June 12: Sen. Nwite Foundation identifies threats to democracy in Nigeria


Late Senator Nwite

The Senator Polycarp Nwite Foundation for Democratic Accountability (SPNFDA) has warned that widespread hunger and insensitivity of the political class in the face of the challenging economy are major threats to the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria.

The foundation that was named after the late 3rd Republic Senator, Polycarp Nwite, a democracy advocate and former senior Presidential aide said this in a statement issued to mark the June 12 2024 Democracy Day.

The Foundation therefore urged the government to take urgent action to restore public trust in democratic governance as democracy ought to inspire hope, rather than despair.

“Palpable food insecurity, insensitivity of the political class and declining faith in political leadership as being responsible for the widespread disillusionment among Nigerian youths – the successor leadership generation – many of whom are now turning their back on the nation in preference for foreign democracies,” the Foundation said in ‘June 12 Democracy Day’ statement on Tuesday June 11, 2024, signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Michael Nwite.

The foundation emphasized that these factors posed a significant threat to the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria, as they bruise the soul of democracy – the people.

It saluted the courage and selfless sacrifices of Nigeria’s Heroes of Democracy; and also commended the resilience and ingenuity of the Nigerian populace in weathering the current biting economic situation in the nation.

The foundation said it is concerned that “These factors in addition to diverse other economic challenges and the lingering intractable security problem in the country, have become the oxygen fuelling criminality and the current exodus by young Nigerians to foreign lands, in search of better economic and social fortunes, referred to as ‘Japa’ syndrome in local parlance.

“For the survival and sustenance of democracy in the nation, government must take urgent steps to stimulate real productivity, address the current alarming rate of unemployment, criminality and disillusionment among young Nigerians, which it said is fast destroying the fibre and potential of the youth demography and pose a significant threat to the nation’s security, development, and future.”

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Mr. Nwite said further, “It’s no longer in doubt that the impact of the challenging economic environment, scarce opportunities, dysfunctional social infrastructure and weak institutions, have continued to erode the faith of the Nigerian youth demography in democracy and turning their backs in droves on the nation.”

He urged government to address these challenges and work towards regaining the trust of Nigerian youths, “who are the future of the country’s democracy.”

The foundation expressed hope in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to take the necessary steps to address these challenges and restore the faith of Nigerian youths in democracy.

It charged “President Tinubu administration to motivate youths for sustainable development in our democracy by offering opportunities for youth participation in governance and decision-making in job and wealth creation, by supporting youth-led initiatives and entrepreneurship, essentially, in agriculture, social and economic driven technology.

“Nigeria with huge resources in arable land and human capital has no business being listed as a nation with food insecurity. All government needs is an intentional policy backed up by sustainable investments in agriculture – including right training in relevant skills in food production, preservation and value chain development.

“Government must also encourage robust civic engagement by creating safe spaces for all citizens to express themselves and engage in civic activities – fostering a culture of inclusivity, diversity and enthronement of an evidence-based political system that is transparent and credible enough to evoke patriotic zeal and belief in our people.

“Leaders at all levels must be honest and intentional about reducing the cost of governance, strategically redirecting the Nigerian youths towards sustainable development and harnessing their potential for national growth, by implementing policies addressing the root causes of youth disillusionment.”

Senator Nwite was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Botswana, a Senior Special Assistant to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and a frontline activist of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, a broad coalition of Nigerians, formed in May 1994 to fight for the enthronement of civil rule in Nigeria.

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