A member of the House of Representatives representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency, Oyo State, Hon. Shina Peller, and an associate professor of Comparative Politics at Lead City University, Ibadan who is also the Director General, Centre for Corporate Governance and International Politics, Professor Tunde Oseni, have publicly clamoured for Nigeria’s democracy to be repositioned for better.
They made this known on June 12 whilst speaking at a virtual event tagged, People’s Panel: Democracy Day Conversation, organized by Lead Generation Initiative (LGI) to mark Nigeria’s 22nd Democracy Day anniversary.
Whilst giving his keynote address, Hon. Peller, who is the founder of the LGI, noted that to achieve an improved democracy for the country, there is need for patriotic Nigerians with great leadership skills and traits to get involved in the political system and change the narrative for better, adding that it is the system that determines who get elected as leaders.
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“It is the system that will elect who our leaders will be. We have to find a way to develop trust in the system and this can be achieved when patriotic Nigerians with great leadership skills and traits get involved in our political system and change the narrative for better.”
Also, Hon. Peller stated that there is need for young people to be involved in politics, as there is a great opportunity for them to participate in achieving the paradigm shift that they desire. He added that his desire for a paradigm shift was one of the factors that influenced his decision to join politics.
“We need to understand that there is an opportunity for young people to participate in achieving the paradigm shift we desire; I joined politics to achieve a paradigm shift,” Hon. Peller said.
Speaking as the lead discussant at the panel, Professor Tunde Oseni argued that there is need to renegotiate, restructure and reposition Nigeria for a better democracy, adding that democracy is a government that emanates from the people and it is being accountable to them.
Moreover, Professor Oseni added that votes can actually count in Nigeria only if the electorates believe they count. He also emphasized the importance of free and fair election in democratic system, adding that the most important process in democracy is election.
He said, “The most important process in democracy is election; a free and fair election. Election is the nucleus of democracy, and democracy is the nucleus of legitimacy.”
Another panelist, Civic Leader and Public Interest Lawyer, Barrister Edem Ossai, argued that the quality of politics is directly connected to the economic level of the people, and that it is basic needs of the people that motivate their political and civic engagement, adding that when a society is trapped in poverty, it affects the politics and civic participation of the people of such society.
Barrister Ossai observed,
“It’s our basic needs that motivate our political and civic engagement. People tend to start selling their votes when the system set in place to help them get their basic needs fails to work.”
Other panelists at the event were Barrister Abiola Abdulkareem (Founder, Jagunlabi Foundation), Hafsat Shinkafi (Founder and Executive Director, I AM Change Initiative), Sanusi Olaniyan (Program Officer, YIAGA Africa), Mr. Korede Dawodu (Chairman, Zkyte Group) and Comrade Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi (Northwest Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Groups) who all spoke extensively on Nigeria’s democracy and the need to make it a better and more participatory one.
The event was moderated by the National Secretary of Lead Generation Initiative, Ekpa Stanley Ekpa.