Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called for inclusivity as a means of consolidating democracy and promoting peace and progress in Africa.
A statement by Ikechukwu Eze, the former president’s spokesperson, quoted him as making the call in his remarks at the Second Annual Retreat of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Special Envoys, High Representatives organised by International IDEA in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, democracy will serve the people better if African leaders at all levels respect the laws of their nations.
“I believe that we need to elect leaders who will respect their laws. If our leaders – presidents, prime ministers, the parliament and the judiciary – would respect our laws, I believe 70 per cent of our problems would be solved,” he said.
Mr Jonathan said that in the face of increasing military coups on the continent, especially in West Africa, inclusivity and good governance are what the people need to convince that civilian administrations are better than military governments.
“In Africa, democracy is currently facing many challenges, including the resurgence of coup d’état, citizen disenchantment, rising insecurity and tough economic situations for which special panels like this one are expected to interrogate and proffer solutions.
“I have always said there is a strong connection between democracy and development.
“Hence, the need to deepen democracy, make it more inclusive and strengthen the institutions of governance, towards building a stable and prosperous society,” Mr Jonathan said.
The former president added that the issue of inclusivity is a key part of the discussions for improving the convergence principle mentioned in the ECOWAS Protocol on democracy and good governance.
He charged the participants at the two-day high-level retreat to develop “concrete and actionable recommendations to respond in a sustainable and inclusive manner to these complex situations.”