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Jonathan Urges Leaders to Let Democracy Cater for People’s Welfare

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said democracy would have its value and be meaningful, when it caters for the welfare of the vast majority of citizens.

Speaking at the West Africa’s Elder Forum, in Abuja, Jonathan said,  “As I conclude, let me re-emphasise the point that is often made that for democracy to endure, it must yield basic public goods to its citizens. These include economic development, good social services, freedom, justice, peace and security.

“This underscores the place of good governance in our discourse of democracy. Democracy losses its meaning if it does not guarantee the economic status and social security of the citizens.

“Today, we must interrogate some fundamental issues such as recurring military intervention, democracy and good governance, peace and security, economic development as well as human trafficking in our sub-region,” the former President stated.

He continued: “Democracy is a communal asset.  It, therefore, requires a collective action and consensus building by all stakeholders to safeguard it. As a region, the fate of our democracy is being put to question by unconstitutional change of government as recently witnessed in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

“These sad developments, which have occasioned a gradual erosion of our civic space and value system is what has necessitated this meeting today. Our gathering today, therefore, seeks to articulate  possible solutions and strategies that will help consolidate our democracy.

“This is with a view to actively engaging  with governments and key stakeholders to stem the tide of democratic backsliding and the breakdown of law and order in our nations.  I am worried that some members of the sub-region are beginning to opt for military intervention, because of what they consider as the weaknesses and flaws of democratically-elected leaders.”

Jonathan said that he was aware that many of African leaders wielded great influence in the sub-region and continent, but added that, “Together, we can leverage our experiences and the power of diplomacy to resolve the crisis in ECOWAS today.”

He said the sustainability of democracy in West Africa was key to resolving many of challenges, appealing  to all African leaders across the nations to make democracy work for the interest of all citizens.

“This is why we need to continually advocate for the strengthening of our democratic institutions. Strong institutions are the pillars for the sustenance of our democracy and the development of our nations. We must therefore help in this regard and fashion out the best approach towards the strengthening of political systems”. 

In his remarks, the former Sierra Leone President, Ba Koroma, said, the problems of instability in West Africa was the tendency of African leaders to sustain leadership at all times.

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