Nigerians Reflect on 25 Years of Democracy Amid Economic Challenges and Lingering Memories of Military Rule

As Nigeria celebrates 25 years of democracy, the nation remains divided on the success of civilian rule. While the country has made progress since the end of military rule in 1999, many Nigerians are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. A 2022 survey by Afrobarometer found that over three-quarters of respondents were not satisfied with democracy, primarily due to economic struggles and rising prices.

However, the majority still prefer democracy to any other system of governance, likely due to the painful memories of military rule that lasted for most of the period between independence in 1960 and 1999. The military regimes were characterized by oppression, economic collapse, and human rights violations.

President Bola Tinubu, in power for just over a year, faces the challenge of winning over young Nigerians who did not experience military rule firsthand. His economic reforms have led to rising prices, causing some to express a desire for a return to military rule on social media. However, the military leadership has stated that it has no interest in retaking power and is committed to protecting democracy.

While Nigeria has made progress in the past 25 years, many believe that more work needs to be done to strengthen democracy and ensure that it delivers benefits to the Nigerian people. For those who remember military rule, there is no choice – democracy, with its freedoms, is the only way forward.