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Nigeria Can Not Progress With ‘Monopoly Democracy’ – Ezekwesili



Former presidential candidate, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili has lamented that Nigeria can not make progress with the type of democracy it is running.

She said Nigeria is currently running what she described as a “monopoly democracy”.

The former Minister stated this while speaking at a #FixPolitics conference organized by the Robert Bosch Academy in Lagos on Monday.

She lamented that old politicians were exercising a political monopoly over the country.

In her words, “When you look at the degree of participation in a democracy, it will tell you whether such democracy is participatory or a monopoly. A monopoly democracy is more dangerous than an economic democracy. To have a monopoly on how the system function is to retard the system.

“In Europe, statehood is about people with a similar language coming together. In Africa, it was the Berlin Conference that marked out the territories. In Nigeria, administrative convenience propelled the colonial authorities to bring the people together. It was patchwork.

“Nigeria is made up of people who had nothing in common. There was no common identifying point of reference beyond the colonial power’s administrative convenience.”

Ezekwesili further lamented that the geographical location put together to form Nigeria in 1914 by the colonial powers had nothing in common and were not allowed a say in the amalgamation process.

She added that Nigeria’s early post-independence leaders should have renegotiated the terms of Nigeria’s existence after the country’s independence in 1960.

“In gaining independence, there was something that needed to happen that did not happen. There needed to be a discussion between these people that were brought together by the colonialists. That did not happen. The fact that we failed to hold some dialogue on how to live together constituted a gap. These failures and gaps continue to hunt us to this day,” she said.

Similarly, Professor Pat Utomi also agreed with the submission by Ezekwesili, lamenting that any view that is not in line with that of the ruling political class in Nigeria is always rejected.

“In Nigeria, a terrible thing has happened to us because any view that is not a ‘Kabiyesi’ view is taken on by public officials. I was hoping that these laws on the social media bills on the death sentence will be passed. You know why? Because the people that are in office now when they leave office will be sentenced to death. Because they are the biggest sponsors of fake news against people whose views don’t carry a ‘Kabiyiesi’ view.

“Our democracy cannot make progress without having public conversations and then we learn collectively and then the common good is advanced.

“The thesis that Dr Oby Ezekwesili has just advanced, the thesis of democracy monopoly, is exactly the point I was making. When you have that mindset of only one perspective, you cannot make progress. Monopoly capitalism has never resulted in innovation and growth and that is why countries like the United States have anti-trust laws to prevent monopoly,” Utomi said.

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