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Jonathan speaks on Nigeria’s 20-year democratic experience



Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians not to give up on Nigeria despite the enormous challenges currently facing the country.

The immediate past president, who was reminiscing on the 20-year uninterrupted democratic journey of the country, posited that the way out of the country’s quagmire was for everyone to be involved in the task of nation-building.

Jonathan, in a statement issued on Wednesday to commemorate the country’s return to civil rule in 1999 after years of military rule, maintained that democracy is the only avenue for any nation to achieve its desired potentials without hindrance.

His words: “Exactly twenty years ago, our nation turned the corner with a general election that signalled the end of a long spell of military dictatorship. With that came promises of good governance, equity and justice under the ambience of leadership driven by the will of the people.

“Our celebration of democracy is, therefore, a mark of our commitment to the virtues of liberty, justice and the people’s freedom to daily engage government on how best to achieve our national goals.

“We may not have realised these promises and all that are possible in the new dispensation but democracy to me remains an incubator for great ideas, visions, development and hope.

“That is why I urge all citizens not to give in to pessimism and despair as our nation battles the challenges of insecurity, the scourge of unemployment and prevalent poverty, all of which threaten national peace and unity.

“We must continue to work collectively as one in order to engender cohesion and build a nation of our dreams. We must remain vigilant to ensure that our sacred rights and freedoms don’t become mere privileges without guarantees.

“We must, at all times, remind ourselves and those in privileged positions of authority that as equal stakeholders in our commonwealth, the task of taking our nation to great heights rests on all of us. It is only with the currency of love, equity and justice that Nigeria can be truly great as it bargains for honour in the comity of nations.”

Jonathan added that credible electoral process remains the bedrock of democracy which the survival of any country depends on.

“As a nation, it is imperative for us to continue to strive for improvements in our electoral processes. There is a need to deepen the gains so far attained by advancing the frontiers of credible electoral processes, fidelity to the rule of law and strict adherence to constitutionalism.

“A credible electoral process is no doubt fundamental to making democracy work for us as a people, as it sufficiently empowers citizens to freely choose or reject their political leadership, thereby serving as an incentive for good governance.

“Democracy has come to stay. So, let us stay in the creed and virtues of justice, equity, and love which makes democracy a solid ground of freedom, good governance, peace, and hope,” he stated.

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