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Academy of Letters seeks improved democracy

The Nigerian Academy of Letters has called for an improved democratic system. Guest speaker of the maiden virtual lecture of NAL, Emeritus Prof. of Philosophy, Godwin Sogolo, of the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria, said that there was no perfect democracy anywhere in the world but efforts must be made to keep refining democracy. The lecture, titled, ‘The Impact Of Democracy On The Lives Of Nigerians,’ was the first virtual seminar organised by NAL in 2024. Sogolo said, “There is always hope that relentless democratisation will lead to the perfection that we all desire. There is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world; even more significant is the fact that there is no better alternative to democracy. Therefore, the task before us, Distinguished Fellows and Members of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, is for us to continue to work on refining the democracy that we have.” He also highlighted the deficits of democracy in Nigeria, adding that democracy in Nigeria was marred with dubious elections, impunity, corruption, emasculated Local Government System, a poor economy, poor infrastructure, the resurgence of centrifugal forces, terrorism and kidnapping, and self-serving leaders. “Political parties do not have internal democracy. In the past, many so-called political leaders did not emerge from legitimate primaries. Political parties, generally, prepare more to rig elections than woo the people to their side. Every critical player in the electoral system is compromised, and In Nigeria, laws, rules and regulations are blatantly violated; political leaders have increasingly become unaccountable to the electorate, and there is an increase in the general latitude towards criminality. State Houses of Assembly no longer serve as a check on the executive, the assemblies have become theatres of compromises and trade-offs,” Sogolo said. He explained that although the deficits of democracy in Nigeria were many, profound, and persistent, nonetheless, there were positives to celebrate in the nation’s return to democratic governance in 1999. According to him, they are freedom from military rule and arbitrary laws and policies; freedom to elect leaders through the electoral process. “However imperfect it may be; freedom of speech and association; the rule of law and greater observance of human rights.”

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