• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Tinubu, Jonathan urge political inclusiveness, deepening of democracy

Democracy Day: Tinubu, Jonathan calls for inclusivity, accountability

…Says it’s time to build a nation where citizens are empowered

President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to recommit themselves to the values of inclusivity, accountability and transparency to guarantee a democracy that flourishes and endures for generations to come.

This was also as former President Goodluck Jonathan, Former President Goodluck cautioned the political class against zero-sum or winner-takes-all politics, which he said breeds acrimony within the polity.

Read also: Tinubu fires Arase, appoints retired DIG Argungu as PSC Chairman

Tinubu and Jonathan spoke on Tuesday at the 2024 Democracy Day Lecture held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Tinubu, after 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, it is time for all Nigerians to partake “in building a nation where every voice is heard, every potential realised, and every citizen empowered to contribute to the collective good.”

The president stated that at this point of the nation’s democratic journey, every Nigerian, irrespective of background, must be given a chance to contribute to the nation’s shared destiny.

Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said the lessons learnt after 25 years is that democracy is a journey that must be constantly nurtured and watched closely.

“Our progress has been marked by both triumphs and trials, each serving as a reminder of the preciousness of our democratic principles. As we move forward, let us recommit to the values of inclusivity, accountability, and transparency, ensuring that our democracy not only endures but flourishes for generations to come.

“The future of Nigeria lies in our hands, in our ability to dream, innovate, and act with courage and conviction. Let us embrace this moment with a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that the path we tread today will shape the Nigeria of tomorrow. This is an invitation for each of us to participate in building a nation where every voice is heard, where every potential is realised, and where every citizen is empowered to contribute to the collective good.”

He also observed that for the nation to have sustained democracy for 25 years, the longest in the country’s chequered history, is evidence of “the enduring sacrifices of several generations of patriots.”

On his part, Jonathan, who was the chairman of the occasion, lamented the avalanche of post-election litigations in the country, which he said has been exacerbated by the resort to ethnic and religious politics.

Kicking against the zero-sum winner-takes-all politics, noted that such an approach will continue to create disharmony unless the winners agree to share powers with other politicians who also participated in the elections.

Read also: Shettima goofed, Tinubu benefitted from me Atiku

“We need to fully imbibe the culture of democracy that encourages good winners and good losers. A situation whereby the winner takes it all, or that promotes ethnic or religious politics, will not augur well for the country.

“This is because the incidence of post-election litigations as seen in this country is not encouraging.”

Speaking on the democracy dividend, he said, “We need to put in more effort in delivering the benefits of democracy to the vast majority of our people. Democracy as an idea is great, but people cannot eat it.”

Referencing Amartya Sen, the Economic Nobel Laureate, who spoke about the incremental value of democracy, Jonathan noted that democracy should serve as a bridge to a better life for the people.

George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation, welcoming guests, noted that the public lecture with the theme “25 years of enduring democracy: Prospects for the future,” was put together to create awareness of 25 years of unbroken governance in Nigeria

“This celebration allows us to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of our national heroes and heroines who fought for the entrenchment of democratic rule in our dear country,” Akume said.