By Bernard Tolanidada Dada
Former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), has warned against one party dictatorship, noting that “only only a viable opposition would ensure the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview in Uyo, the State capital at the weekend, Nkanga, a chieftain of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), frowned at alleged intimidation of the opposition by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), at the centre, saying such attitude was capable of truncating the democratic process.
According to him, only a viable opposition can check the excesses of the ruling party while giving the electorates the choice of taking the right decision at the polls.
“Democracy must be sustained; you don’t stifle the opposition. Whatever we are doing, people should be allowed to have a choice.
Any form of dictatorship must be resisted by all”, Nkanga stated, adding: “there must be a ruling party and a viable opposition”.
The former Air Force chief, who called for the restructuring of the polity in line with the spirit and letters of true and fiscal federalism, blamed pockets of resistance in the polity on failure to run the system within the principles of justice, equity and fairness.
“Nigeria has been unfair to the Igbos; the Biafran agitators, I believe are not really looking for secession; they are fighting for justice, fairness and equity in the allocation of resources…”, he stressed.
He recalled that peace and harmony prevailed in the era of regional system in Nigeria, noting that the system gave regions room to explore and exploit their resources and only remit 50 percent of the proceeds to the centre.
“In the First Republic, the three regions kept 50 percent of what they produced and remit the rest to the centre”, he noted and called for a holistic action plan to correct inherent anomalies in the polity for a stronger Nigeria.
He pointed out that the myriads of problems affecting every ethnic nationality in Nigeria gave room to the National Conference 2014 in which no fewer than 607 recommendations were articulated and presented to the Federal Government.
The recommendations, if implemented, Nkanga said, would go a long way towards addressing the prevailing tension in the polity for the country to move forward.
The return of democracy, Nkanga noted, has brought in its wake more dividends of democracy and effective participation of the people in governance, adding that it was time the voices of the electorates were heeded if the democratic experiment must stand the test of time.
Nkanga, who doubles as the Director-General (DG) of governor Udom Emmanuel Campaign Organisation, Divine Mandate, gave the administration a pass mark in the last two years in office.
He noted that “the administration has done well” especially in the areas of roads, industrialization and human capital development and urged for more supports for more dividends of democracy to thrive in the State.
“There are States that are even struggling to pay salaries, but Akwa Ibom has commissioned a lot of projects in roads, industrialization and other infrastructural development in the last two years”, he added.