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LP makes demand from Tinubu on Democracy Day

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Julius Abure, Chairman Labour Party

By Adeyemi Adeleye

The Labour Party (LP) in Lagos has made an important demand from President Bola Tinubu as Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day on June 12.

The party wants the President to make public offices unattractive to attract well-meaning leaders in order to promote the delivery of democracy dividends.

Dr Ayo Olorunfemi, the LP National Deputy Chairman, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Olurunfemi was reacting to Wednesday’s Presidential broadcast to mark the 25th anniversary of uninterrupted democratic governance in Nigeria.

He said that violence, hooliganism, killing and unhealthy competition marred elections because public offices remained unsustainably lucrative and attractive to politicians.

“The kind of huge resources we use to run our democracy cannot allow ordinary Nigerians to benefit from the system, hence the reason our economy is always under pressure.

“The cost of democracy here has removed most of the gains of the system in Nigeria. We can see hardship everywhere in rural and urban areas.

“The idea of democracy is for the majority of the people to benefit from the government they installed by themselves, as against the few benefitting from the system now.

“The people must count, their views must hold sway, not only in elections, but in policies.

“If we truly want to develop as a democratic nation, we must have the right people in government and make political offices unattractive.

“This will pave way for only the serious-minded to get involved, not for money making but for real service to the people,” Olorunfemi said.

He said that public officeholders could be subjected to an honorarium instead of salary for democracy to work for the people.

“We must reduce the cost of governance here to the barest minimum if democracy must make meaning to the masses in Nigeria.

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“Democracy is about the people. People must matter. With our democracy today, spanning 25 years, can we say the people matter in elections and policies?” he asked.

According to him, the last 25 years of democracy in Nigeria have not benefitted the ordinary people but only those in the corridor of power.

He said that Nigerians had no reason to undergo all the hardship and pains facing them since the return of democracy.

The LP chieftain urged the President to walk the talk by making the people’s views and opinions count in all policies and programmes.

“The political problems confronting Nigeria can only be solved when we have leaders who are selfless and that is why I will not only support unicameral legislature or making legislature a part-time affair.

“Ministerial jobs should be given the same status as the job of board chairmen and must be given to technocrats.

“Once political offices are no longer attractive only serious-minded people will offer themselves for the job and not criminals,” he reiterated.

He said that the President failed to acknowledge the role of the Labour movements and leaders, particularly the role played by people like Milton Dabibi, Ayo Olorunfemi, Abiodun Aremu, Didi Adodo, late Ola Oni, among others, who also risked their lives for democracy in his broadcast.

The President in his Democracy Day address on Wednesday commended heroes and heroines of Nigeria’s democracy, who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation’s democracy.

Tinubu said: “This year also marks our nation’s 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance.

“On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

“Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. We lost great heroes and heroines along the way.

“In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives.”

The President said that no matter how complicated democracy might be, it remained the best form of governance in the long run.

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