Democratic Consolidation In Nigeria: Issues, Challenges And Prospects

Source: http://www.burningpot.com
Source: http://www.burningpot.com

5/31/2009 9:35:40 AM -

By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Bola Tinubu
Before saying anything, ladies and gentlemen, I must heap deserved tribute on Mallam Aminu Kano, a rare Nigerian and an even rarer species of selfless leadership. In this very house once lived this prodigy with humble habits. I profoundly thank the organisers for counting me worthy of tapping into the Aminu Kano mystique. It is a ceaseless spring to drink from, when the subject is selfless service and community value. Mallam Aminu worked tirelessly to uplift the masses. Now, it is natural that he eternally lives in the heart of all of us. To this great man I will return presently.

For now, however, I must thank the organisers of this symposium, the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University, Kano, for coming up with such a provocative topic: “Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects.” Given how the first 10 years of the current Fourth Republic has turned out, the topic is a salute to the audacity of hope (apologies to US President Barack Obama) in the face of democratic doubt and despair.

But it is also a great challenge to the hope of audacity. Please permit me to begin by making some controversial but incontrovertible assertions about the nature of democracy itself, without which we cannot establish a proper intellectual framework or conceptual guideline for our discussion this morning. Distinguished audience, the nature of democracy reminds one of the proverbial case of a group of blind men clutching at different parts of an elephant with each insisting that he has found the real thing. What we can say for sure is that there is as yet no true democracy in Nigeria. But it should also be obvious that certain societies are more democratic than others. Before we come to establish the scholarly parameters for democratic consolidation or democratic recession, we need to take in what some leading thinkers have had to say about the open-ended nature of democracy.

The very idea of democracy as enunciated by the ancient Greeks means demos cratos, which literally translates into people’s power. Yet to many, the very idea of people’s power means nothing but mob rule. To this school of thought, giving power to the people amounts to a dictatorship of the ignorant masses over the more enlightened and better educated political elite. From this perspective and obvious fears of the tyranny of the majority, many societies began working into the system certain measures which would preclude the tyranny of the masses. For example in America, the president is not only chosen by popular vote but by an electoral college to ensure spread.

Yet this seeming elasticity of conception and society-specific amendments of the purest ideals of democratic rule has led some scholars to wonder aloud whether human societies can actually come up with an ideal democratic society. According to T.S Eliot: “When a word acquires a universally sacred character …as has today the word democracy, I begin to wonder, whether, by all attempts to mean, it still means anything at all. With the characteristic elegant vehemence of the French, De Jouvenel even put it more forcefully: “All discussions about democracy, all arguments whether for it or against it, are stricken with intellectual futility, because the issue is indefinite.”[ii]

It can be seen from the foregoing that while democratic warriors go into the battle for political supremacy, the very concept of democracy itself has become a site of Homeric intellectual battles. This has led George Orwell to observe with usual perception: “Those who wish to defend some regime, whatever its nature may be, will call it democracy.”[iii] Indeed, as far back as 1849, Guizot had observed: “Such is the power of the word Democracy, that no government or party dares to raise its head, or believes its own existence possible, if it does not bear that word inscribed on its banner”[iv]

Despite the notorious difficulties in capturing the essence of democracy, scholars have been engaged in certain strategies for defining it in dynamic motion: that is, viewing democracy itself as it unfolds in actual reality and as a function of several other societal contradictions. The most successful of these is the concept of polyarchy as enunciated by Dahl.[v] This is not a mode of governance but a sustained attempt to situate the democratic process within an overarching architecture of several key features. According to Beetham, these features constitute “the clustering of practice.”[vi]

Among the features are:
1. Freedom of speech
2. Freedom of association
3. The supremacy of the will of the people
4. Regular elections
5. Accountability and transparency.
Under this scheme of things, a country is described as democratic if it combines most of the features, semi-democratic if it combines some of them and non-democratic if most or virtually all of these features are missing in the polity. Having now established a theoretical framework or conceptual scaffolding for our discussion, it is time to move from the abstract to the concrete.

