Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said integrity of the electoral process and government’s accountability to the people are minimum requirements for appreciating Nigerians’ sacrifices at enthroning democracy.In a statement by his media office in Abuja, yesterday, he described the country’s journey to democracy as a tortuous one that claimed the “lives and limbs of many patriots”.
He called on beneficiaries of the people’s sacrifices to advance the cause of democracy through transparent elections and by making government institutions work for the people.“The democracy that we celebrate today is a fruit of the labour of patriots, some of whom paid the supreme price. As inheritors of this beautiful concept, it behoves us to ensure that democracy is nurtured, not just as a mechanism for a periodic change of government, but also as a social construct.
“The ultimate virtue in democracy is the power it bestows in the people. The very essence of that power lies in the ability of the people to live a complete lifestyle that enables every man or woman to triumph in his or her legitimate pursuit,” he said.The former vice president noted that as Nigeria moves forward, it is important to respond to the dynamics of time by proffering solutions to challenges.
“Today, the popular clamour among our people is the need to make government more responsive and responsible. Our challenges about insecurity and diversification of the economy have acquired new phases in the past few years. Our solutions to those challenges require a brand new thinking.
“As the nation goes through a cycle of elections in the coming months, it is important that the integrity of the electoral process is sacrosanct with guarantees of free and fair election. Democracy is by itself a self-correcting concept, but only if there is guarantee of credibility in the electoral process.
“Our economy has become too exposed to the vagaries of global oil prices for us not to decipher that we need to invest massively in infrastructure and liberalise the economy, to create fresh opportunities for the people.”He added: “The significance of our celebration of democracy today should mean that we employ the broadmindedness and participatory notion of democracy in seeking solutions.”
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