The founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi, believes that Nigeria has yet to practice democracy, almost two decades after it returned to civil rule.
He said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, special political programme which airs on Mondays.
Professor Utomi insisted that the absence of significant civic engagement has had a negative impact on the credibility and usefulness of the nation’s political process.
“I think the biggest challenge for the political process is citizenship – citizen engagement, participation; because let us be honest, we’ve not had a democracy,” he said.
The former presidential candidate argued strongly that Nigeria lacks democracy, although some people may disagree with him about the process.
He also faulted the electoral process in the country, alleging that the results of elections were written by some individuals in some corner.
According to Utomi, “Most people know that as much as possible, real citizens are discouraged from even thinking about voting and that the people who play this power game look for some poor, hapless people who don’t even know what they are doing, to collect a few N100 and cast a vote, and they would then extend whatever they’ve cast in some doctoring and call it election outcomes.”
The professor of political economy, however, noted that it was important for the citizens to participate more in politics, adding that their failure made the nation’s democracy untenable.
He warned Nigerians that it was time they up their game and get involved in the process of selecting their leaders as it was becoming obvious that what the government does affect their lives.
Professor Utomi also took a swipe at the category of individuals who feel because they could take care of their immediate needs, they worry less about the affairs of the country.
He, however, stressed the importance of a two-democracy system and the need to educate the electorate on why they should cast their votes without inducement.