JUNE 12: A CALL TO HEAL OUR DIVISION AND UNITE OUR COUNTRY- Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila
By BLESSING SOKOWONCIN SHELIKA
To mark the June 12 Democracy Day, the National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) on Tuesday June 14, held a commemorative lecture with the theme: ‘Nigeria’s Democratic Experience: Reflections on Leadership Recruitment and Democratic Institution Building.
Speaking at the event, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila shared that “despite the importance of a sound legal framework, it is the people that actually make democracy work.”
According to him, the law only provides the foundation of integrity and ensures that elections are not only fair but also honest, orderly, peaceful and reflect the will of the people but it is the people that makes democracy succeed or fail.
The speaker therefore charged Nigerians not to take democracy for granted citing that: “In the year since 1999, the National Assembly has asserted it’s independence and has continued to play a key role not only in crafting laws that strengthen our democratic institutions but also in exercising oversight of the executive and representing the Interest of the people and ensuring that the collective wishes and aspirations of all Nigerians are factored into law and decision making.” This the speaker said is an essential component of the vigilance necessary to ensure the continuous survival of democracy.
He described June 12 as a call for us all to heal our divisions, unite our country and choose credible leaders; Stating that “at a time when our country has been deeply polarized along ethnic and religious lines, June 12 reminds us that what Nigerians need most is good leadership.”
He challenged Nigerians to “Rise to the occasion and engage in a frank discussion on political solutions to the problems we face, we must address the root causes rather than the symptoms and develop a system that promotes freedom, human rights, inclusion, economic competition and public consensus”.
Also present at the commemorative lecture were: DG, NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, Fmr. Deputy Speaker of the Senate; Sen Ike Ekweremadu amongst other dignitaries.
The keynote paper was delivered by Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi of the Wits school of governance, South Africa, and Lead Paper by Prof Liasu Adele Jinadu. The Discussion was facilitated by Hussein Abdul, PhD. with Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), Former Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Prof. Sen. Jonathan Zwingina, Funke Baruwa, DG, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Prof. Eghosa Osaghae and Prof Jibrin Ibrahim as discussants.