Politics News

Jonathan warns against regional, religious-based democracy

Photo caption: Former Ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has warned against handing over to Nigerian children a democracy built on politics of region or religion.
Speaking on Tuesday as the chairman of the national symposium marking this year’s Democracy Day at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan criticized the winners-take-all approach in politics.
He argued that this practice, which excludes other parties regardless of their performance in the polls, undermines political justice and the goal of fostering national unity.
Jonathan urged the National Assembly to develop a system allowing political parties that achieve a certain percentage of votes in an election to have a role in governance.
The former president noted that the current zero-sum practice in the country leads to do-or-die politics.
Jonathan, who served as Nigeria’s president from 2010 to 2015, declared, “As I round off, let me say that we need to come up with a model of democratic practice. That will be more inclusive and reinforce social cohesion.
He stated, “The zero-sum kind of politics, where a winner takes it all, has not helped to foster unity and political justice.
“A political party, for example, that scored up to 30% of votes during an election either at the National sub-national level should have something to home with. I’m not clearly recommending proportional representation, but different governments have come up with models of democracy that suit them.
“After all, the presidents we’re talking about, all presidents of the world, don’t emerge through the same process. In Nigeria, we elect our president directly. In a number of countries, presidents are elected indirectly.
“The powers of the presence as defined by different constitutions and so on and so forth. So our national assembly can also look at models that will suit us.”
According to him, the zero-sum game, where a party that occasionally receives 40% of the votes, especially at the state level, ends up with nothing, is what fosters this “Do or Die” politics
He continued, “That zero-sum approach, I think it’s inimical to consolidating and strengthening our democracy.
“Let me conclude by saying that together, we can forge a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream but a tangible reality. Let us therefore celebrate this milestone with pride and renewed determination.”
President Jonathan urged the Bola Tinubu administration to make the next 25 years of politics transformative and inclusive.
He added, “Let us ensure that the next 25 years of our democracy are even more transformative and inclusive and more prosperous for all of us.
“In line with the wordings of our national anthem, I think the second stanza, to hand over to our children a banner without stain.
“We must not hand over to our children that a democracy built on politics of religion or region. A democracy built on ethnicity does not endure. It will continue to wobble.
“So, for the honourable Vice President, you are representing also the president for me, for me, we are hoping that you will build more infrastructure for us, and improve the quality of education, health facilities, etc.”
The former president characterized the deluge of legal actions that ensue after each election cycle in Nigeria as highly embarrassing.
He stated, “But one key thing that for the next 25 years, you will midwife because you are starting the next 25 years is to build a democracy that will reduce friction.
“The avalanche of litigations that follow every round of election in Nigeria is very embarrassing. And because of the kind of democracy with practice, democracy is built on all kinds of sentiments, either way you worship your God or from the map of the country you come from
“You people have to gradually make sure that in the next 25 years, this is diluted if we must have a solid and enduring democracy.”

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