After 21 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country, an Akwa Ibom elder statesman admits that Nigeria’s democracy is disappointing.
Arc. Otu Ita Toyo, a no-nonsense politician could not hide his disappointment over the lackadaisical performance of Nigerian politicians since the advent of democracy in 1999 in which Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for 16 years in the country’s governance.
Toyo, who was the Akwa Ibom PDP Chairman dropped the bombshell thus, “Between 1999 and today, I challenge anybody to tell me what we can be proud of.”
The Ahmadu Bello University-trained architect, who spoke in a conversation with members of Conference of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom State (COOPA) as part of their annual Democracy Day Social Media CONVO, recounted his good days as a student and hoped of a replica of the same with the return of democracy, hoping this has become forlorn.
To him, “When we took over from the military, there was hope.”
The 76-year-old who said he left PDP for APC owing to what he described as a family disagreement lamented “One of the problems we have in Nigeria is our democratic space is being suffocated by the military ideas.”
The APC chieftain opined “Nigeria’s democracy can grow if we can send out our best 11 to the field and have the best coach.”
He recounted the stamina, skill and unity of purpose exhibited by Flying Eagles in the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, USA when the Clemens Westerhof’s boys almost lost the football match to Brazil in the semi-final but came strong despite defeat that stared them on the face to beat Samba guys and returned with superlative performance to thrash Argentina.
“They won the cup for millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. We all buried all our differences and ethnicity and vicissitudes. I think Nigerian politicians should emulate this sportsmanlike spirit in order for us to forge ahead for progress and greatness,” the elder statesman enthused.
“We need to be honest with ourselves, determining that we want a country and this country must be built through the efforts of every Nigerian.”