By Chris Chimezie
For democracy to be truly representative of the yearnings and aspirations of the people, credible voters’ register must be available for the conduct of elections by the electoral body.
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) made this known while delivering the 2018 2nd Distinguished Personality Lecture of the Department of Political Science and Diplomatic Studies, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State yesterday.
He maintained that for democracy to be acceptable by all and accelerate development it must be fully participatory.
In the lecture titled: “Liberal Democracy and Development in Nigeria: Fourth Republic in Perspective”, Akeredolu said Nigerian democracy can be a brand that engenders desired development if the rule of law and freedom of political participation are entrenched in the polity.
He described Liberal Democracy as dictatorial in nature and mostly practiced by leaders in countries of the Middle East who resisted all attempts by reformists to suggest a change attuned to modernity.
The Governor hinted that the most important issue which must be of concern is development through the inherited political system.
“The Colonia experience was designed to exploit the local populace. Infrastructural development was meant for effective dispossession of the natives and capacity building was moderate and efficiently structured to produce servile subjects.
“The efficient bureaucracy bequeathed to the local elites and the infrastructural development for a systematic rape of the rural communities engendered a steady economic growth.
“The evidence was however absent in the lives of the people. The urban-rural drift became accentuated due to the truncation of the traditional mode of production and its substitution with an alien pattern which emphasises exportation of cash crops as against the local staple”, he said.
Akeredolu further stated that following the practice the small scale farmers lost their farmlands to the big time money bags from the cities while the new rulers of the country then failed to effect fundamental adjustments which would have compelled adaptation to accommodate local variants.
The Governor who submitted that the inherited colonial structure
cannot engender development added that Collectivization of values and mobilization, for the common good, remain the only plausible solution to the challenges of underdevelopment and the attendant poverty.
“The current political structure is too artificial; it does not assist in mobilizing the people for the task of nation-building It is a major cause of division among the people of this country.
“It was a colonial design to achieve the purpose of dividing the people with a view to exacting firm control on them. it must be reworked to forge a new country where citizens will be free to choose any part to live and prosper” he stated.
He however commended the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the current paradigm shift saying generations yet unborn will remember this current attempt to re-order the priorities of the country and mobilise the citizens for the great task of working assiduously for economic prosperity.
“Our people are beginning to earn respect as producers of crops. The almost total dependence on foreign countries for survival is gradually winding down.
“It is obvious that democracy does not necessarily translate to economic growth. The people must not only be allowed to vote without choosing periodically. They should be able to decide on the most suitable course of production and development should be about and for them” he concluded.