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The Niamey Conference And The Importance Of Respecting Term Limits In African Democracies: Jonathan’s Consistency Is Proven

The Oasis Reporters

October 5, 2019

Former president Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

The Niamey Conference on the importance of respecting term limits by political office holders which held in Niamey, Niger Republic, once more brought to fore, the character traits and consistency of former Nigerian president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his belief on the tenets of democracy as a principle to building a virile nation.

He said, when you make a president god, don’t expect him to leave the seat of power.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan said that sit-tight rulers are enabled by people who praise and worship them as gods.

Jonathan made his statement on Thursday at the constitutional term limits summit, which was held in Niamey, Niger Republic.

He also said some presidents’ hold on to power for fear of persecution and over uncertainty of what life after office would be like.

“Let’s create an environment where people will believe there’s life after office. That if you leave office you should not be persecuted,” he said.

“The way we manage ourselves as sitting presidents and former presidents’ matter. The first line is to reduce what will make a sitting president afraid to leave office.

“Africans sometimes, we are our own problem because we always think our presidents are little gods. That somebody is president does not mean he is God. We have a tradition of praise-singing. We tend to give our presidents name they don’t deserve.

“We tend to over-praise sitting presidents and make them think they are little gods. When they begin to make a sitting president think he is God, and he is the only person that can run the affairs of the nation; then the person will be there; nobody removes God.

“When you make a president feel he is god, don’t expect him to leave. The media and civil society must continue to admonish characters that make presidents think they are the best thing to happen.

“That you are president does not mean you are better than others. We citizens of this continent create little gods, and God cannot leave (power).”

Jonathan was one of the speakers at the summit organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

It would be recalled that in his Eid message in October 2014 as he felicitated with “all our countrymen and women of the Islamic faith celebrating Eid-El-Kabir” back then, he said,

“As they conclude the rites of the Hajj and prepare to return home, let us all join them in offering special prayers for greater security, peace, unity and progress in our dear country as well as for the peaceful and successful conduct of next year’s general elections.

With this week’s issuance of a formal notice of the impending general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), another national campaign season is now truly upon us and I urge all political leaders in the country to place the overriding interest of the well-being and progress of our fatherland above all other considerations in the coming campaigns and elections.

My administration has done its sincere best in the past four years to implement its agenda for national transformation and move our country forward on several fronts.

“ I will place the greater interests of national harmony, cohesion, unity, security, political stability, progress, equity, justice and fairness above any personal ambition or sectional agenda.

I urge all other political leaders in the country to do the same. Let us all rise above unedifying, unpatriotic and selfish personal interests and divisive sectional agenda in the coming national elections.

Let us also commit ourselves more to the sustenance of democracy and political stability which are essential prerequisites for the advancement of good governance, inclusive economic growth and rapid development.

“Let us rededicate and commit ourselves to the Holy Prophet’s injunctions of piety, honesty, charity and generosity to the less privileged, impartial leadership and true justice for all.

These virtues and lessons will surely stand our nation in good stead as we continue our journey towards the fulfillment of our founding fathers’ vision of a great nation. “

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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