Lady Chidi Onyemelukwe, a front line Anambra 2021 PDP governorship aspirant, said Nigeria is more fragile today than it was when the country returned to democratic rule in 1999.
Onyemelukwe, first daughter of second republic vice president and one of the early advocates of Nigeria’s return to democracy, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, said the country must find the courage to make honest assessments about its journey.
In a statement issued by her media office in Awka to mark this year’s democracy day, she lamented that Nigerians had a lot of expectations when the country returned to participatory democratic governance on May 29, 1999, after many years of military anti-politics. But 22 years after, and despite huge expectations, she noted that the consensus seems to be that Nigeria has regressed badly.
“As we reflect on the progress, or the lack thereof, made so far, we must find it in us to make honest assessments of where we are. From the way I see it, the democracy many struggled for, made sacrifices and took great personal risks for, and indeed paid the ultimate price for, is not delivering expected results as of yet.
“People are hungry, angry and feel very visibly unsafe. There is an alarming inflation rate and an even more alarming youth unemployment rate. Almost all the indices are pointing southwards. In consequence, many Nigerians have lost hope and are now defaulting to self-help. Insecurity in the country is expansive even as Nigeria’s civic and democratic space continue to shrink, and ungoverned spaces expand.
“These numbing realities should offer today’s ruling class sufficient motivation to take ongoing constitutional review efforts seriously. The country is rife for a holistic review of our constitution. More so Nigeria’s electoral act must be tweaked somewhat, so that the right to choose can truly return to the people.
Continuing, Onyemelukwe said “the discourse about true federalism or restructuring should be pursued with the needed vigour.” According to her, “a small window of opportunity exists for such course correction. We must act collectively in seeking immediate redress before things get worse.
In conclusion, Onyemelukwe argued that, “Nigeria has all it takes to flourish. But the right enablers must be put in place. All is certainly not well with Nigeria at the moment. With concerted efforts we can still halt this drift and restore Nigeria on the right path to greatness.”