BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT— FORMER British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Jack Straw and the former Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr John Bruton, have described the absence of rule of law as an impediment to the development of a healthy democracy in any system.
Speaking , Tuesday at an international conference on democracy and good governance, organised by the Rivers State Government in Port Harcourt, Straw also condoled with the families of those murdered by Boko Haram, an Islamic sect in the country.
Straw, who lauded the resolve by Nigerians to remain united despite some critical challenges the country had gone through, said the welfare of a people and the security of lives should top the agenda of any good government.
He said: “Nigeria has many achievements to its credit. It has survived as a nation. The determination of Nigerians to remain together is remarkable.”
He also cautioned against having the wealth of a nation concentrated in the hands of a few, noting that government should take practical steps to abort all forms of corruption and practices of abuse of power.
He said that it was regrettable that Nigeria was rated the 144th most corrupt country in the world by the Transparency International, a situation he noted, it could overcome.
Describing the 2011 general elections, conducted by the by the National Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, as a milestone in the nation’s electoral political history, Straw said it was significantly more transparent, adding that the country should make effort to improve on the success of the last general elections.
“Trust in the ballot box is a step for genuine democracy. If people believe in their votes, the turn out during elections will be impressive,” he said.