By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on leaders at all levels to take actions that will deepen citizens’ trust and ensure more youth participation in governance.
Jonathan made the call in a statement signed by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) Communications Officer, Wealth Ominabo, in Abuja, on Friday to mark the 2023 International Day of Democracy.
Jonathan, who is the Chairman of the GJF, said that for democracy to endure, the promises of freedom, peace and justice must be felt and experienced by the populace.
He said that democracy had become a global culture of governance because of its inherent values and virtues of freedom, human rights, equity, justice and inclusiveness.
“Democracy is an important means toward achieving peace and national aspirations because it puts citizens at the centre of governance, and entrusting them with the power to determine how their country is governed and who governs them.
“Participation of citizens in governance help to build trust, ensure accountability, foster unity and promote good governance.
“Democracy draws its strength from the people. It flourishes when there is a great sense of ownership and inclusiveness of citizens in government,” he said.
Jonathan while noting that democracy was experiencing a global decline, added that in Africa, it was challenged by some factors.
The factors according to him includes shrinking civic space, weak institutions, election irregularities, poverty and unconstitutional change of government.
He said there was need to prioritise social security issues and access to justice and de-emphasise ethnic and divisive politics to ensure that democracy thrived.
The former president said the 2023 theme: “Empowering the Next Generation”, was a call to action on governments across nations and other stakeholders to accommodate more young people in governments.
He added that It was also a call on stakeholders to make more investments in the youths who were critical stakeholders in the nation’s democracy.
“The promises of freedom, peace and justice must be felt and experienced by the population for democracy to endure.
“On this occasion of International Democracy Day 2023, I call on stakeholders at all levels to take actions that will build trust and faith and guarantee the hope of citizens in their country,” he said. (NAN)