Military or Democracy Which Benefitted?
In the wake of the recent Military coup in Niger Republic and the ousting of the democratically elected President Bazoum, many people have been sharing their thoughts on the outcome and its adverse effects on the African continent.
While so many in this generation did not witness the military era, it is important that we compare and contrast based on empirical facts to determine which system has been more beneficial to Nigerians since the advent of our Independence.
Now let us dissect minimally, based on facts and figures. Let us do a comparative analysis of the military regimes and democratic regimes in Nigeria and base our arguments on a few key sectors that affect Nigerians.
In Education, our educational system has only dwindled since 1999 with uncountable numbers of strikes, poor infrastructure, and unprepared graduates. The welfare of academic and Non-Academic Staff has only gotten worse when compared to the reality of society. While activities of cultism were more prevalent during the military era, they have not stopped under democracy; instead, our campuses are now filled with Fraudsters and runs girls.
Our Public Primary and Secondary educational institutions have gotten more expensive and inaccessible for the common man since the advent of democracy; more private schools have been built, making education more transactional. Nigeria now has more out-of-school children in the world than any other country, with over 20 million Children. (UNESCO)
In infrastructure, the Military era performed wonders in comparison to what Nigerians have witnessed in the past 24 years of democracy. The military rule of Gowon built three refineries in nine years.
The biggest road infrastructure Project in Nigeria remains the third mainland bridge completed by the military; it is an 11.8 km bridge. Meanwhile, in 24 years of democracy, we got a second 1.8-kilometre Niger bridge, which is still not usable.
Security-wise, Nigeria was very secure under the military, unlike what we are witnessing now. The major security challenge under the military was Armed robbery, which was prevalent, but we never suffered the number of deaths and casualties we are seeing now. Kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery, ethnic violence, etc.
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The economy under the military did not grow as much as under democracy; yes, the military stifled market forces, but the economy did not crumble under them; it was steady, and there was not as much inflation as we have witnessed under democracy. There was value for money, and fuel prices never moved above 65 Naira.
There is no gain in saying that our healthcare has collapsed under democracy; all our hospitals are a shadow of their former selves, and all our doctors are running and leaving the country.
Corruption: Under the military, corruption was limited to a selected few, and it was not brazen like we see today under democracy. How do you explain to Abacha that a snake swallowed millions or a monkey ate billions? Yes, there was massive corruption during the military, but it is child’s play compared to what these criminals in Babanriga are doing today.
So I ask, What has Nigeria benefited from Democracy in 24 years?
Many will say freedom, but we remember how innocent Nigerians were shot for protesting at the Lekki toll gate on October 20th. We remember how innocent Shiite members were massacred in Kaduna, or was it the killing of innocent IPOB members before they went rogue? Or is it the constant threat of the DSS to any citizen that questions the criminality happening under the democratic watch of these politicians? Twitter was banned in Nigeria under APC Democracy. Where is the so-called Freedom?
Under the military, there are no records of regular citizens getting shot; the people that complain about the military are civilians that today have gotten power only to oppress the poor and do worse.
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So while this writer doesn’t want the Military to upset the democratic system in Nigeria, it is important we tell the truth, which is, Nigerians have fared worst under politicians.
Today, any criminal without moral standing can acquire ill-gotten wealth, contest elections, and use the security apparatus to rig himself into power. All these are the issues people like myself see and wonder what type of democracy we practice in Nigeria.
While the wind of coup is blowing across West Africa, with the Niger Republic events the latest victim, one will think the criminal politicians will go back to the drawing board and re-adjust their acts, but as with whom the gods want to kill, they are only getting madder while gaslighting Nigerians with the “Treason” accusation for questioning their criminality.