Nigeria Under President Goodluck Jonathan: A Catalyst For Participatory Democracy In Nigeria – Myth Or Reality?

Nigeria democracy, like that of United states, is large, complex, heterogeneous and practise similar but costly presidential systems of government.

In the process of deepening our embryonic democracy, Dr Goodluck Jonathan since elected as president by a wide margin of votes cutting across the six geo-political zones that make the country, has been encouraging civic involvement and urging Nigerian politicians to give way to a society that rightfully demands that its representatives and institutions are more accountable and transparent than ever before despite rumour peddlers and character assassinations by anti-Jonathan’s PDP government .

The Edo election in 2011 with its imperfections, witness a progressive politics in the anal political history of Nigeria where PDP candidate, Major General Charles Airhavbere[ rtd] lost to a sitting governor, comrade Adams Oshiomhole Action Congress of Nigeria [ ACN] had president Goodluck Jonathan [PDP] without playing politics of bitterness congratulated governor Oshiomhole [ACN] and the good people of Edo state where this writer comes from to show, that the new PDP under president Goodluck Jonathan/Bamanga Tukur administration is not an anti-people’s party as perceived by the oppositions but a democratic party indeed by words and actions.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s action was not only commendable by Nigerians both at home and in Diaspora , it also give Nigerians hope that “ Democracy” in Nigeria has come to stay no matter the political challenges facing the party in some states like River [ Governor Amaechi/ Honourable Wike saga] and the unfounded allegations by the governor against the first lady of political intrusion in the governance of the state. PDP as an all inclusive party ,has respect for democracy and taking the lead to restores peoples sense of pride in their local communities, states and at federal levels . To this end, all political parties in Nigeria need to encourage civic involvement and ensure trust in political parties and democratic process. To consolidate our democratic process , we need to examine ways of enabling all parties to reach out via their manifestoes to their members and voters alike , making political parties in Nigeria more effective at listening and engaging the people which to a degree is lacking in Nigeria political parties.

PDP as a party under president Goodluck Jonathan in spite of the challenges facing the party within by individual member/s who are now being perceived by PDP party members and progressive Nigerians as saboteurs to derail the government and ensuring within PDP discipline is enforced in a view to reposition and re-connect not only with its members but also with voters with reference to Edo state as a case study. Political parties like PDP under president Goodluck Jonathan is now engaging more closely with local communities as part of moves to improve democracy ,citizens participation and make the party more electable at the zonal, state and federal levels while fused ethnocentric religious [ APC] yet to be registered party and with no defined ideology is still in self delusion and denial of addressing the germane democratic deficit and corruption within their party [APC] , for example, it has been reported that Lagos [ACN] state Assembly has summoned some Lagos state council chairmen to appear before the Assembly on the ground of fraudulent activities . Rather than APC as a party finding ways to address their internal problems of imposition and corruption , the leaders of the party are galvanizing some PDP Governors to derail President Goodluck Jonathan [ PDP ] government.

Participatory democracy helps build better communities , promoting trust, responsibility and democratic engagement . The new PDP under president Goodluck Jonathan/ Bamanga Tukur is evolving, to harness the skills and experience of our young and old in and out of the country . Today, the party has some of the best global tested brains like Dr Okonji Iweala a World Bank technocrat, Mrs Allinson Maduekwe, an Oxford graduate and currently , Honourable Minister of Mineral resources and qualified women like the chief justice of the federation, Honourable minister of education, Honourable Minister of Aviation all women in the government ,working assiduously with the president to reshape –refocus and rebuild the country politically and economically to move the country forward and develop our nation.

PDP unlike other parties is pro-actively working to do more to connect politics and people by allowing people to participate and make it possible through the party’s effective procedural mechanisms for members to voice their opinions and where applicable, act swiftly on them . For example, the recent setting up of committees to reconcile all aggrieved old and new PDP members which is now yielding positive results is highly commendable by party members both at home and abroad . Party leaders like President Goodluck Jonathan, founding fathers like ex-president chief Olusegun Obasanjo and former chairman PDP board of trustee, Chief Anthony Anenih, current , PDP chairman , The national executive leaders, The national working committee leaders and progressive party members of Peoples Democratic party [PDP] both at home and all foreign chapters, including PDP UK Chapter and their executives believe , Partnership with the party will leads to party developmental process which will in turn , pave way for the party to be more responsive, inclusive, transparent and accountable to party members.

