Our Democracy Was Midwifed By Dictatorship — Fashola

A former Lagos state governor and minister, Babatunde Fashola, has described Nigeria’s democracy as being heralded by dictatorship, and not from the free will of the citizens.

A former Lagos state governor and minister, Babatunde Fashola, has described Nigeria’s democracy as being heralded by dictatorship, and not from the free will of the citizens.

Fashola spoke on Wednesday at The Platform Nigeria, a programme by the Lagos-based church, Covenant Nation, to mark the 2024 Democracy Day.

Themed ‘Democracy and Free Market’, Fashola also noted that the current privatisation of most businesses in the country was heralded by the military through Decree No., 25 of 1988 later amended in 1999, known as the Privatisation and Commercialisation Decree.

Fashola who did not give further details of his stance said Nigerians did not participate in the election that gave rise to the emergence of the country’s first democratic president.

“I will start my speech by talking about June 12. June 12 was like any other day until 1993 because of the way people voted, and what happened. And that was an election that transcended all of our default lines and areas of division.

“Suddenly, it became an election that people wanted to give everything to save. Lives were lost. Even the elites of Nigeria decided that it was an election that we were to pay any price for, and many did pay the price.

“The hope that that election promised was heralded by symbols. Late Abiola was the elixir that kept the quest and the agitation for the actualisation of June 12 alive.

“Clearly, the reason we are converging here today did not evolve from free will. It emerged from a dictatorial arena. Our democratic experience was midwife by dictatorship, not by something we participated in by our own free will. Dictatorial actions led to the emergence of what we converge to celebrate 25 years later.

“But there is a coincidence. It is that as we talk of democracy and the idea of a free market, Nigeria’s free market was also started by the military.

“That might surprise some of us. And I make the point that there is a decree called decree no 25 of 1988 later amended in 1999 known as the privatisation and commercialisation decree. That is the place that our journey to a free market started from,” he said.

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