In a country plagued by dictatorship, it would be easy for the people to lose hope and allow resentment to overcome their lives. But Nigerians continue the struggle toward development through participatory democracy. Having a high profile ally such as Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu is helpful, but it will obviously be a question of the peoples' commitment to creating an alternative to dictatorship through participation. Please click here to see our previous post regarding a call for participatory democracy in Nigeria through Achebe's literature. Similarly to the following article, Achebe looks toward a positive interaction between intellectuals and rural populations to create a full-circle form of communication that would allow a participatory democracy to flourish. -Editor
Gov Lists Gains of Domesticating Democracy
From Adibe Emenyonu in Benin, 05.12.2008
Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu has condemned the wholesome adoption of democracy from the developed world , saying the best way for Nigerians to reap the dividends of our nascent democracy is by domesticating it,taking into cognizance the peculiarities of the country 's socio-cultural beliefs . Speaking as a guest lecturer at the foundation day ceremony of Igbinedion University , Okada in Edo state over the weekend, the Niger state Governor advocated a unit based development where the people in the grassroots would be involved in deciding what development projects they want rather than allow politicians to decide for them. Delivering a lecture titled, 'Participatory democracy, an ingredient for sustainable development,' the Niger state Chief Servant said: "Let me emphasize how strongly I share the view that unless we in the developing democracies, are able to systematically evolve a political system that takes account of our socio-cultural peculiarities and characteristics, we run the risk of thinking that the wholesale robust economic and democratic ideas and precepts of the developed world would have the magic wand to solve our development problems. " We thus may be under a dangerous illusion that we are making progress while in the actual sense we may indeed be engaging the reverse gear and be going in the reverse direction, because of wrong application to different settings and environment,” he said. "In other words, we must domesticate democratic principles to take cognizance of excellent values and institutions," he said. According to Aliyu, development must be homegrown, home-made and targeted at improving the lives of the people. He blamed the lack of good governance and the inability of Nigerians to reap the dividends of democracy since 1999 to the non participation of intellectuals in the political system, saying politics was left to charlatans and the unemployed. While commending the progress so far made by the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua which he said could be attributed to the fact that he is an academic, Aliyu who said he was drafted into politics when he was made to resign his job as a permanent secretary, called on Nigerians to hold their elected representatives accountable for whatever development they desire. "Go back to your villages, your wards, your constituencies, and demand from officials or your representatives to account for their activities and you shall by so doing be starting the process of a necessary revolution,"he said,advising that the country's development plans be institutionalized.