In spite of its many manifest shortcomings, a cardinal reason many people around the world prefer to live under a democracy no matter how flawed than a dictatorship no matter how benevolent is the inherent guarantees that it provides key of which is the fact that at a definite, defined period, people usually have the opportunity to decide whether those in power should continue in power or whether they are farmed out to pasture for new faces and fresh ideas.

 In many ways, this is democracy`s ultimate gambit, its most transformational trump card and its most granite guarantee that at no time will the corridors of power be populated by those whose use of power makes them not  only unpopular but  impossible to be removed.

  In 1999, after years of sustained pressure both locally and internationally, Nigeria`s egregious experiment with military dictatorships coughed to stop. It was a cathartic moment for the Giant of Africa because from the mid-80s when Ibrahim Babangida snatched power in a military coup from another military administration, Nigeria as a country had borne painful witness to the numberless abuses military dictatorships could inflict on any country.

 That more than two decades later, Nigeria`s inability to get going can still be significantly put down to the lasting damage done to the soul of the country in the years when khaki-clad men showed epic folly to swap their barracks for the corridors of power speaks to why no country on earth should live under a military dictatorship.

 Or does it not remain especially shameful that in this time and age when the world is moving toward democracy, some military men in a couple of West African countries where the military has failed to   stave off rampaging Islamic terrorists, would seize power under and presume to have the solutions to national problems?

 Each time Nigerians take to the polls every four years in Nigeria, it is not just elections that are conducted, democracy is celebrated, especially in its triumph over military dictatorship.

  While it has not all been smooth sailing for Nigeria with many of the institutional problems plaguing the country inhibiting democracy, it relieves Nigerians greatly that those years of assassinations, incarceration, forced disappearances and other shocking abuses under different military administrations now firmly belong in the past.

  Next year, Nigerians would again have the opportunity to troop to the ballot box to celebrate what is arguably democracy`s grandest gift and what a moment it will be for a country that in 2015 unwittingly let a deeper darkness flood its corridors of power when it thought that it was transitioning from darkness to light. It is poised to be a moment of truth for the beating heart of Africa.

 However, as the buildup to the elections will determine if the elections reflect the will of Nigerians or just the desires of a few greedy goons, Nigerians must commit to campaigns that are clean and clear towards shaping the future of a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

With the campaigns officially starting today, more than any time in the past, Nigerians must ask those who step forward to ask for their mandate to show from their past and present activities what they can do to bring healing and heft to a broken country that is also surprisingly lightweight.

  Nigerians must eschew campaigns that are vile and violent because from the country`s electoral history, violence has always been the forte of those who hope to profit from chaos.

At the moment, Nigeria is too insecure for lives and property to be used for perverse political gambles.

  Kene Obiezu,

Twitter: @kenobiezu 

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