them before the next salary payment. We should overhaul the system of democracy in Nigeria. The judiciary system should sit up because they have been accused of bastardizing democracy. “If you don’t accept the election results, go to the law court” has become the order of the day. The cabal believed that the law court judgement is reserved only for the highest bidder. So the INEC and the judiciary should be overhauled. The electorate also should go back and think within ourselves because whatever that is happening today, we are part and parcel of it. When somebody will accept N2,000 and vote in incompetence, who do we blame? We should overhaul ourselves.

By Famous Reporters

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