Nigeria’s Present Democracy Worse Than Dictatorship – Kanu Agabi

Nigeria's Present Democracy Worse Than Dictatorship - Kanu Agabi
Kanu Godwin Agabi
  • By Ebi Alexander – Yenagoa

The former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Godwin Agabi, SAN, has posited that Nigeria’s present form of democracy is worse than the worst form of dictatorship because the presidential system of government gave much power to the Executive.

Agabi, who spoke in Yenagoa at the first inaugural lecture for the late first indigenous Chief Judge of old Rivers State, Hon.Justice Ambros Allagoa, said that it was obvious that Nigeria had a total misconception of democracy.

He said that democracy could not survive or thrive in a country where citizens are not given equal rights and opportunities to decide who rules.

According to him, “The presidential system of government is actually a dictatorship under the constitution. This is because all executive powers are vested in one man, either the president or the governor.

“We elected that system because they were tendencies towards division in the nation and it was hoped that after investing all these powers in one person, they will use that power to go ahead and build the nation together.

“That was the expectation of those who invested the executive powers in one person. If that power is not exercised or if it is wrongly exercised, the nation will have problem and that’s where we are, that’s the environment”.

Continuing, he said, ” what has transpired so far, it must be obvious, is that what we have is a total misconception of democracy. Our democracy has been characterized by the assimilation of the opposition, which has given rise to a culture of flattery.

“Government at all levels must realize that constructive opposition is essential for growth, the assimilation of the opposition has been aided and facilitated by the fact that the legislature instead of operating along party lines has often operated as a faction.

“As as long as the opposition is stifled or not in existence, the efficiency of government will be impaired, and once that happens it will impact negatively on the judiciary. If we’re are serious about constructive and transparent government, if we want a just efficient judiciary, we must restore the opposition.

“There’s little the judiciary can do to help a nation, some of whose politicians proceed on the premise that both good and evil are equal, that the end justifies the means, that man can’t leave by bread alone. Our species of democracy has brought with it hatred, fear and prejudice.

“We have proceeded in the false premise,that politics without falsebi or fraud cannot produce results, it must be made clear that we cannot be strong in numbers, without first being strong in spirit and in truth.

“Democracy must not be seen as do as we please, with all regards for the right of the others. The judiciary cannot cope if we persist in fighting false hood with force, vice with vice, violence with violence.”

In his address, the Chairman of the Nembe-Se Lawyers Forum, organisers of the lecture, Barrister Ayebasin Beredugo, said that the lecture was conducted to honour Hon. Justice Ambrose Allagoa, who deserved much more for his achievements and service to the people, state and country.

He called on the Governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states to immortalise him in recognition of his service to the development of the two states.

“We similarly call on the federal government to immediately name the Yenagoa campus of the Nigerian Law school after the late Judge for his service to the advancement of law, justice, the legal profession and national development.”


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