Democracy Day: Jonathan urges Tinubu to foster a frictionless democracy

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on President Bola Tinubu to promote a democratic system where citizens are free to express themselves without hindrance. Jonathan made this appeal on June 11, 2024, at a symposium marking 25 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.

Jonathan emphasized the importance of a democracy that allows citizens to exercise their rights without encountering obstacles. He urged Tinubu to work towards creating such an environment, where all citizens can participate in the democratic process without fear of repression or intimidation.

The symposium aimed to commemorate the significant milestone of 25 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria. Jonathan's remarks highlighted the need for a more inclusive and participatory democracy, where citizens are empowered to contribute to the country's development without facing unnecessary barriers.

“Together, let us build a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream,” Jonathan said, stressing, “We must not hand over to our children a democracy built on politics of region or religion.”

He added: “The National Assembly can also look at models that will suit us. We must address the factors that give rise to this Do or Die politics. It is inimical to consolidating democracy.”

He further explained President Tinubu has the responsibility of ensuring that the next 25 years of democracy in Nigeria, starts on a good note.

“So for the honourable Vice President, we are hoping that you build more infrastructure for us, improve the quality of education, facilities, etc.

“One key thing also is that, for the next twenty-five years, you will need to build a democracy that will reduce friction.

“The number of litigations that follow every round of election in Nigeria is very disruptive. If we must have a solid and enduring democracy, this practice needs to be diluted, and I know you and President Bola Tinubu who was a key actor in the June 12 crisis, will have the capacity to navigate through that process,” Dr. Jonathan added.

Jonathan argued that the political class and elites must lead by example, and their lifestyle must reflect that they were elected to the position by the electorate.

He emphasised the need to ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt by all Nigerians, regardless of economic status or social class.

According to him, a situation where children of political officeholders are seen spraying dollars at parties, is not the democracy Nigerians want to witness.

He said the current situation where a winner in an election takes it all, is not healthy for Nigeria and promotes rancour.

Dr. Jonathan who is the chairman of the event attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume among other guests, explained the need to come up with a model of democratic practice that will be more inclusive and reinforces social cohesion.

He noted that the zero-sum type of politics, where a winner takes it all, does not foster political justice.

“If a political party, for example, gets 30% of votes during an election, either national or sub-national level, the party should have something to go home with,” he said.
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