Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has urged Nigerians to always
hold their leaders accountable to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
Dr. Fayemi pointed out that democracy goes beyond the right to choose
leaders through the ballot, but stimulating civic engagement to better
the lives of the citizens.
The Governor stated this Wednesday while delivering a paper at the
United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington DC, United States.
Governor Fayemi’s lecture was entitled: “Twenty Years of Democracy in
Nigeria: Successes and Challenges.” in the event with the theme:
Deepening Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
In attendance were Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former Chief
of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai; former INEC Chairman,
Prof Attaahiru Jega and a member of House of Representatives, Hon
Aishatu Dukku; as well as officials of the US Department of State,
scholars and members of the civil society.
While noting that Nigeria has made significant progress as a democracy
since returning to civil rule in 1999, Dr. Fayemi opined that
“democracy is a journey and not a destination” hence the need to
address imbalances in the Nigerian federation.
He maintained that a fundamental restructuring of the Nigerian
federation is an “unavoidable step for the creation and sustenance of
a participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, responsive and
equitable national governance based on respect for the rule of law.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) explained that his
party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) included restructuring in
its 2015 and 2019 manifestoes and has been working towards it in a bid
to use its platform to address the perceived structural imbalance.
The restructuring, Dr. Fayemi said, must address issues like writing
the people’s constitution and the question of constitutional
governance, the fundamental precepts of authorising principles of
national togetherness, citizenship and national question, the
political economy of federalism including the allocation of public
revenue, security sector governance, human rights, social justice,
electoral system, type of government-parliamentary or presidential,
While urging the Nigerian populace to show more interest in governance
and hold their leaders accountable, Dr. Fayemi stated that
“indifference might be dangerous for democracy” as Democratic
institutions cannot be strengthened in a climate of apathy and
Dr. Fayemi said: “The current phase of the struggle is therefore not
just about maintaining the sanctity of the ballot but also holding
those elected accountable and stimulating civic engagement in the
public realm, in a way that democratizes ownership and improve the
quality of life of our people.
“We must banish the idea that governance is something performed by a
team of gifted performers or strong men, while the rest of the
citizens are spectators or complainers.” he added.
Ambassador Johnnie Carson of the USIP and Gen Agwai led the discussion
session after the Governor’s presentation.