Saraki: Let’s use democracy to achieve good governance
In a statement yesterday to congratulate Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Democracy Day, Saraki stated that the nation has sustained the semblance of a democratic system for 22 unbroken years.
He said: “It is noteworthy that unlike before 1999, we have sustained the semblance of a democratic system for 22 unbroken years. However, the celebration today should also help us to raise the question of whether democracy is working to serve the interest of Nigerians.
“After all, it is known widely that democracy is not just the absence of military rule or the routine conduct of elections after which some individuals are announced to have been elected.
The real end product of democracy should be good governance.”
According to the former Kwara State governor, “it is obvious that in Nigeria, democracy has not given birth to good governance.”
He added: “We have inadvertently operated a democracy, which instead of being the government of the people is rather creating a distance between the people, and what should be their government.
“Elections should be for the purpose of allowing a free choice between competing ideologies, manifestos, policies and programmes. Elections should not just be about putting people in the office and when they get there, they start groping in the dark or thinking about what to do and where to start.
“This approach has set us back for many years and deprived our people the opportunity to enjoy good governance or earn what in the national cliché is known as ‘Dividend of Democracy.’
“Today, our country faces security challenges and the government is not able to adequately protect the citizenry. There is massive unemployment, which has impoverished a high percentage of the population, and many citizens are questioning the basis for the unity of the country. These are pointers to the question of whether democracy is actually working in our clime.”
He further stated that since the country has accepted that the best form of government is a democracy, the option before Nigerians are to make the system work for the people.
“Thus, I appeal to all stakeholders to give peace a chance. This is because nothing can be achieved in the absence of peace. The quest for peace places a burden on all of us who are leaders, both those in and out of government, to effectively shoulder our responsibilities to our country. That is the reason as we mark this year’s Democracy Day, there should be a departure from the usual rhetoric. We must find new approaches to remind ourselves that democracy is continuously being undermined and endangered in our country,” Saraki added.
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