By Henry Umoru
SENATE President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday, urged Nigerians to take full ownership of democracy, its institutions and use them to entrench peace, welfare and improved standard of living for all the people.
Saraki in a statement to mark the swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari and other elected governors and their deputies called on all newly-elected leaders to work for the development of the country and the continued preservation of the nation’s democracy.
In the statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Senate President urged the people to hold their leaders accountable and ensure they always act in the best interest of the people and country.
Urging the people to be good followers and law-abiding at all times, Saraki noted that democracy was about the people who should use it to achieve social justice, equity, inclusiveness and economic self-reliance.
He described the commemoration of 20 years of democracy as a thing of joy, in view of the many positive developments the country has witnessed since May 29, 1999.
He said: “We should avoid conflicts and blood-letting as no country can develop in the midst of chaos. We should all steer clear of issues, comments and situations that emphasise our fault lines.”
Saraki, who noted that the benefits of a constitutional democracy far outweighed the challenges that have confronted the country since the return of democracy, said further: “It is a thing of absolute joy and national pride that we are today celebrating two decades of sustained democratic governance in the country.
“It is my hope that every Nigerian will look back at how far we have come in the last 20 years and resolve to continue to preserve our democracy, not minding the observed lapses in the operation of the system.
“We should continue to strive to preserve the present form of democratic governance because democracy still remains the best system of government.
“We have a duty to translate this dream into measurable realities in terms of the security and welfare of the people as well as the socio-economic and political advancement of the country.
“I believe that all our newly sworn-in leaders are fully abreast of the present realities and, therefore, would spare no effort in working to turn the country around for the better.”