Democracy guarantees respect for fundamental rights – VP Osinbajo

Democracy guarantees respect for fundamental rights – VP Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof.

Yemi Osinbajo says democracy remains the best system of establishing governments because it guarantees respect for the fundamental rights of individuals to choose their leaders.

Prof.

Osinbajo stated this on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, where he chaired a roundtable discussion, which was held in honour of the late governor of the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and in commemoration of his posthumous 72nd birthday.

Speaking on the theme of the Roundtable, Election Security and Good Governance in Nigeria, the vice president noted that democracy as a “ system of government guarantees the accountability of the elected to the electorate.

As the electorate determine in every electoral cycle by their free choice whether the mandate given was properly utilized.


Referencing the timeless quote by the late US President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address in 1863, Prof.

Osinbajo submitted that “man has not yet developed a fairer and more just system of establishing governments than that the government be a government of the people by the people for the people.


“This right of choice of leaders as given by democracy is not just a fundamental civil and political right, but it also separates man from animals for whom might confers the right to leadership,” he added.

According to him “the major issue, therefore, is how to ensure that right of free choice is not defeated or corrupted.

Once that right of free choice is violated, the basis of democracy and its product, good governance, is undermined.

“I am sure some of the conversation today will look at this fundamental point…how can we protect the vote, how do we ensure that every vote counts; how do we protect the government of the people, by the people, and for the people; and ensure, as Lincoln famously prayed at Gettysburg, that it does not perish from the earth?”
Prof.

Osinbajo described the late governor Ajimobi as “an exceptional communicator and a natural bridge builder, who attained early success in the oil and gas industry, and then emerged as an astute politician, Senator of the Federal Republic, and two-term governor of Oyo State.


The VP added that the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi was “a remarkable human being, an extraordinarily gifted man, astute politician, accomplished public intellectual and administrator in his own right.


Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof.

Attahiru Jega, who delivered the lead paper, pointed out that security challenges undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

According to Jega, security is necessary for voters to register to vote, for the protection of electoral materials and to ensure accurate compilation of results.

“Election security is very important and is a critical requirement for good democratic governance, especially in a countries like Nigeria which are faced with acute systemic security challenges.

“Unless there is adequate, effective, appropriate, professional, impartial and non-partisan election security provisioning, the integrity and credibility of elections will continuously be undermined.

“Politicians with reckless deposition, selfish inclination and parochial mindset will continue to dominate the political parties and the electoral arena.

“And they will continue to fraudulently control access to the governance institutions and processes and entrench bad governance, which will continue to frustrate citizens’ aspirations for good democratic governance for the satisfaction of their basic needs of human dignity and human security.


The panel discussion, moderated by Prof.

Olawale Albert of the University of Ibadan, had former army spokesman, Brig-Gen.

Sani Usman; a public affairs analyst, Majeed Dahiru; and ace broadcaster, Babajide Otitoju; speak on security and its implications for elections and good governance.

In her opening remarks, widow of the late Gov.

Ajimobi, Mrs Florence Ajimobi said that the theme of the roundtable was intended to prepare grounds for peaceful elections in Nigeria.

The Vice President also inaugurated the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Resource Center built by the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS), University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

 
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Democracy guarantees respect for fundamental rights – VP Osinbajo

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