The Labour Party last week advocated comprehensive reforms in the country’s election process ahead of the 2027 general election.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo the same week challenged African countries to discard the “Western liberal democracy” because it has never worked on the continent.
These and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. Labour Party’s demand for electoral reforms
On November 21, the Labour Party called for immediate and comprehensive electoral reforms in Nigeria to restore public confidence in democracy.
The LP National Chairman, Julius Abure, made the call when a delegation of the House of Representatives members elected on the party’s platform visited him at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
He said public confidence in Nigeria’s democracy was waning because of the huge disappointment witnessed during the 2023 elections.
Abure said: “We need a holistic electoral reform. I will say that LP with your support, we will begin with mobilisation, political education is important. Leadership is not only the problem, followership is also the problem. The party will be with you in all your struggles and challenges.
“Opposition is the soul of democracy. It is only in this part of the world that we see opposition as an anthem. There must be a strong opposition for the survival of democracy.”
Why it matters
The LP’s call for total reform of the country’s electoral process resonates with Nigerians who are craving a system where their votes would begin to count in the choice of leaders.
Although the misgivings caused by the conduct of the election have partly been resolved by rulings of various courts, the resentments that trailed the exercise will continue to highlight the need for improvements in the country’s electoral processes.
2. Obasanjo on ‘Western democracy’
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on November 20 urged African countries to discontinue practicing “Western liberal democracy” because it has not worked for the continent.
Obasanjo, who spoke at a two-day high-level consultation in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said: “The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content and context and its practice.
“Once you move from all the people to a representative of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems. For those who define it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected, and excluded?
“In short, we have a system of government in which we have no hands to define and design and we continue with it, even when we know that it is not working for us.”
Why it matters
The former president may have hit the nail on the head about the working of democracy in Africa where the citizens are increasingly unhappy about the practice of the system by their leaders.
The recent military incursions into politics and the celebrations that accompanied such dismantling of democratic institutions in some countries in Africa can be said to be expressions of deep-seated anger among the citizens about the way their democracies were working.
The onus, therefore, is on the leaders across Africa to always consider the interest of their citizens who have become victims of bad leadership for the better part of the last decades to avoid pushing them to anger or revolt against constituted authorities.
3. Soludo re-echoes Ribadu’s sentiments on the economy
The Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, said on November 24 that President Bola Tinubu inherited a “dead economy” from his predecessors.
The governor stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, had previously said the Tinubu administration inherited a bankrupt country.
Soludo said: “We explicitly put into the law that you can’t grant the Federal Government more than five percent of the previous year’s actual revenue. And that so granted must be retired by the end of the year in which it was granted.
“I said it before. This particular government inherited a dead economy from a microeconomic point of view, this government inherited a dead horse that was seen standing but people didn’t know that it was dead. I think it’s important for Nigerians to understand this.”
Why it matters
Soludo’s remark, like the previous ones by other top Nigerians, speaks to the failure of the Buhari administration in all aspects of the country’s life.
However, instead of blaming his predecessor for its slow start and hardship caused by some of its policies, the Tinubu administration and its apologists must get down to work and fashion out strategies that would take Nigeria out of the woods and quickly too because the citizens’ patience is thinning out.
4. Tinubu intervenes in Ondo deputy gov, Assembly feud
The prolonged political crisis in Ondo State ended on November 25 following the intervention of President Bola Tinubu.
The president met with the state’s Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, and members of the House of Assembly at the State House, Abuja.
Aiyedatiwa, who spoke to journalists at the end of the meeting, said: “I want to say that I pledge to all of you that I embrace every one of you. I put behind all that has happened before now. I’ve let go and also let God, just as the President has advised us.
“And I want to say that no offence, no guile in my mind whatsoever. All that has happened is politics. Impeachment is part of politics. If you survive it, it is also politics. It has come. I’ve survived it and every other thing in the past.”
Why it matters
The president may have saved the APC in Ondo State from serious implosion that could ultimately lead to its defeat in next year’s governorship election with its intervention in the feud between the deputy governor and the lawmakers.
However, it remains to be seen if the warring parties will abide by the agreement reached at the meeting in the interest of all otherwise the president’s intervention may just be a “window dressing” to give the impression that all is well in the ruling party.
5. FG warns Nigerians on relocation to Canada
The Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on November 24 cautioned Nigerians against travelling abroad in search of better opportunities without the necessary paperwork.
Dabiri-Erewa, who made the call in a statement signed by the agency’s spokesman, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, advised Nigerians to migrate legally in order to prevent unfavourable outcomes.
She had earlier visited three Nigerians in Brampton, Ontario, and expressed sympathy for their precarious situation.
She said: “It is just not worth it, more often than not.
“Pastor Vivian Eruka, who runs the Bethel food bank and works with those in shelters, said the Mayor of Brampton promised to make 800 more beds available and shelter.
“Mr. Wale Rabiu, owner of Matlock bakery donated hundreds of loaves of Agege bread to the shelter inmates while Mr. Bayo Adedosu, a Nigerian living in Canada, and an immigration consultant also gave some words of counseling.”
Why it matters
Nigerians’ craving for a better life outside Nigeria casts further light on the government’s failure to address the twin problems of unemployment and poverty in the country.
While the challenge persists, it can be safely assumed that the large army of unemployed youths across the country would continue various means, including taking the risky steps to escape from Nigeria which has been plagued by bad leadership for more than three decades.
By Hamed Shobiye
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