Nigeria’s democracy still shaky, tottering along like a toddler - Yahaya Bello

Yahaya Bello

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Yahaya Bello of Kogi has expressed worry that Nigeria’s democracy still remains “shaky and tottering along like a toddler still learning to walk”, 22 years into the country’s 4th Republic.

Bello, however, listed political stability and social security for the people as major factors needed to thrive in a united Nigeria.

The governor stated this while delivering his goodwill message at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation’s Policy Dialogue with the theme: “Democracy and Unity of State” held on Friday, in Abuja.

He said that politics and leadership in Nigeria must transform into a service that ensures the quality of life is improved in spite of social status while essential goods and services were made affordable for the masses.

For democracy to thrive, the governor also stressed the need for Nigerians to focus more on how to make democracy work as a united entity rather than a divisive nation.

“Unity is the primary hypothesis on which democracy stands in any state which has chosen it as the form of government.

“This is because in a functional democracy, the people, in spite of their diversity in ideology, faith, tribe, and politics, have to always unite in a majority for most things to happen in the society, including leadership.

“Consequently, we hardly speak with a united voice on anything as a nation. This state of affairs makes me believe that we need more democracy, not less.

“Of course, by ‘more democracy’ I mean the real essence and practice of democracy, that pure marriage of consensus which enthrones the overall public good rather than any sectional or parochial interest.

“With the foregoing in mind, I say that how to make Nigerian Democracy work for us as a uniting factor rather than the divisive measure we have turned it into is the most pressing need of the season, especially as gladiators begin to take position for 2023.

“ I declare that ‘One Nigeria’ must quickly come to mean more than it currently does to the average citizen or we risk losing more than we bargained for – as leaders and those being led,” he said.

He said that a united Nigeria was not one where everyone is held down by force or fear, but a nation that guarantees all citizens security, unity, and peace.

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“It must be equitable and allow everyone to thrive on his own merits.

“ Tribe, religion and class must not be used to discriminate against or marginalize anyone and civics must encourage cooperation and integration as a cardinal tenet of citizenship.

“We have to start substituting the place of residence for the state of origin and finding ways to immediately and brutally punish corruption in private and public spheres,” he said.

According to him, our politics and leadership must transform into a service that ensures the quality of life is high despite social status while essential goods and services are affordable.

“Our local job markets must deliver jobs to people at their levels of learning, skills, and experience.

“The nation must have economic stability and be a family-friendly place where parents can raise the next generation well.

“We will require income equality, especially across the genders. A united Nigeria will thrive on political stability and social security.

“It also goes without saying that the quality of the public education system and that of the public health system must be high.

“ Both must deliver free to affordable services. It is only then that people will belong because they want to, not because they must,” he said.

Bello said his leadership in Kogi had been to achieving such ideals since he took the reigns of power in the state.

“Kogi is the emerging paradigm for cooperation and integration as a basis for citizens’ co-existence instead of the previous divide and rule tactics with which failed politicians harmed citizens in our past.

“It is a paradigm we hope to expand and export to the larger Nigerian society as we march into the future while building an increasingly peaceful and prosperous Nigerian society.

“ Nigeria is the trigger of Africa and if Africa must free herself from neocolonialism, Nigeria must stand up and take her place of leadership in the continent”, he said.

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