Ex-president Jonathan charges African countries on culture of inclusion.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan says African countries must be deliberate in fostering the culture of inclusion.
He has advised them to have the same approach in the enthronement of equal rights and justice in the continent.
Jonathan said these on Thursday while delivering a keynote address titled “Building an Inclusive Society for the Next Generation” in Abuja.
He delivered the address at the first year memorial and launching of Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma Empowerment Foundation (ICCEF).
Jonathan said that democracy is a political philosophy that offers the broadest platform for inclusive participation.
According to him, it is anchored on the essential virtue of human liberty which encompasses political, economic and social rights.
He said that those rights were the premise upon which democracy’s promise of peace, equality and justice as well its capacity to improve the welfare and social condition of the citizens, were framed.
Jonathan said that democracy becomes meaningful when citizens are happy and saved from political and social threats like hunger, poverty, discrimination and persecution.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that attainment of basic human needs and fulfilment of democratic promises of peace and security and the flourishing of human rights are the basic background upon which democracy grows.
“One major ingredient to building an inclusive society is to ensure that we strengthen our institutions and be deliberate about the enforcement of economic rights in a way and manner that guarantees peace and social security of citizens.
“The empowerment of citizens in this regard will raise an army of conscious, patriotic and active citizens who can overcome the temptation of vote trading and other corrupt practises in our electoral system.
“We must therefore adopt measures that will completely eliminate the ugly incidence of merchandisation of the electoral process,” he said.
To achieve that in a sustainable manner, Jonathan said that a strong social contract needed to be established between the government and the governed.
This is as a means of guaranteeing the basic social economic rights of decent existence such as healthcare, education, housing and transportation.
He also said there was need to build institutions that were accountable to the people; as well enable the people to add measurable value to society.
Jonathan said that the people should be able to draw strength and growth from the value they help create.
The former president said that the 21st century provided unprecedented opportunities and threats for inclusive development.
He said that the key to being able to maximize the opportunities and mitigating the threats was an empowered citizenry.
The ex-president said that to empower the citizens sustainably was to arm them with necessary skills to be relevant in today’s world.
Jonathan said there was also need to manage the society for the future generation, starting from home.
He said that any governance structure or leadership model that does not incorporate the management of society to protect the interest of the future generation would lead the society to a dead end.
On politics and nation-building, Jonathan said there was need for Africans to change their political behaviour and culture.
He said that the kind of politics being played in most African countries was such that would not help the quest for growth and development.
The ex-president advised Nigerian politicians and leaders in general to act in a manner that would inspire hope and patriotism in the country.
Jonathan also advised them to encourage younger generations to believe in the Nigeria project and put the country first in all that they do.
“We must conduct ourselves in a way that will encourage youth and children to have confidence in their leaders and be convinced that Nigeria belongs to them.
“ That way, they will consolidate their stake in their country, believing that their country will protect them just like a father in the family unit will protect the interest of his children.
“There should be a deliberate mentoring plan and schemes that would ensure transition of power and values from one generation to the next.”
He said that a society that could not provide basic needs for its citizens could hardly inspire in them the kind of patriotism and zeal that would motivate the people to invest every ounce of their energy towards building their nation.
Jonathan commended the organisers of the event for the laudable initiative.
He described Chukwuma as a great man, a compatriot who served Nigeria, Africa and the entire humanity with relentless passion and commitment.
Jonathan said that Chukwuma dedicated over three decades of his life to causes that promote social justice, security, democracy, good governance and the general good of humanity.
“Whether as a human rights activist, social critic or boardroom executive, Innocent remained consistent to his creed.
“His was a passion for justice, transparency and peace as the defining element of a good society.
“They are the virtues he went ahead to display and exemplify in his everyday life.
“I am glad that CCEF is being launched today to drive his vision for a just and inclusive society where citizens, especially the young and women, could thrive economically and politically, without let or hindrance.”