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Ezekwesili charges Nigerians to seek knowledge of democratic principles

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Assistant Judicial Editor of The Guardian Newspapers Limited, Joseph Onyekwere (left) receiving the Human Rights Print Media Award from the keynote speaker, Oby Ezekwesili during the National Human Rights Conference in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: OSENI OLADELE YUSUF

Assistant Judicial Editor of The Guardian Newspapers Limited, Joseph Onyekwere (left) receiving the Human Rights Print Media Award from the keynote speaker, Oby Ezekwesili during the National Human Rights Conference in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: OSENI OLADELE YUSUF

Former Minister of Education and co-convener of Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday challenged Nigerians to hold government accountable, saying democratic illiteracy in the country was worrisome.

Ezekwesili said such lack of knowledge was responsible for the waste of lives, resources, ideas, which at the end stalled unity, peace and development.

The former vice president of the World Bank made the statement in a keynote speech at the National Human Rights Conference and Awards organised by the Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative (CRALI) in Lagos.

She said: “There is heartbreaking democratic illiteracy in our country. This lack of knowledge of democracy has led to plenty of perishing of the people. It has led to plenty of perishing of resources; it has led to plenty of perishing of ideas, of peace, of unity, growth and therefore of development.

“As economics would tell you, what we suffer from, in that lack of knowledge is regarded as the challenges of information asymmetry because certain people have more knowledge of what the constitution says than the larger majority of the citizens. With that problem of informations asymmetry, the power dynamics tilt in the direction of those with the knowledge.”

The former federal minister who said 61 per cent of Nigerians were in dire poverty charged the citizens to acquaint themselves with the contents of the constitution and use them as the basis to engage the government.


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