Democracy Day: Improve nation’s economy, education, health sectors, ASUU urges FG

By Emiola Ibukun

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has urged the Federal Government to improve the economic situation in the country, as well as the education and health sectors.

Prof. Ayoola Akinwole, the Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, said: “Until we improve our economic situation, democracy will not prosper.

“The only antidote to this is to have a large percentage of the middle class sufficient to support democracy.

“Build public institutions instead of giving money to people. No amount of money freely given will ever eradicate poverty in Nigeria.”

Akinwole, commenting on celebration of the nation’s Democracy Day, urged the ruling elites “to shun corruption, greed and primitive accumulation as well as desist from fanning embers and cinders of disunity and violence.

He advised governments at all levels to provide basic social infrastructure and as well provide employment opportunities in order to reduce poverty and crimes.

Also, Dr Babatunde Oyedeji, Politics and International Relations at the Lead City University, Ibadan and Dr Stephen Lafenwa, a Political Scientist at the University of Ibadan, said there was need to strengthen and consolidate on the gains of 23 years of uninterrupted democracy.

Oyedeji said: “Nigerians have to thank God that we are still a nation.

“So many waters have passed under the bridge; so many people have died under the military coup, government prolonged military rule, inflation, structural adjustment programme and so on.

“But, the expectation is that all shall go well; so far, there are  some rough tumbles here and there and Nigerians are not comfortable anyway, even about democracy.”

Oyedeji said that there were so many problems affecting people directly; for instance, infrastructure and the economy, electricity and unemployment, as well as insecurity.

He said but as long as there is life, there is hope. People are praying that the hope should be transformed into reality and achievement.

“The country has hopes, but there is a need for good governance, which will enhance the practice of democracy in the country.

“Government needs to provide basic human needs like good roads; in most places, the roads are not good and they are not safe.

“We need to develop our industries, especially the production sector. The small scale traders must be enhanced to contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.

“We have to stop being a consuming country. We need to be a producing nation, so as to meet local demands and export into other countries,” Oyedeji said.

Also, Dr Stephen Lafenwa, a Political Scientist, University of Ibadan, said that Nigeria’s  democracy should be such that it would be inclusive; so that those with good ideas and are qualified should be given the chance to develop the country.

“To strengthen the country’s democracy, there is the need for transparency and accountability. Political office holders must be answerable to Nigerians and give account.

“We have to rule out money politics and our political processes must not be shrouded in secrecy. Transparency is one of the key pillars of democracy.

“Nigeria runs a  party based democracy; so, we must ensure that political parties are strong to have a democracy, if not, democracy can never be strong or consolidated or entrenched,” Lafenwa said.

He said that strengthening the institutions and making political offices less attractive would improve the practice of democracy in Nigeria.

“Let all those who venture into politics have a second address; something else that they earn a living from.

“Let us go back to the basis when we stated democracy. It was done on a part-time basis, these people have a second address.

“If you do something that is not in their interest, they resigned and go back to their profession. Politics is now a do or die affairs because this is  no longer so.

“Let there be equality, equity, fairness and justice,” Lafenwa said. (NAN)