President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday called on politicians to shun “ceaseless quarrelling” and engage in robust political debates that would strengthen the country’s democracy.
Mr. Jonathan made the call at the public presentation and official launch of the Kukah Centre, founded by prominent cleric and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah.
Among other aims, the centre was established to strengthen national debate, improve governance and encourage Nigerians to take an active role in the country’s leadership.
The centre also aims at promoting conversations among Nigeria’s faith communities, as well as between leaders in faith and public policy.
Mr. Jonathan said Nigeria’s democracy should be deepened by robust debates, stimulation of innovative ideas and healthy engagements by all actors.
“I call on everyone, the political class, our citizens and more importantly, the academic community to rise up to these challenges posed by this initiative (centre)”, he said.
“I think we are over defining our democracy today by quarrelling as if democracy is about competitors quarrelling just like motor park workers”, he said.
The president urged politicians to use the 2015 elections to renew their commitment to the country’s unity.
He said: “As elections draw close, I call on all politicians to see this as another opportunity for us to renew our commitment to deepen our democracy and strengthen our bond of unity.
“Democracy is not about political parties and politicians alone, it is not just about winning or losing elections; it is about freedom, about development and above all a forward march of our civilisation and encouragement of creativity.
“It is in this regard that we must seek to identify and support the growth of structures and institutions that will help strengthen our democracy to meet our aspirations as a people”.
Mr. Jonathan noted that policy research institutes like the Kukah Centre had been pivotal to the social economic transformation of leading countries of the world.
According to him, such centres have served as the laboratories of the development, inter-relation and the refinement of key government policies.
He likened the Kukah Center to the Brooklyn Institute in America, which pioneered fact-based studies of government policies, using science as a key to analysis.
The president then challenged Nigerian politicians to draw inspiration from it.
“I’m personally convinced that the centre could not have finer mentor than the revered gentleman of long patriotic standing, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah”, he added.
National Broadcast: PDP Slams Buhari Over ‘Disappointing, Empty’ Speech – PDP
Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
PDP Asks Buhari To Stop Killing Of #EndSARS Protesters Across Nigeria
This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
#EndSARS: Gov Bello Warns Protesters Against Overthrowing Buhari
He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
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