Build Democracy That Reduces Friction, Jonathan Tells Tinubu

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged President Bola Tinubu to foster a democracy where all citizens can freely express themselves without facing friction.

 Jonathan’s appeal came during a one-day symposium commemorating twenty-five years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria. 

The event, held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja, gathered prominent political figures and dignitaries.

In his address, Jonathan emphasised the importance of building an inclusive democracy that transcends regional and religious politics.

 “Together, let us build a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream,” Jonathan stated.

 He stressed that Nigeria’s future democracy should not be one tainted by divisive politics.

Jonathan called upon the National Assembly to explore democratic models that address the underlying causes of Nigeria’s combative political culture. 

He noted, “We must address the factors that give rise to this ‘Do or Die’ politics. It is inimical to consolidating democracy.”

Addressing President Tinubu directly, Jonathan highlighted the responsibility of setting a positive trajectory for the next 25 years of Nigerian democracy. 

“So for the honorable Vice President, we are hoping that you build more infrastructure for us, improve the quality of education, facilities, etc. 

One key thing also is that, for the next twenty-five years, you will need to build a democracy that will reduce friction,” Jonathan advised.

He also pointed out the disruption caused by the numerous litigations following each election cycle in Nigeria. 

He urged for a reduction in these disputes to strengthen the nation’s democratic fabric, referencing Tinubu’s involvement in the historic June 12 crisis as an indicator of his capability to lead this change.

Jonathan further argued that the political elite must lead by example, ensuring their actions reflect the trust placed in them by the electorate. 

He criticized the ostentatious displays of wealth by children of political officeholders, calling for a democracy that delivers tangible benefits to all Nigerians, irrespective of their economic or social status.

 “A situation where children of political officeholders are seen spraying dollars at parties, is not the democracy Nigerians want to witness,” he lamented.

He also criticized the current “winner-takes-all” political system, which he believes fosters disunity and political injustice. 

Jonathan proposed a more inclusive model, suggesting that political parties securing a significant portion of votes should receive some representation. 

“If a political party, for example, gets 30% of votes during an election, either at the national or sub-national level, the party should have something to go home with,” he explained.

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