The former governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, has said democracy in the country is not working due to politicking despite the end of the military administration in 1999.
Fayemi said the protest that trailed the fuel subsidy removal during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012 was not justified but that Jonathan decision was antagonized due to political interests.
He spoke Tuesday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at a national dialogue organised to celebrate the 60th birthday of Prof Udenta Udenta, founding National Secretary of Alliance for Democracy (AD).
In January 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the removal of fuel subsidy, causing a significant increase in the pump price of petrol, from N65 per litre to N141. The decision which ignited widespread protests and criticism across major cities in Nigeria, known as ‘Occupy Nigeria.’
After more than a week of protests, the government adjusted the petrol price to N97 and later reduced it to N87.
While speaking at the event, the ex-governor criticised the “winner-takes-all” nature of Nigeria’s democracy stating that the nation’s current challenges could not be effectively addressed without adopting proportional representation, where election rewards are distributed among contestants based on their share of the vote.
“Today, I read former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview in TheCable saying our liberal democracy is not working and we need to revisit it, and I agree with him. We must move from the political alternatives. I think we are almost on a dead end of that.”
“What we need is alternative politics, and my own notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 per cent of the vote and take 100 per cent. It won’t work! We must look at what is called proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 per cent of the votes will have 21 per cent of the government. Adversary politics bring division and enmity,” he said.
He also acknowledged that all major political parties in Nigeria, including the PDP, APC, and Labour Party, had previously included the removal of subsidy in their manifestos.
However, he emphasized that the actual implementation of the policy in 2012 was driven by political considerations rather than a genuine commitment to the policy itself.
“All political parties in the country agreed and they even put in their manifesto that subsidy must be removed. We all said subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time, in 2012, we know the truth sir, but it is all politics.
“That is why we must ensure that everybody is a crucial stakeholder by stopping all these. Let the manifesto of PDP, APC and Labour Party be put on the table and select all those who will pilot the programme from all parties.”
Among those at the event were Jonathan, former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili; and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka.