Today on September 15th the world unites to commemorate International Day of Democracy, an annual celebration that emphasizes the role of democracy in molding our societies and advancing human rights.
The International Day of Democracy theme this year is “Empowering the Next Generation,” emphasizing the critical role that young people play in cultivating and maintaining democratic values.
This issue is especially important in Nigeria, a country that has seen both the promise and the dangers of democracy since attaining independence in 1960.
Nigeria’s Democratic Journey
The route to democracy in Nigeria has been marked by key milestones and setbacks. Nigeria began its democratic journey after obtaining independence from British colonial authority in 1960.
However, the country had periods of political insecurity, with military coups and dictatorships upsetting the democratic process. These disruptions, despite setbacks, demonstrated the tenacity of the Nigerian people’s desire for democracy.
Nigeria emerged from a long era of military control in 1999 and returned to a democratic society.
Since then, the government has made strides toward consolidating democratic institutions, holding regular elections, and creating a more vibrant civic sphere. Corruption, ethnic and religious tensions, and socioeconomic inequities, on the other hand, continue to put Nigeria’s democratic durability to the test.
Nigeria’s Neighbors: A Shared Struggle
Nigeria is not alone on the African continent in its democratic battles. Several bordering nations, including Niger Republic, Gabon, and Burkina Faso, have also experienced periods of political instability and military coups. These similar experiences highlight the significance of regional cooperation and mutual assistance in sustaining democracy throughout Africa.
Empowering Nigeria’s Next Generation
The International Day of Democracy 2023 subject of “Empowering the Next Generation” is very relevant for Nigeria. Young Nigerians are not just the future but also the current stewards of democracy, with a youth population that accounts for a sizable share of the country’s demographic.
Their active participation in political processes, advocacy for social justice, and attempts to combat misinformation are critical components of constructing a robust democratic society.
The Youth’s Role in Democracy
Nigerian youth have expressed their dedication to democracy in a variety of ways. They have been essential in advocating for electoral openness, peaceful protests, and topics such as climate change and gender equality. These activities demonstrate the necessity of involving youngsters in the development of national policies and governance.
The spread of misinformation and deception is one of the major concerns confronting young Nigerians and their peers worldwide. False narratives can contaminate public discourse, widen divides, and undermine trust in democratic institutions.
As a result, it is necessary to teach the next generation critical thinking skills and media literacy so that they can tell fact from fiction.
The International Day of Democracy 2023 serves as a reminder that democracy is a live, growing notion that necessitates the active participation of all generations.
The empowerment of the next generation is critical for protecting and strengthening democratic principles in Nigeria and adjacent nations with shared democratic experiences.
Nigeria can set the way for a more dynamic, inclusive, and resilient democracy for future generations by actively incorporating young people in decision-making processes, supporting civic education, and combating misinformation.