- Nigeria Is Currently At Cross Road, Says Yakassai
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has advised Nigerians to elect people with the capacity, and character to deliver on their mandates and those who have an understanding of the workings of government.
While speaking as the keynote speaker at the 2022 TheNiche Annual Lecture on the topic, ‘2023 Elections and the Future of Nigeria’s Democracy,’ which took place in Muson Centre Lagos, the former Lagos State governor stated that the calibre of people elected as leaders determines the quality of democratic dividends that would be delivered to the citizens.
Fashola said that democracy and election do not guarantee that the elected people will deliver on their election mandate. He, therefore, said it is the duty of the people to elect those that would deliver.
The Minister said that the country should ensure that democracy makes the lives of the people better especially as the nation goes into the general election in 2023.
Fashola said, “On the election day, you will not see qualifications, Muslim or Christians on the ballot box. Democracy doesn’t have whether the man is kind or compassionate or whether his values or yours.
“It is the institutions of democracy like this town hall meeting that help in defining issues because, at the end of the day, the majority will choose the person they want.
“That someone is the choice of the majority does not mean that he or she will deliver on what he promised.”
“How many electorates understand the constitutional roles of local government chairman, legislators, state governments and the President?
Sometimes the people are asking the legislators to do jobs that they don’t have the responsibility to do,” Fashola said.
“Election is only part of the democratic process. It requires us not to be only watchdogs but the government in waiting and that is the only way we can enrich the process.
“Opposition political parties should not only be critical of the ruling government but should be ready to provide alternatives if they have the same resources that are available to those in government. If the government is not doing well, what is the credible alternative?
“The issue of subsidy is a huge problem, successive governments have not been able to remove the subsidy, because doing that comes with social and political consequences, which is why the two major political parties have tried but have failed.
Considering the 2023 election and part of what we should be looking at is a subsidy which is the big elephant in the house,” Fashola added.
He however stated that there are successes of democracy. “Democracy allows building consensus. It was democracy that allowed an arm of government to hold the entire country to ransom, in the area of the budget.
Democracy delivered interstate trains. It delivered solutions to the problems that seemed to defy solutions.
On his part, a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said Nigerians should be more concerned about changing our model of democracy rather than considering on 2023 general election.
Yakasai said Nigeria is currently at a crossroads because of the American system of government the country practice. He noted that there is a general belief in the country that the current political dispensation is not working for all Nigerians.
“I have been advocating the adoption of the French Presidential System of Government for Nigeria. In my opinion, it is easier to replace a non-performing government in that system than in the American Presidential System.
“Another important reason why I am advocating the adoption of the French Presidential System is that it is cheaper to operate and, therefore, more suitable to our own reality as a developing nation,” he said.
While the managing director of TheNiche, Ikechukwu Amaechi, said the idea of this year’s lecture is to remind Nigerians that elections have consequences.
Among the dignitaries at the event are former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, Prof. Victor Chukwuma, professor of physics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the representative of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, HRM Eze Chidume Okoro, Mrs. Eneh Obi, Country Director ActionAid Nigeria, Prof. Anthony Kila, who was the moderator at the event and a host of others.