Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has disclosed that many of the prominent politicians on the continent understood their idea of democracy from the military.
Speaking at a workshop in Abuja on Friday, he stated that some politicians learnt their “do-or-die mentality” towards elections from the military and have failed to understand that regular, free and fair elections are a key component of democracy.
Noting that the military bequeathed “a lot of dangerous legacies”, he said, “in Africa today, we notice that despite achieving democracy, we’ve not had complete freedom.
“We still experience struggles and challenges and difficulties. The struggle for democracy has been characterised by frustrations.
“One of the key components of democracy that every African should note is regularity in elections as well as integrity of elections.
“Now, having said that, it is also important to recognise that democracy really is in a state of flux in the African continent and how, also, governance that is a product of this democratic transition is failing to satisfy the fundamental needs and aspirations of the people.
“The challenges we are facing now with democratization in Africa is on account of military rule. In Nigeria, many of the prominent politicians are people who learnt from the military rule particularly, Babangida politics of transition.
“And many of them have the mentality of engaging in elections. A do-or-die mindset that has been learnt from the military rule.”