In light of Black History Month and our Nation's general elections, we are briefly discussing the history of democracy in the world and in Nigeria.
The term “democracy” can be traced to Greek origins. It was derived from the Greek words, Demos ( meaning: people) and Kratos ( meaning: rule) which simply means a rule of/by the people. Democracy was first mentioned about 2,500 years ago in the cities of Greece and was the opposite to the aristocratic form of government which was practiced. The modern democratic form of government developed in the 19th and 20th centuries and has been the trend across the world since the 1970s, with a number of practicing countries including Nigeria.
Nigeria started her democratic journey as a former British colony on October 1, 1960 after gaining her independence. During the early years of Nigeria’s independence, the country experienced series of military coups which resulted into different forms of government, but eventually became a fully democratic nation in the year 1999.
The military leader then ,General Abdulsalam Abubakar, handed over the reins of government to Olusegun Obasanjo who won the 1999 presidential election against Olu Falae. The democratically elected President; Olusegun Obasanjo put an end to the military regimes that kept switching for nearly 30 years and this birthed Nigeria’s modern constitution that has produced the following successive governments:
• Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku Abubakar: May 29,1999- May 29,2007
• Umaru Yar-Adua/Goodluck Jonathan: May 29,2007-February 2010
• Goodluck Jonathan February 2010-May 5, 2010.*acting president
• Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo: May 5,2010-May 29,2015
• Muhammadu Buhari/Yemi Osinbajo: May 29,2015-present.
The democratic journey of Nigeria had been rough, but in the past 20 years, the country’s democracy has been tested and is continuously strengthened by laws made by the legislature. Though it is obvious the country still has many hurdles to scale through, Nigerians at large are envisaging a future with better economy, improved standard of living, and security.