This year, Africa has taken centre stage on every news platform for all the right reasons.
Denied the opportunity for ‘real’ democracy and basic human right opportunities, our North African brothers in Tunisa, Egypt and Libya have taken matters into their own hands. We watched as millions of citizens from these countries stood up to the powers that be and demanded a new form of governance for themselves.
These protests have in some cases led to the toppling of long standing African leaders and rising fear in neighbouring countries where similar forms of unrest are beginning to raise to the surface. In Nigeria, the contest for the April presidential elections has begun in earnest. We have completed the voters registration process and we are gearing up to select the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Not only is the whole world watching to see just how transparent the April elections will be but Nigerian’s themselves are also eager for the benefits of such democracy to be felt right at the grassroots. There is no question that, who ever becomes the next president of our great country, will have a lot of expectations to live up to. Lack of power, dwindling refineries and industries, poor housing and sanitation conditions, high rise of crime and insecurity, inflation, fuel shortages, mass unemployment, education are just some of the issues that have plagued Nigerians for decades.
There is no doubt that the average Nigerian contends with a fair chunk of these issues on a daily basis, prompting the birth of various organizations such as the Enough is Enough movement, Light Up Nigeria, etc.
So at this pivotal time, where the outcome of next election could determine the future of our country, and with the various uprisings in our fellow African nations, what lessons should Nigeria and Nigerians be holding on to? There are various schools of thought on this issue.
Some believe that Nigeria should use the same method as our North African brothers to bring about the needed democratic changes. They suggest that Nigerians have enough anger and frustration to push for the changes she desires.
Others however advocate a more subtle approach, arguing instead that a military take over, like that of Egypt, would only bring about a political vacuum which Nigeria can ill afford. They suggest that it is the Nigerian leaders themselves who need to learn these lessons and that future leaders should live up to the expectations of the electorate or face the risk of such uprisings on their door steps.
But what do you think?
Are there embedded lessons for Nigerian within the recent North African political uprising? What are these lessons? Should such protests be repeated here? What benefits would that bring? Or are the lessons instead for our future political leaders?
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