Democracy must be hinged on strong institutions, values – Osun Governor
Yinka Salaam, Osogbo
Governor of Osun State in Southwest Nigeria, Adegboyega Oyetola has identified absence of strong institutions, political will, equity, justice, and fairness as the bane of Nigeria’s wobbled nationhood and democracy.
He stressed that the country must find the courage to institute these institutions, virtues and values in its polity to build a strong, virile and prosperous nation desired by the citizens.
Oyetola was speaking in Osogbo on Saturday, during the June 12 Democracy Day Public Lecture jointly organised by the government and the Civil Society Coalition.
He said the time has come for the leaders to begin to introspect to correct the past errors by developing the political will to birth a nation and a democracy that will truly make Nigeria to occupy her place as the Giant of Africa.
The govermor described the theme of the lecture, “The Making of a Nation and Nigerian Democracy in Progress: Issues and Prospects” as an attempt at examining the nation’s missteps and milestones on the road to democracy and nation building, with a view to setting bricks for building the nation and democracy that the forebears envisioned.
June 12, a sad reminder
Oyetola described June 12 as a sad reminder of the nation’s missed opportunities on its journey to nationhood, democracy and good governance, saying “the celebration should provide citizens with the opportunity to rethink and retool their nationhood and democracy to avoid a repeat of those sad days.”
Tribute to President Buhari
Oyetola commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the recognition of June 12 as the Democracy Day, stating that the gesture remains a tribute to courage, good governance and justice to history.
He noted that the centrifugal issues dangling menacingly on the head of Nigerian nationhood and democracy are creations of the political elite, saying that lessons of June 12 where Nigerians voted without regard to ethnic or religious bias are enough evidence that Nigerians want to stay together.
The govermor identified the grey areas in the 1999 Constitution as a clog in the wheel of progress and fortune of the nation.
“The Constitution does not respect and fairly address our diversity and our warped federalism which does not deliver equity, fairness and justice to the people.
“But the time has come for us to rely on our shared values and the things that bind us together to build a nation and a democracy that will deliver values and the good life to our people and make us take our place in the comity of nations.
Oyetola however commended the National Assembly’s recent efforts on the Constitutional Amendment discussions across the nation to correct the anomalies, warning that the avenues for continous dialogue to correct the anomalies in the system and for Nigerians to determine the essence of their corporate existence must continously be left opened.
Free, fair election can’t guarantee good governance
Meanwhile, former Nigeria Ambassador to Philippines, Dr. Yemi Faronbi has insisted that free and fair elections alone may not guarantee good governance, except qualified individuals with good heart and who will deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
He thereby enjoined those in the corridors of power and politicians to pay attention to the political recruitment system that will throw up qualified people with capacity to deliver.
“I enjoin Nigerians to pay closer attention to the existing political structures to ensure that only men of good intentions and moral standing are supported. This is where option A4 comes handy. It was an open ballot system that guaranteed that primary elections are conducted from Ward, Local Government, Senatorial Districts, State and at National levels”, he added.
In their separate lectures, the pioneer President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Hassan Sunmonu and a lecturer in Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr. Tunji Ogunyemi advocated good governance as panacea to national socioeconomic and political development.
They both agreed that democratic dividends can only be best enjoyed under a good government that listens to people’s yearning and critical stakeholders.