By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
……..Says Bauchi takes steps to ensure democratic tenets are upheld
Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State on Thursday raised concern that in recent times, democracy is experiencing a global decline as in Africa as it is undermined by poverty, insecurity, unconstitutional change of government and decline in electoral integrity.
The Governor made this known in a message at the 2023 Democracy Dialogue organized by Goodluck Jonathan Foundation held at Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Tower Hall, Yenogoa, Bayelsa state and said this statement has been unscored by unconstitutional change of government in some African countries which they are all now under military rule.
Governor Bala Mohammed said the foregoing narrative about the state of democracy in Africa is a cause for serious concern as this is because the yearnings and aspirations of the people can only be met in a truly democratic setting characterized by electoral integrity, good governance, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
He commended the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation for organizing the 2023 Democracy Dialogue aimed at finding solution to the challenges of Democracy in Africa and hoped that it outcome would further assist in advancing democracy not only in Nigeria but in the entire African continent and the benefits to be derived from democratic dispensation.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Mohammed Auwal Jatau noted that the theme of this year’s Democracy Dialogue which is “Breaking New Grounds in the Democracy-Development Nexus in Africa” is not only germane but timely considering the faltering trajectory of democracy in Africa.
“While democracy has been generally accepted as the best type of government, it is pertinent to ask if the countries that claim to have embraced it do actually observe its tenets of free and fair elections, internal political party democracy, freedom expression questions of association and good governance.
“These questions become necessary because embracing democracy without observing its tenets is a good as not having democratic dispensation. The result would be civilian dictatorship where some vested interest load it over the majority of the people who have no say in running of the affairs of the government.
It is this state of affairs that becomes the lot of most African countries that claim to be running democratic governments. These pseudodemocratic contraption have resulted in political instability, economic inequality, social disharmony and insecurity in many African countries.”
The Governor at the dialogue said as a subnational, the Bauchi State Government has taken giant stride in ensuring that democratic tenets of good governance, transparency and accountability are upheld in addition to other initiatives taken to improve the lives and livelihood of the people through the provision of quality healthcare, improvement of the education system, construction of roads and other infrastructure and the empowerment of youths and women.
The founder and chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had earlier said over the past years since its establishment, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation has successfully implemented projects in Nigeria and several African countries targeting democratic accountability, strengthening governance and building leadership to ensure a transparent and peaceful transition of power.
Dr Jonathan also said the foundation has actively explored opportunities and contributed to promoting the security of the state and its people with respect for the rule of law, fundamental human right, and democratic principles.
“Our Goodluck Jonathan Foundation is an independent, non-governmental organisation established to advance peace and prosperity on the African continent.
We are dedicated to promoting peace and reconciliation, advancing democratic governance, advocating for inclusive governance and economic development, promoting citizen’s rights, and continental and national integration.”