Yenagoa, Bayelsa State – In a gathering of prominent African figures, former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, and renowned African scholar, Prof. PLO Lumumba, joined voices to express their deep concerns over the growing threat to democracy in the African continent.
This collective call to action was made during the Democracy Dialogue event, organized by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation and held at the prestigious Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The event aimed to address critical issues surrounding the relationship between democracy and development in Africa.
Dr. Jonathan, the Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, praised the Bayelsa State Government for hosting this pivotal event. He emphasized that the annual Democracy Dialogue serves as a platform for stakeholders from across Africa to engage in candid discussions about democracy’s state in the continent, assess its practice, and offer constructive solutions where necessary.
Highlighting the pressing issues, Dr. Jonathan pointed to recent threats against democracy in Africa, such as social tensions, coup d’états, insecurity, and inadequate election management. He emphasized the need for open and honest conversations to revitalize democracy in Africa, moving beyond the mere act of elections and focusing on the quality of governance that follows.
“The theme of the dialogue underscores the fact that we need to see democracy beyond elections and critically look at the nature of our elections and what happens after elections by way of governance,” stated Dr. Jonathan. He stressed the importance of leadership ensuring that democracy translates into the economic well-being of citizens and that democracy, in its essence, should uplift the social conditions of the people.
Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, in his goodwill message, highlighted the timeliness of the event’s theme, coinciding with a period when the pursuit of democracy and sustainable peace in West Africa is facing significant challenges. He lamented the rise of unconstitutional changes of government, including military coups, which have led to increased insecurity, economic stagnation, rising poverty, inequality, and diminished citizen participation in governance across Africa.
Professor PLO Lumumba, delivering the keynote address, drew attention to the crisis of development in Africa, attributing it to poor leadership and a misconstrued interpretation of democracy. Lumumba emphasized the necessity for servant-leaders who prioritize the well-being of the people at the core of governance.
The Democracy Dialogue event brought together these distinguished voices in African leadership and scholarship to shed light on the urgent need for comprehensive reform and renewed commitment to democratic principles across the continent. As democracy faces mounting challenges, it is clear that these influential figures are determined to spearhead positive change for the benefit of all Africans.