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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nigeria's Stunted Democracy

According to democracy scholar Larry Diamond's maximalist criterion for democratic consolidation, democracy should "become so broadly and profoundly legitimate, and so habitually practiced and observed, that it is unlikely to break down." Needless to say Obasanjo has failed this criterion. Seven full years after the return to democracy we are still unsure how it work, if it work or when it work. Nigerians are being required in a democracy to get police permit before they can be allow to hold public meetings or demonstrations. Laws are being proposed without regard or consultations with those to be affected by their possible outcomes. Oppositions are being stiffled at every corner and is recently approaching the Abacha level. Courts' rulings are selectively and opportunistically executed. The list is endless.

Democracy entail adherence to the rule of law to work minimally and definitely tolerance of oppositions to maximally survive without fear of it breaking down. When oppositions are unsure of ballot box as the only effective route to power they become despair and won't care if democracy crashes or survive. At present Obasanjo is the number one threat to the survival of democracy in Nigeria poking hot rod at its very heart.

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