Some would say this past decade is, at best, 10 years of civil rule, even if all the structures of a democratic setting, the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Judiciary (at the federal level); and the Governorship, the State Legislatures and the Judiciary (at the state levels), have been running, and for the longest period ever in Nigerian history. It is civil rule, such critics would insist, with democratic pretence which, they would quickly add, spells danger for sustainable democracy and democratization, since those democratic structures are built on the quicksand of a general anti-democratic mindset: faulty elections, dubious mandates and abuse of security forces, by the ruling party, to rig elections, etc.

But those who would rather look at a half-empty bottle as half-full would disagree with equal vehemence. No people coming out of 16 straight years of virulent military rule, with a militarized mindset and garrison mentality; and more than a fair share of former servicemen transiting into new era politicians, could have had a different result. So, this class of critics would insist, we should take the positives, no matter how dire the situation appears to be, and forge ahead. But I disagree with this viewpoint. A house built on a faulty foundation will collapse. But as someone has said, the solution to democracy is more democracy and not less of it. Still it has to be true democracy. No human society has ever died or collapsed from the excess of true democracy. But many have perished from excess dictatorship.

In any case, that is crystal clear from the Nigerian disastrous attempt to flee from democracy in the past, hoping that in military rule, there could be a short cut to development. Considering our experience in the 16 years before the restoration of civil rule, military rule broke all the bounds in savage governance.

The Aminu Kano Centre would appear to have toed this line of optimism, in the glare of damning evidence of non-democratization in a democracy, in the couching of this symposium topic: “Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects.” Consolidation suggests there is a democratic foundation being strengthened and built upon. While Issues appears value-laden, Challenges is a euphemism for problems, while Prospects would capture the positives, just as in an accounting balance sheet. That, I must say ladies and gentlemen, is how it should be. In looking for solutions, even in the most acute of problems, the pros and cons should be clinically examined. The crisis of democracy and democratization in our dear country deserves no less rigour. For this national and patriotic intervention, I must again thank the Aminu Kano Centre and the adherents who subscribe to the Aminu Kano philosophy of clean politics, credible vote and selfless service.

Permit me, distinguished audience, to note that the optimism of this centre in the democratic future of our great country reflects the great optimism in populist empowerment and the democratic emancipation of the great masses of this country of the man after whom the centre is named. Easily one of the greatest political icons of the nation, Alhaji Aminu Kano lived his life for the Talakawas in particular and Nigerians in general. This example of noble self-sacrifice and exemplary patriotism is very rare and far between among contemporary Nigerian politicians. We salute the courage and integrity of this great man. Those who see public life as a means of enriching themselves should learn from how selfless service has conferred immortality on Mallam Aminu.

The tradition of popular participation in the democratic emancipation of Nigeria has its great advantages. Ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed no coincidence that when the issue is fidelity of the vote, two centres stand out as oases of hope in a depressing desert in Nigeria. These two centres are Kano and Lagos. Despite the mass allegation of vote stealing and mandate robbery that has been the hallmark of this Fourth Republic, the elections in Kano and Lagos have largely reflected the will of the people. That has translated into stable governance and stupendous development in the two states. With all modesty, ladies and gentlemen, the case of Lagos (of which you know I am part and proud of, being in this new dispensation, the first and two-term governor of the state from 1999-2007) is a national success story. The Kano-Lagos story just shows how a stable polity and legitimate leadership, endowed with the right vision, thinkers and doers, can radically translate into prosperity and economic transformation.

Let it therefore not be assumed that Kano and Lagos came to their present level of voter sophistication by accident. Kano owes its voter sophistication almost solely to the heroic efforts of Mallam Aminu Kano (I refuse to refer to him in the past, simply because his ideas and ideals are still very much alive and true today as they were in those radical days of talakawa struggles against the prevailing order). Mallam Aminu it was who virtually committed class suicide to pull, by the proverbial bootstrap, the Kano masses, even against the wishes and preferences of the nobility that he belonged. It is a tribute to his strivings that a man that lived a humble life and died a humble death has remained a giant in our hearts. If Kano has been able to police its vote and insist on the will of its electorate in the face of rampant vote robbery, it is a tribute of Mallam Aminu’s acute vision and grim determination.

