By Michael Jegede, Abuja.
Former Minister of Interior, Comrade Patrick Abba Moro, has emphasized the fact that democracy remains the best form of government and opined that under no circumstance can military rule ever serve as an alternative to democratic governance.
Moro, a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made the remark in an interview in Abuja while assessing 18 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria.
The PDP stalwart noted that there was need for some sort of celebration having had an uninterrupted democratic experience of 18 years, despite failure on the part of the country’s leadership in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian people.
“Definitely, in the 21st century world military rule is certainly not an alternative to democratic rule. It is not just there for you to compare the military rule to democratic rule. What we are involved in here is an appreciation, an appropriate appreciation of democratic rule whether or not governance has been able to meet up with the challenges and expectations of democratic rule as a form of government. And so, we are talking about a system of government known in history as the only feasible system of government.
“I have insisted over time that the fact that democracy have come to stay is enough reason for Nigerians to beat their chest and say that they have come a long way. We have had a chequered history of military interregnum viz-a-viz democratic governance. And generally people have concluded that military interregnum or military rule is an aberration, is an anathema to democratic advancement. And so for us as a country, against the backdrop of intermittent or periodic military interventions in our polity and governance, 18 years of uninterrupted democratic rule certainly calls for some level of celebration,” Moro said.
He added: “I think that it is not just enough to have democracy as a platform of government. Democracy comes with its expectations. What is popularly regarded in the Nigerian political parlance as dividends of democracy is a cornerstone of democratic rule. In other words, democratic expectations are usually anchored on infrastructural and human capacity development in all ramifications. So far given the challenges facing the Nigerian nation today in terms of decayed infrastructural facilities, in terms of some level of stagnation in economic advancement, in terms of the hunger in the land, I think that democracy and governance has not met the expectations of the average Nigerian.”
Asked if it was not a big minus for PDP that spent 16 years in power out of the 18 years of uninterrupted democracy not to have been able to do much in meeting the expectations of Nigerians, Moro said: “We are talking about governance. We are not emphasizing political party. I am not assessing political parties. And so, for me, if the Peoples Democratic Party was in government for 16 years of the 18 years of our democratic rule and we still have epileptic light in this country; we still in spite of the enormous resources available to us have not been able to fix electricity supply in this country; if the PDP was in government for 16 years of the 18 years and I can still not find a road from Abuja to my country home in Ugbokolo (in Benue State), it means that all of us are guilty of leadership and governance ineptitude. And that truth must be told. We cannot run away from it. And this is regardless of political parties. If corruption continues to be our major challenge in 21th century Nigeria, in 18 years of our democratic rule, all the parties that have been in governance at different levels of government from that period up till date are guilty. We are all guilty of non-performance. That is the truth. We cannot run away from it. I can’t ascribe success to any political party here, even the party that I belong to, if we have been unable to fix the problems of this country. And so the point must be made that we as a country and as a people have not been able to solve the problems of the people of Nigeria. And that is the truth regardless of the political party that has been empowered.”
Moro further stated: “Come to think about it, what we have had all these times had been a recycling of public office holders. In 18 years of our democratic rule, the PDP was in power for 16 years. For two of those 18 years the APC has come on board. Now, reel out names of the dramatis personae that was in governance in the 16 years of the so-called PDP rule in this country and the names of the dramatis personae that are here in APC now governing this country, what difference can you get?
“Or, is it the now governor of Benue State (Samuel Ortom) that was the secretary of PDP, auditor of PDP, Minister under the PDP government for the 16 years, who now defected to APC and became governor of Benue State? Is he the difference? Or, is it the Minister of Transportation (Rotimi Amaechi) who was a Speaker for 8 years of the 16 years of PDP government; who was governor 8 years of the 16 years making a total of 16 years who now defected to APC and became a Minister? Name them! Is it Chris Ngige, that is the Minister of Labour and Productivity now, who was governor under PDP, moved to AC or ACN to APC and now has become a Minister under the APC government?
“So, if you properly situate the problem of Nigeria, you cannot definitely be complaining about the platform. You cannot be complaining about the party. We can only be complaining about ourselves, including me my humble self. If I say that leadership of this country has failed in providing for the people of this country, I am not excluded. I have been part of it. I have been a Minister for close to four years. I was a local government chairman for close to 7 years. So, if we have failed to solve the problems of this country, the proper thing for us to do is to sit down and ask ourselves where we have gone wrong. A political party is just a vehicle. The people who drive this vehicle constitute the problems of this country.”