A conference on twenty years of democracy in Nigeria will take place in Abuja on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The venue is Shehu Musa Yar’Adua International Conference Centre, Abuja. The theme of the conference is Democracy and the Rule of law.
The objective is to bring people together to do an assessment of how the country has faired in the last 20 years, looking into the practice of democracy and level of observance of the rule of law.
The conference is organised by TELL Communications Ltd, publishers of TELL magazine, Nigeria’s authoritative newsweekly. This is not the first time that the company is organising a conference on democracy. It had one in 2009 to commemorate 10 years of democracy. That exercise, which had General Collin Powell, United States’ former secretary of state and chairman joint chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces present the lead paper, was graced by then Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s war-time head of state among others.
The 2009 event was some form of celebration that the country was having civilian rule for an unbroken record of ten years. This time, the objective has gone beyond celebration of merely being under civilian rule, but to do an assessment of what the experience has brought to Nigerians.
So, what is the interest of TELL communications in efforts to assess democracy? The media company played a major role in efforts to force the military out of government. For this, it lost millions of money to security clampdown, while it’s directors and staff were brutalised and detained without trial. The government also declined to pay compensation for the misadventures of its agencies even where the courts found them culpable. But the interest of the company goes beyond the guarding of its interest. What it sets out to do is ensure that the interest of the electorate is protected and the struggle for democracy and the sacrifice of lots of Nigerians in this regard do not go in vain.