Letter: Fighting for democracy in Nigeria

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Sir: Your leading article ('Taking over the mantle from Nigeria's military', 11 June) cannot pass without comment. While you write that the two parties created by President Ibrahim Babangida 'are not genuine free associations formed by like- minded people', you go on to support the sham that has been perpetuated by the inept, corrupt, dictatorial Babangida regime in its imposition of the two-party system, by arguing that 'in most countries such an arrangement would be a sham, but Nigeria, which dislikes military rule while appearing unable to handle democracy, has yet to find a system that works'.

Are Nigerians so complacent that something that is a sham and unacceptable to you and other people is acceptable to them? Democracy does not come from heaven like manna, but is fought for, and a democratic culture is created by giving democratic forces (no matter how weak) the right to rule and learn from their own experience.

Soldiers have destroyed Africa with the support of foreign powers whose interest is to continue the brutal economic exploitation of the continent. This accounts for the support by external forces of the undemocratic transition that has been imposed on Nigeria. Your article is yet more glaring proof that when it comes to Africa, the West is unwilling (due to naked economic interests or racist paternalism or both) to call a spade a spade.

The solution to the economic problems facing Africa, and Nigeria in particular, is for those in the rich North who would not support corruption, violations of human rights and economic mismanagement to support democratic forces, no matter how weak. Unless this is done now, West Africa could be engulfed in conflicts more tragic than we have ever seen in Africa.

Yours sincerely,



Africa World Review

London, SE1