I wish all Nigerians a happy Democracy Day filled with true reflections on the roles each and every one of us can play to promote and abide by democratic principles. We should evolve to the highest level of patriotism and belief in the ideals of a truly democratic, united and prosperous Nigeria that works for all Nigerians.
As we reflect on the way forward for Nigeria and Nigerians, I humbly submit my thoughts on the fundamental changes that must happen to transform Nigeria and put her in her rightful place amongst the League of developed Nations:
1. Constitutional reform to reflect a true federation.
2. Separate and independent three arms of government- executive, legislative and judiciary with solid institutions without political interference and independent budget lines and financing.
3. Decentralization of governance and management of state affairs with more autonomy to individual states in Nigeria.
4. An independent and autonomous INEC that will push for structural reforms in our electoral process including but not limited to campaign finance reform.
5. Transition to political parties (including the current parties) that are based on ideals and ideologies.
6. Massive re-orientation and education of all Nigerians on the power of the democratic process and their right to hold elected officials accountable to their campaign promises.
7. Decentralization of enforcement of law and order by transitioning to state-controlled police and community-based security agencies.
8. Diversification of the Nigerian economy to become a hub for manufacturing, agriculture, mining, IT, arts & culture, tourism and fishery.
9. Develop socio-economic safety nets for the poor and vulnerable in our society.
10. Transition from nepotism-based appointments of people in positions of authority to meritocracy without disregard to ‘federal character’ as stipulated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I implore all Nigerians to commit themselves to the democratic process and demand the government and leadership we deserve. May God bless all of you and The Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Happy Democracy Day 2021
*Prof. Wale Sulaiman*
*President, RNZ Foundation*