28th May, 2010
A university don, Dr. Mahmoud Lawan, on Thursday in Abuja urged Nigerians to work together to deepen the country’s democracy in spite of challenges.
Lawan gave the advice while delivering a lecture at a one-day meeting of zonal and state coordinators of Bridge Builder Frontiers (BBF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
The lecture is entitled: “Institutionalising Democratic Principles in our Political System: The Concept, the Practice and the Dividends.”
He identified one of those challenges as the inability of the political leadership to provide economic security to greater number of their electorate.
Lawan, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano, said that the challenges could be addressed through attitudinal change and institutional reforms.
He therefore, advised politicians to imbibe the democratic principles of “dialogue, tolerance, compromise, competition and selfless service to the people.”
“Politicians also have to eschew bitterness, ethnicity, violence and political vandalism.
“Political office holders as representatives of the people must initiate sound public policies that will help to alleviate poverty and illiteracy,” according to Lawan.
He said they should establish contact with the people they represent for better understanding of their problems, adding that currently there is a great disconnect with the people.
“There has to be a great engagement of the civil society in the struggle to make democracy better and sustainable,” Lawan said.
The lecturer maintained that the task of sustaining and consolidating the country’s democracy after 11 years of ups and down required the involvement of everyone.
Earlier in an address, the President of BBF, Mr. Godie Ikechi, said the Frontier was set up to promote consensus building among Nigerians as well as to support peaceful co-existence and tolerance.
Ikechi reminded politicians of their responsibilities to work from within and reform their political parties to ensure good governance and sustainable democracy.
He urged the zonal and state coordinators of the organisation to sensitise and educate the grassroots to the need to support good governance and viable democracy.
The meeting was also attended by political and opinion leaders, including Senators Jonathan Zwingina, Barigha Amange (Bayelsa-East) and a former Ekiti state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi.