Obasanjo in Rivers, says electoral litigation now ‘try your luck’
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has decried the preponderance of electoral litigations, saying it has now become a thing of luck because political actors don’t play by the rules.
Obasanjo spoke on Thursday at the International Conference On ‘Deepening Democratic Culture and Institutions for Sustainable Development and Security in Nigeria’ in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He said: “We fail to understand that democracy is not a one shot game. It is evolutionary and it takes time to ground the practice. It is not for quick change and indeed, if we play by the rules, we would all realise that regimes or governments can change but the tenets remain constant.
“We would not be so bitter with election results or overload the courts with litigations, very many of which are like ‘try your luck’.
“When we learn to play by the rules and respect the principles of democracy, we recognise that ascension to office does not empower incumbents to destroy all policies and programmes initiated by the predecessor,” he said.
He warned that without retracing the nation’s political steps to the right direction, the current process will either not produce the right leaders or it will leave so many broken blocks on the path to governance.
The result will be democratic quagmire, increased corruption, insecurity and survival of the fittest, richest and better connected with little or no recognition of merits, he said.
He noted that ascension to political offices does not empower incumbents to destroy policies and programmes of their predecessors.
He said while it does not matter the party a predecessor belonged to, new leaders should sustain the policies and projects of their predecessors in as much as the programmes are in the interest of the people.
He said: “In fact, during campaigns, some leaders sound as if they plan to reinvent Nigeria and create new Nigerians overnight. That is because they miss the aspect of democracy that emphasizes continuity, stability and predictability.
“One regime can lay the foundation but it requires many regimes to continue to build positively and constructively on the foundation.
“It is largely because we overlook and often disregard the basic principles of democracy. And somehow, we do not appreciate the damage that we do, individually and collectively, to the fabric of the nation.”
The former President said democracy is not a one-day wonder, noting that there must be continuity and predictability of policies despite change in leadership.
Top politicians were in attendance at the event including Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike as well as former governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Peter Odili (Rivers).