A panel of Speakers at a Colloqium organized to mark the 60th birthday of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, yesterday in Benin, canvassed their different positions on how to deepen in democracy in the country.
Speaking on the topic “Deepening Democracy and Enhancing the Welfare of the People,” the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal contended that it embraces political parties fielding candidates for election, independent responsible umpire, independent Legislature and Judiciary.
“So, therefore, for us to deepen democracy in Nigeria we must respect the culture of independence of the different arms of government, the culture of checks and balances is an integral part of democracy,” he said. According to Tambuwal, if the country continued to build institutions that fight corruption promote good governance through judicious use of resources, democracy will take roots.
But in his speech, former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu accused President Goodluck Jonathan of polarising the country instead of unifying it.
“Democracy is being polarised. I make bold to say that I was ashamed the day I saw Mr. President sit down to announce PDP Govrenors Forum. Instead of unifying the governors on a bi-partisan line, he is busy polarising them.” he said.
The ACN leader who commended Governor Oshiomhole for making the party proud through his good governance in Edo State described the re-classification of excess crude oil as illegal and called for the enforcement of Section 162 the Constitution which provides that all revenues must be paid into the Federation Accouint.
Besides, he called for an amendment of the 1999 Constitution Biometric Validation voters, pointing out that the process has since been attained in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Ghana among other African countries. In his contribution, the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu said democracy must start from the family, adding that because democracy was thriving in Edo State when the forces came to crush Governor Oshiomhole during the last governorship election, the people resisted because they had seen the light.
According to him, if Democracy must survive, Nigerians must continue to speak up. He took the Federal Government to task over its insistence that Leaders from the North should unmask members the Boko Haram Islamic insurgents, saying “the Federal Government is insisting the Leaders of tne North must unmask Boko Haram. But we ask, why has the Government failed to unmask Boko Haram through those already arrested to know their sponsors?”
The Chief Servant Niger State called on his fellow Governors to spread development to all parts of their states and not concentrate only on state capitals.
In her presentation, former Minister of Education, Dr. Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili argued that Nigeria’s Democracy exists in Govrnment and the business class excluding the vast majority of Nigerians who see themselves in “tenancious inter-generational poverty.”
She therefore contended that because Nigerians had been pauperised, devalued by the political class and the system, they could not therefore be agents to deepen Democracy. Also speaking, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah said to deepen Democracy, Nigerians must have love for and build their country.
He called on President Jonathan not to foreclose dialogue with Boko Haram because “Jesus did not close door against the prodigal son.” The event which was attended by 15 serving Governors and many former Governors also had many people from all walks of life, including the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote in attendance.