Some residents of Enugu Metropolis want various governments to re-position the electoral process, prioritize infrastructure development and intensify efforts towards the diversification of the nation’s revenue base for speedy growth of the economy. Democracy Day is marked annually by Nigerians on May twenty nine to celebrate the return democracy in the country in 1999.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took over office from the then Military Head of State, General Abdulsalemi Abubakar as the President of Nigeria on 29th May, 1999, ending decades of military rule that began in 1966 and was interrupted briefly from 1979 to 1983. Since the return of the country to Democratic rule in 1999 Nigeria had witnessed four elected Presidents.
They are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, AlhajiUmaru Musa Yar’dua, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. This year’s celebration marked eighteen years of uninterrupted civil rule and second year in office of the present administration of President Muhammed Buhari.
Many Nigeria have described the development as a great feat, being the longest period of democratic rule since the nation’s independence in 1960.
Some residents of Enugu Metropolis described democracy as the best gift to the nation. While some commended the giant stride by successive governments in various sectors of the economy, others believed the nation’s leaders were yet to exploit all available possibilities to bring about the much needed development in the country.
One of them, a political scientist, Professor Sam Ugwu, while speaking on the significance of the day, observed that President Muhammed Buhari had made landmark achievements with the fight against corruption and insurgency. For a former Local Government Chairman in Enugu State, Pastor Sam Iyiogwe, the fact that the nation remained an indivisible entity despite all odds needed to be celebrated.
PastorIyiogwe commended the Enugu State Government for the provision of basic facilities at the grassroots and called for full financial autonomy of the Local government for accelerated development. To take Nigerian out of the recession, the Director General, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr.Emeka Okereke called for restructuring of the country, diversification of the massive development of infrastructure. The respondents enjoined other Nigerians to participate actively in the political process as the desired impact of democracy could be felt in the country through hard work, resilience and collaboration.
Also, some residents of Abia State expressed their views on the achievements of the present administration since coming into power two years ago.
A security expert and Senior Special Assistant to Governor OkezieIkpeazu on Police Affairs Dr.Ugochukwu Obi stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had done a lot in the country especially in the area of security. Contributing a Civil servant, Mr. Steve Uba and a Journalist Miss Ifeanyi Ashikodi applauded the efforts of President Buhari in the fight against corruption especially the introduction of whistle blowing system describing it as a giant step in the right direction.
Also, the Chairman All Progressive Congress Abia State, Chief Donatus Nwankpa while noting that President Buhari had touched all sectors of the economy called on Nigerians to support Mr. President in his efforts to re positioning the country. In Anambra State, some Nigerians who spoke to Radio Nigeria on the Democracy day celebration and two years in office of the President Buhari-led administration renewed the call for diversification of the nation’s economy as a solution to the nation’s economic recovery.
One of them, a journalist, Mr. Paulson Okeke, was of the opinion that the nation needed to diversify its economy to agriculture, solid minerals and maritime instead of depending solely on oil. Mr.Okeke expressed the belief that the Nigeria would wriggle out of the present economic challenges facing it, based on the level efforts and commitment of the Federal Government.
Another respondent and Chairman, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, Anambra State, Comrade Mark Ifezue, observed that the astronomical rise in the prices of goods without a commensurate rise in the salaries of workers was worrisome. Comrade Ifezue agreed that placing emphasis on the welfare of Nigerian workers would not only boost their morale but enhance productivity.
A former lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, Mr.Okonkwo Okom applauded the efforts of the Federal Government in bringing Boko Haram to its knees. Mr.Okom also praised the gallantry of Military personnel who in the face of fighting insurgency in the country remained resolute in their determination to ensure that no area in the country was occupied by the insurgents. The respondents however, called on all Nigerians to give the present Government support to enable it take the Nation to the next level.
NNEKA UGWUANYI, LAWRENCE NWOKEDI & KEVIN EKEDIEGWU