13yrs Of Democracy: Looted Hopes…

Posted: May 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


The morning of 29th May, 1999 was like the first day in a new recreated Nigeria after 29 years military tyranny.

Drumming, singing, dancing and jubilation filled the Eagle Square, Abuja as Nigerians awaited the handover of

power from a  military regime to a new legitimately elected democratic government under the leadership of  

President Olusegun Obasanjo that morning.

It was same in all the 36 federating states of Africa’s most populous country – celebrating a future full of

hopes for improved wellbeing of everyone.

The inaugural speech of President Obasanjo even re-enforced this faith the more, as Nigerians at the Eagles

Square and millions more who  werewatching  live on TV or listening  over the radio allowed tears of joy to drip

freely when they thought of the past and what the new “messiah” was promising.

“Nigeria is wonderfully endowed by the Almighty with human and other resources” Obasanjo reminded all.

“ It does no credit either to us or the entire black race if we fail in managing our resources for quick

improvement in the quality of life of our people.

“Instead of progress and development, which we  are entitled to expect from those who governed us, we experienced

in  the last decade and a half,  particularly in the last regime but one, persistent deterioration in the quality

of our governance, leading  to instability and the weakening of all public institutions ”, he said

“Good men  were shunned and kept away from government while those who should be  kept away were drawn near.

Relations between men and women who had  been friends for many decades, and between communities that had lived  

together in peace for many generations became very bitter because of  the actions or inactions of government.

“The citizens developed distrust in government, and because promises made for the improvement  of the conditions

of the people were not kept, all statements by  government were met with cynicism”, he pointed out.

“Government officials became progressively indifferent to propriety of  conduct and showed little commitment to

promoting the general welfare  of the people and the public good.

“ Government and all its agencies  became thoroughly corrupt and reckless. Members of the public had to  bribe

their way through in ministries and parastatals to get  attention and one government agency had to bribe another

government  agency to obtain the release of their statutory allocation of funds.

“The impact of official corruption is so rampant and has earned  Nigeria a very bad image at home and abroad.

Besides, it has distorted and retrogressed development”.

Of course, he promised to reverse all, in a rare oration that pulled down the wary stand of pessimists.

Looking back these 13 years of democracy, those past leaders  that Obasanjo so disparaged, would be completely

right if they asked for an unreserved apology from  Obasanjo, who left Nigerians arguably, worse than he met them

.Virtually everything Obasanjo said has remained the same, and has even gone worse in some instances.

The tragedy of 13 years of Nigerian democracy is even more vexing when looked through Nigeria’s earning for this


According to analysts, the country has  grossed in  far more income between 1999 and 2010 than the prior 35 years

before 1999. It has been estimated that  Nigeria’s GDP had jumped  from  $90 billion  in 1998 to about $350

billion in 2009 alone, about 300% and on an absolute value.

Yet on Human Development Index, Nigeria remains among the most impoverished  nations on earth, with an estimated

79 million of its 150 million  populace living below the poverty level.

The North Western part of Nigeria, according to recent UNESCO rating, has the lowest literary   level in the


Nigeria spent not less that $16 billion (N2.5 trillion)  to improve on the 3,500 Mw of power that civil rule

inherited from autocratic military rule.  It is doubtful if Nigeria produces Imw  above that figure today.

Yes, some roads, boreholes, hospitals and some schools may have been built, but on the aggregate that  falls

extremely far  from expectation.

The story of Nigeria in the past 13 years is the story of corruption finding a cosy, ripe breeding ground. Never

in the history of Nigeria had civil servants, politicians and even men and women in uniform stolen so brazenly.

With a judicial system that is a caricature of itself, all the billions spent on creating laws and institutions

that should fight corruption, lay waste.

Since the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria has never been on the brink of collapse and disintegration like now.

After all these earnings, we have won fewer laurels in sports than for the same period under military rule.

Our image abroad has gotten worse as Nigerians make the bulk of thieves and drug criminals in foreign prisons.

There is hardly anything to cheer in the past 13 years of our democracy.

It has been the story of looted hopes by Nigerian leaders at all tiers of government, as Nigeria totters on the

brink of disintegration.

C. Vanguard–
Stories by Chioma Gabriel, Taye Obateru, Luka Biniyat, John Bulus, John Bosco Agbakwuru, Ayo Onikoyi

  1. Muhammad Abdullahi Maigari says:

    Based on the statistics released by Dr. Yemi Kale of NBS, shows that since 1999-date Nigeria is not moving forward, if anything it seems to be stepping backwards from where it stood in 1999. Since PDP come on board, the ravaging health problems are worsening, damming mortality rate & low life expectancy about 50yrs. In education, we have one of the highest illiteracy rate in the world & in social engineering, Nigeria parades extreme poverty due to weak institutions, poor infrastructures and lack of probity & accountability in governance. Since PDP came, we have been governed by mostly mentally ill or mentally bankrupt, definitely in all cases stupid self-serving politicians, each aspiring to be the richest lazy fool in the world sitting like an over-fed baboon on top the tallest tree in our devastated & rotting vineyard by insecurity and Boko Haram insurgency, savoring their exploits admist squalor, hunger and decaying corpses in the country. In all, we have nothing to celebrate, I think we have to go back to Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace and the former Britain Prime Minister that handed over Independence to us in 1960 Harold MacMillan, to come and continue from where they left us 52yrs ago, we have failed and cannot continue, in fact even the amalgamation of the nation by Sir. Lord Lugard, is facing litmus paper test of breaking up due to poverty of ideas and unpatriotism of our dealers not leaders.

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