Chairman, House Committee on Civil Society Organization and Development Partners, Hon. Peter Ohiozojeh Akpatason has said that Nigerians could count gains of democracy in the last seventeen years and were ready to defend it, no matter the cost.
Speaking in Abuja, the lawmaker explained that democracy was deepening despite challenges and forces of retardation, which he said were normal.
He explained those challenges to be existence of undemocratic Constitution, gradual collapse of institution of governance and existence of forces that tend to make the nation look as if there is alternative to democracy.
“It is good news that we are talking about uninterrupted democracy in this country, and the challenges we face such as undemocratic Constitution and gradual collapse of the institution of governance and introduction of certain vices into our administrative system are not enough alternatives to democracy”, he said.
He regretted military interregnum in the past which he noted, aborted good programmes that would have moved the nation forward.
Akpatason further explained that freedom which Nigerians enjoyed, such that when the President is critised without being hounded was a score for democracy.
“We have to celebrate the single fact that we are not under military dictatorship. The rights of people, to a reasonable extent, are being observed and respected; there is rule of law in the country and people can stand up and protest”, he said.
“People could say what they do not like and offer alternative opinion without being thrown into prison, molested and brutalised as it used to be in the past.”
While taking stock of the nation’s achievement, he opined that other countries could engage Nigeria in a democratic way with positive results.