Democracy and dictatorship cannot co-exist. This is the opinion of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah on Wednesday in Abuja at an event with the theme- Civic Space: Pathway to Social Cohesion and integration in Nigeria organized by the Kukah Centre and Open Society Initiative for West Africa(OSIWA0
According to the erudite Bishop, the country is treading a dangerous path because the youth are feeling disempowered.
‘’This is a dangerous path we are treading. Our young people are feeling disempowered. We are faced with the prospects of an uncertain future. It is impossible, even the worst enemy of Nigeria would never have contemplated that this is where we would be,’’ he said.
Kukah was of the opinion that the 2023 elections will give Nigerians another opportunity to think of the mistakes made’’.
He added’’ Democracy is not an exercise undertaken by good men and women, which is what Nigerians have always fallen victim to, that we are looking for, holy men, men of integrity, men of dignity to govern us, and we assume that managing a diverse Nigeria does not require some level of deep intellectual reflection and understanding on the complexity managing a society, so energetic’’.
‘’In 1998, I tried to write an article on civil society, out of curiosity. That article turned to a book, titled: ‘Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria. A lot of people commended the book; it is no longer in circulation. One of the things I concluded was that democracy and dictatorship cannot co-exist, one has to cancel out the other.’’
Bishop Kukah said, ‘’ the tragedy that has now afflicted our country is no excuse for us to become despondent. The year 2023, whether it happens or whatever the case may be(we prayerfully hope it happens), it gives us another opportunity to think of the mistakes we made’’.
Kukah submits, that’’ Using the agents of the state, those in power have also sought to close the(Civic0 space. According to him, Democracy is a work in progress. All of us engaged in democracy and opening up the civic space must realize that it is a long journey’’, he added.
In the same vein, Idayat Hassan, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), in her own contribution also recalled that in the last six years, the civic space has shrunk. For the fact that I can’t go on Twitter, without a VPN has impacted on my right’’, she said.