Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said a united Nigeria can only thrive where there is political stability and social security for the people.
Bello made this known while delivering a goodwill message at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation’s Policy Dialogue on the theme: “Democracy and Unity of State” in Abuja on Friday.
Bello said that politics and leadership in the country must transform into a service that ensures the quality of life is high in spite of social status while essential goods and services are affordable for the masses.
He emphasised the necessity of a united state for democracy thrive, saying the focus of Nigerians should be more on how to make democracy work as a united entity rather divisive nation.
“Unity is the primary hypothesis on which democracy stands in any state which has chosen it as the form of government.
“This is because in a functional democracy, the people, in spite of their diversity in ideology, faith, tribe and politics, have to always unite in a majority for most things to happen in the society, including leadership.”
He, however, expressed worries that Nigeria’s democracy still remains “shaky and tottering along like a toddler still learning to walk”, 22 years into the country’s 4th Republic.
“Consequently, we hardly speak with a united voice on anything as a nation. This state of affairs makes me believe that we need more democracy, not less.
“Of course, by ‘more democracy’ I mean the real essence and practice of democracy, that pure marriage of consensus which enthrones the overall public good rather than any sectional or parochial interest.
“With the foregoing in mind, I say that how to make Nigerian Democracy work for us as a uniting factor.
“Rather than the divisive measure we have turned it into is the most pressing need of the season, especially as gladiators begin to take position for 2023.
“Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I declare that ‘One Nigeria’ must quickly come to mean more than it currently does to the average citizen.
“Or we risk losing more than we bargained for – as leaders and those being led,” Bello said.
Bello said that his concept of a united Nigeria was not one where everyone is held down by force or fear, but a nation which guarantees all citizens security, unity and peace.
“It must be equitable and allow everyone to thrive on his own merits. Tribe, religion and class must not be used to discriminate against or marginalise anyone and civics must encourage cooperation and integration as a cardinal tenet of citizenship.
“We have to start substituting place of residence for state of origin and finding ways to immediately and brutally punish corruption in private and public spheres.
“Our politics and leadership must transform into a service that ensures the quality of life is high in spite of social status while essential goods and services are affordable.
“Our local job markets must deliver jobs to people at their levels of learning, skills and experience.
“The nation must have economic stability and be a family-friendly place where parents can raise the next generation well,” Bello said.
Bello extolled the leadership qualities of former President Goodluck Jonathan, describing him as an “international Statesman Extraordinaire”.
He said in 2015, the former president “demonstrated in very historic terms that he is a democrat indeed and a patriot par excellence.
“Where lesser men and less honourable men would have tried to subvert the apparent will of the people in that year’s General Elections.
“His Excellency as the President of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of her Armed Forces took the path of personal honour and national interest.
“Nigeria, and indeed the world, will always celebrate this wonderful man for that singular feat of selflessness and love for nation,” Bello said.