Forum Celebrates Nigeria’s Independence

By Ashley Broadbelt–

A panel discussion was held on the topic of democratization and instability within the Nigerian Government. The discussion was a part of the Colloquia Series, hosted by the Political Science Department, and took place last Monday in Dickey Hall Auditorium.

The forum was also to celebrate the 51st Anniversary of Nigeria’s independence, officially on October 1st, recognizing all of the changes in Nigeria since the term of the current president Goodluck Jonathan.

“Few people notice that [Nigeria] is the largest black country in the world—160 million people,” said Politcal Science Professor Dr. Chieke Ihejirika. “It could be a powerhouse. The trouble in the country makes one want to run away from it.”

Lincoln University and the country of Nigeria has had a strong and withstanding relationship throughout history. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Nigerian president, is a distinguished alumnus of Lincoln University.

During the years after Azikiwe’s presidency, Nigeria faced several dictatorships.

Donald Bradt, PhD., an associate professor in the political science department,  mentioned that in 1983 Nigeria slipped back in to a dictatorship and the country was extremely troubled when Sani Abacha was in office.
Abacha had Nigeria under a brutal regime. Although Nigeria was prospering economically during that time, the social system was corrupt.

Bradt stated that the country was accomplishing many things under Abacha, but after he died, people were celebrating. “They were literally dancing in the streets,” he said.

The country has struggled ever since to create a democracy.

 

Sophomore Antonio Garrison agreed with critics about current president Goodluck Jonathan being able to move up the ranks by his name and having “good luck”. Garrison added that Jonathan was at the right place at the right time.

Many students were not aware of the political issues that the Nigerian government has and is currently facing.

Rolanda Rich said that the discussion was very informative, and she learned new things about Nigeria and their politics.

It was a great time for some students to learn something new.

“The country [Nigeria] is still young.  It’s fighting to be more stabilized,” Jestin Johnson said.

“Right now democracy in Nigeria is suffering from growing pains,” said Ihejirika. “Democratization is their problem; you have to have a stable government based on law.”

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