Nigeria yet to fully embrace democracy -Bishop Kukah

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Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, says Nigeria has not transitioned fully from military rule to democracy.

Speaking on Tuesday as a panellist during a citizens’ townhall on electoral reforms, a programme organised by YIAGA Africa, Kukah said Nigeria’s military background has continued to affect effective governance in the democratic dispensation.

According to him, there is a need for reorganisation within political parties in order to promote service to the people instead of selfish interests.

“We are mistaken in assuming that we have had a transition from dictatorship to democracy. We still haven’t. This is why we are showing all kinds of systemic malfunctioning,” he said.

“When we talk about political parties, we have assumptions. But the truth of the matter is that in our own case in Nigeria, we have the greed and the political interest.

“Clearly what we have in Nigeria, as we have seen with the occasional malfunctioning of the system midway through the journey, manifested in the quarrelsome nature of the politics and the way the judiciary has now come to undermine the wishes of the people, suggests very clearly that we have very serious issues with party discipline largely because what we call political parties in Nigeria are mere contraptions purely constructed to help to ferry the ambitions of people — a good number of who are really and truly ill-prepared for the discipline that politics and political party formations require.”

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He called for consistency in maintaining the governance structure, and also proffered two measures to address challenges affecting the country’s political process.

“The first is for us to pay attention to the future. That is why this conversation is very important; that a new generation of Nigerians with a different view about our country, with a different set of skills and discipline, must begin to see politics in a much more noble form,” he said.

“The second point is for the judiciary itself to begin to think more in focusing on compelling politics and politicians to fine-tune their articles of discipline internally.”

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