Monday, 3rd October 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Be vigilant, Nigeria sliding into dictatorship, Jonathan warns

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
01 September 2022   |   2:32 am
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday passed a verdict that Nigeria’s democracy is gradually drifting towards dictatorship, insisting that all hands must be on deck to save the nation’s democracy.

Celebrant, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Father Matthew Hassan Kukah and former President Goodluck Jonathan at the 70th birthday of Kukah in Abuja… yesterday.

• Kukah controversial but ready to sacrifice for Nigeria’s survival – Tambuwal
• We need elite consensus to grow, says Fayemi

Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday passed a verdict that Nigeria’s democracy is gradually drifting towards dictatorship, insisting that all hands must be on deck to save the nation’s democracy.

Jonathan stated this at the 70th birthday celebration of Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, held at Sheraton Hotel in Abuja.  Dignitaries present at the occasion include Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu; his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

Others are Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha; former governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, among others.

Speaking on the theme of the event, ‘Nigeria’s Unfinished Greatness: Next Steps’, Jonathan urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and put all hands on deck to choose leaders that will take the nation to the Promised Land.

According to him, many Nigerians, especially the youth are becoming increasingly disillusioned about the nation’s politics and democracy. He, however, maintained that Nigeria must remain on the democratic path, noting that it is the only practical way of effectively managing “our diversity, developing sustainably and recording progress as a nation.”

He said: “The task before all of us is not to lower our guard, lest the democracy we cherish today, succumbs to threats and recedes into fascism tomorrow and there are signs already.  Looking at the states and so on, we are derailing towards quasi fascist form of government but democracy is not only about winning elections alone, it is about accommodation. We as leaders at the centre and at the state level, especially at this time when elections are coming must accommodate different views.”
He charged the youths that have registered ahead of the 2023 elections to endeavour to walk their talk by making sure they come out to vote on election day.

The former Nigerian leader described Nigeria as a work in progress; adding that until that work is done, people like Bishop Kukah, who serve as the conscience of the nation, will continue to be around to constantly hold the mirror of the nation’s progression to its face.

Governor of Sokoto State, Tambuwal, described Kukah as man with undying love for country. Tambuwal, who chaired the occasion, reiterated the Catholic bishop’s unalterable belief in the possibility of a new Nigeria.

According to him, though Kukah’s critique of the country’s governance have been controversial, he (Kukah) believes Nigeria can and will come out of the woods of failed political leadership.

Represented by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the Sokoto governor said: “His (Kukah’s) writings over the years have become controversial and have drawn the ire of powers that be, but what is not in doubt is his undying love for Nigeria and Nigerians, and his belief in the possibility of a new Nigeria where justice and equity reigns.
Fayemi, on his part, said leaders in the country must ensure inclusion and justice for peace and development.

He said: “Nation building is work in progress. Unity is also not automatic it is the work we put into nation building that will determine how far we go. The root to nation building is peace and the root to peace is justice and inclusion and that is something we have battled with over the last 62 years.

“In Nigeria, we tend to focus more on development but we can’t give what we don’t have. Development will only take place where we have a nation. And to have a nation, we must have that elite consensus and I don’t think we have achieved that elite consensus yet.”