The concept among politicians that “ majority will have their say, and minority will always have their ways “ causes not only divisiveness, frictions, distrusts but also stifle internal democracy within parties in Nigeria . This concept under president Goodluck Jonathan is now being discarded to allow internal democracy to prevail within the ruling party which other party should emulate rather casting aspersions on the president ,his family and the ruling progressive party which cut across all the six geo-political zones that makes today’s Nigeria.

For effective participation, policing making and nation development , PDP as a party, should engage their foreign chapters like PDP UK Chapter which though now urgently needs the intervention of our leaders to help us in the ongoing reconciliation and harmonization process, which this writer plays an important role to bring all aggrieved members together and ensure foreign chapters like PDP UK chapter vis-à-vis their responsibilities, promote the policies and programmes of our national government to achieve the transformational agenda of president Goodluck Jonathan PDP administration in the areas of Security, energy, poverty alleviation, technology, Diaspora voting rights and micro-macro economic [ Public—private partnership ] economic policy of the government. Every developed and developing nation has its peculiar challenges with Nigeria no exception, time and efforts will be required both by the government and people to accelerate the wheel of progress in the country and no PDP governors should be allowed to be used to cause revolution in the country and derail the government.

There is need for our leaders in respective of political associations and patriotic progressive Nigerians to be very mindful of our utterances, actions and vigorously and effectively condemned any act of sabotage that could derail our embryonic democracy at this present time. While president Goodluck Jonathan has been commended in the way he has dealt with security issues in some states in Nigeria like Adamawa , Nassarawa , Gombe, more pro-active effective approach like investment in modern technology equipment to enhanced information gathering, information sharing , comprehensive data base of all political organizations and people with questionable activities operating in the coun

try with effective monitoring and where applicable disbandment through legislation, of any political organizations that recruit and harbours terrorists A case in hand is the recent political murder of politicians and people in Plateau state .Enough of these senseless killings, assassinations and kidnapping in the country. Patriotic Nigerians should help security agencies in the country to fish out perpetrators of these crimes and bring them to justice. Meaningful investment can only be possible where security of lives and property can be guaranteed. Patriotic Nigerians should shun sentiments and political bigotry and work with president Goodluck Jonathan to solving the security challenges facing the country.

PDP the ruling and all inclusive party and the governed, should work for an active democracy in which men ,women ,young and old as responsible citizens consciously ,proactively ,professionally and politically assist in shaping their surroundings in which they live to bring about peace and development. PDP as a party, is intensifying its efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy, for example, president Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to China is to work in partnership with the Chinese government to develop the country and the president has been encouraging and helping other sectors like Agriculture, steel and small medium enterprises which is an engine growth of any nation to thrive in view to achieve the government vision of developing the country. There is need for a faster rate of industrial expansion through the public –private partnership economic policy of the government to curb unemployment and give Nigerians youth fully employment.

In today’s global recession, innovations is the key and Nigerians with good administrative and entrepreneurial skills is being encouraged by president Goodluck Jonathan government by creating the enabling environment to allow private sector to thrive through the provision of infrastructure like construction and rehabilitations of roads, resuscitation of our railway systems, consolidation of recapitalization of our banks which today rank among the best banks in the world, investment in the aviation sector, active women participation in politics, poverty alleviation , addressing our educational system and funding research programmes in universities and investment in technology to mention a few. Politicians [public servants] alone in this global recession period can-not solve all the economic problems facing the nation, the country dire need the participation of private sector to develop the country . All these president Goodluck will achieve with time through his transformational policies and programmes of his administration with the cooperation of well meanings patriotic progressive Nigerians. President Goodluck Jonathan means well for the country, as we have no other country, let us all work progressively with the government to develop our country.

No derailment, No revolution . History shows that countries like Libya, Tunisia and currently , Egypt that allowed dissidents and hijacked by terrorists are not better off but their citizens are still wallowing in poverty and with no improvement in their standard of living. Nigeria as a nation will be better off with a president that is calm and cool like cucumber , ruthless in thinking, actions and visionary and progressive like a leader in president Obama [USA]. Nigeria has tried the rest that has offered little or achieved nothing , Nigerians have now voted for a progressive leader who by his actions and words embrace and truly practise democracy . Democracy in Nigeria has come to stay and should be nurtured by our leaders and good people of Nigeria to develop the country.

Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria

Written by
Benjamin Ogbebulu
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