Hon. Kingsley Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor Constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, has said the worst democracy is better than the best military government.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports Hon. Chinda said this on Wednesday while speaking with members of the National Assembly (NASS) New Media Forum, following recent comments made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on democracy in Africa.
Obasanjo had alluded to reasons why democracy is not working in Africa, adding that the system of government currently being practised as it is should be scrapped while suggesting that the Western liberal democracy be replaced with ‘Afro Democracy’.
Reacting, Chinda, who is also the House Minority Leader, opined that there are so many factors working against the kind of democracy in place on the continent, including Nigeria.
He highlighted some of the factors militating against democracy in Nigeria to include illiteracy and poverty while stressing that if these two problems are taken care of, the electoral processes would be far better with an overall effect on every other aspect of democracy in the country.
“I believe, and I still say so, until I have a stronger reason to change my opinion, that the worst democracy is better than the best military government.
“All we need to do is to continue to improve on what we are doing. And if you look at our democracy many years back, and what we have now, it is better than what we used to have. There is no doubt about that.
“There are so many factors working against our democracy. The level of illiteracy is still high and hunger is still high. Take care of these two problems and see whether there wont be an improvement.
“Let people be more educated, more enlightened, and more informed and reduce hunger to a bearable minimum, where people will sell their votes N5,000 or N10,000.
“It will get to that stage where we begin to understand that democracy is the best. I must also say democracy must not be Western democracy. We can Nigerianise democracy and make it work for us by applying what is best for us in the circumstance.
“But, the people should decide who should lead, who should speak for them and who should serve them. However you look at it, democracy is best for us for now,” Chinda said.
Speaking further with members of the New Media Forum, the Minority Leader concurred with former President Goodluck Jonathan that off cycle elections should be scrapped, while revealing that there is already a bill in the works to unify the electoral cycles in the country.
“There is already a bill that we’re processing to unify the electoral system. So I agree with former President Goodluck Jonathan. Even before he made that pronouncement, we were already crafting a bill.
“The off-cycle election has not been helpful, if you look at it critically. If care is not taken, we may have a situation where we begin to plan for elections almost all year round. If we continue that way, Nigeria will continue to be in election in the four years, because we expect that we will have more off-cycle elections as elections are being nullified by the judiciary.
“So I agree with Jonathan that there is a need for us to look inward. Let us completely scrap off-cycle elections. It is a four-year tenure. At the end of the four years, we go back for fresh elections, whether you have stayed in office for one day or not,” Chinda said.