Anya, Okon differ on workability of western democracy in Nigeria
Anya O Anya
Former chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Professor Anya O. Anya and Nigeria’s former Ambassador the Equatorial Guinea, Dr. Gregory Okon, yesterday disagreed on the workability of western democracy in Nigeria.
While Anya argued that the country’s backwardness should be blamed on the adoption of western democracy, Okon said that was not the case and laid the blame squarely on the country’s ruling elite.
Anya, therefore, canvassed restructuring of the country, insisting that the western model of democracy has not impacted positively on the wellbeing of Nigerians. He added that there was the need to explore the adoption of Chinese model of democracy to tackle the myriad of problems besetting the country.
They spoke at the maiden Okali Seminal Ideas Foundation for Africa (OSIFA) Great Debate Series (OGDS) in Abuja, where Anya argued that restructuring the country would create the enabling environment for Nigerians to reap the dividends of democracy.He said adopting the Chinese model of democracy would throw up a leadership recruitment process that would be based on merit as against the present system whereby consideration for merit are sacrificed on the alter of parochial interests.
Anya pointed out that China’s astronomical growth in recent years compared to advanced democracies of Europe and America to justify his assertion that a leadership recruitment process based on merit have been helpful in producing leaders with innovative ideas and increase in productivity.
However, Okon explained that the model of democracy being practiced by China, and other Asian countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, are similar to the western model of democracy, insisting that the ruling elite should be blamed for the nation’s backwardness.He maintained that the country was yet to practice either the parliamentary or presidential systems of governments in their truest sense since the country attained independence in 1960.
He added that agitations for Nigeria’s restructuring would have been unnecessary if the ruling class catered for the interests of citizens.At the event, chaired by a former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Banjo, Okon contended that democracy would thrive in the country once a solid economic foundation is laid to protect the masses interests.