The story of Lagos is, of course, all too known: it was a bridge head against colonial domination; and nursery of fierce nationalist rhetoric and action which bred the likes of Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Anthony Enahoro among others, not discounting a fierce and uncompromising press, when the subject was local rights against foreign colonial domination. It is this legacy of political liberalism and unabridged citizens’ right that we in Lagos are proud to buy into and take to the next level to the glory of a united, democratic and prosperous Nigeria.

Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to go back into some historical tie-back on political evolutions in the country to put in the proper context the crisis of democracy and democratization in Nigeria.

Prelude to democratization
After 10 straight years of civil rule, is Nigeria a democracy? That is doubtful, if both sides of the argument would be true to themselves. If it is not yet a democracy, is it democratizing fast enough? If not, why? Answers to these posers would be impossible without a historical tie-back.

In Nigeria, it is an irony of monumental proportion that barely five years after flag independence, civil rule became an interregnum; while military rule, which ought to be the natural interregnum, became the norm. The collapse of civil democratic rule after independence in January 1966, was followed by 13 years of military rule. Civil rule resumed for four years (1979-1983) after hand-over in 1979, only to prove another brief civil interregnum, to be followed by 16 straight years of harsh military rule.

That period, the second bout of military rule (1983-1999) was home to the most traumatic period of our country, since the tragic civil war. It witnessed three military coups (1983, 1985, 1993), three attempted coups (1985, 1990, 1997), an annulled presidential election (1993) and the death in office of a sitting military head of state (1998). After all these tumultuous events, the Nigerian military had sapped itself and burnt its goodwill over a costly political escapade. From an admired if naïve institution that blundered into the political jungle in January 1966, it had by 1999 become a scorned, graft-grubbing bully deserving of everyone’s hate and contempt. We say to them: never venture into the political terrain again!

Besides, the whole country was in torment and in ferment. The rubble of economic ruins and stench of social dislocation that the military wrought assailed every nostril and triggered inevitable anger. The annulled 12 June 1993 presidential election, beyond the veneer of military rascality, had a tincture of ethnic tension and suspicion, if not outright domination. That had externalized an otherwise local conflict, with the escapades of the opposition National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and its dare-devil Radio Kudirat, exposing the stinking underbelly of the crumbling political military establishment. The death in prison of Basorun MKO Abiola, at the end of military rule, almost tipped the country over the edge. But the earlier death in suspicious circumstances of Major-Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’adua and what many called the “judicial murder” of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his doomed Ogoni comrades, had over time underscored the unsavoury fact that the Nigerian military machine had come tragically unstuck in the field of politics and governance, and that something fast needed to be done to save it from imminent disgrace, if not outright collapse.

That was the situation when a negotiated pact became imperative. The military had exhausted itself and its historic possibilities. But it would be in no one’s interest if it was humiliated out of power. On the other hand, the political elite brimmed with vim and vigour to take its pound of flesh. But it knew, in the sick bazaar of humongous private fortune at public expense, it had been out of power for too long to match the stupendous wealth and peer cohesion of the military class. So, there was need for some compromise to ease out the military, while at the same time install a regime that would watch the flank and rear guard of the retreating column.

The fundament of that pact was the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which though bore the preamble of “We the People”, Prof. Adebayo Williams dismissed rather irreverently, in one of his pieces, as a “patchwork of incoherent rambling and recipe for future chaos.” Williams posited the arrangement was aimed more at protecting a military past rather than shape a democratic future.[vii]

Even if Williams was rather harsh in his assessment, the conduct of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo as elected president, left little or no doubt that there was a sort of “Army Arrangement” (apologies to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the late Afro-Beat musician). His style was gruff and dismissive. He barely disguised his contempt for democratic finesse. He openly and unrepentantly subverted due process. He, without end, blackmailed the National Assembly on some bogus pretence to higher ideals of patriotism. With his gruff and sour temper, he was best suited to manage a “democratic” dispensation run on military temper. That might have protected the retreating military interests. But it did not in any way promote or ingrain democratic ethos. Indeed, instead of laying a solid foundation for sustainable democracy, it was an epitome of wasted opportunities.

That explains the paradox of a 10-year civil rule appearing to have internalised more the ethos of impunity and dictatorship rather than suavity and civility that thrives in a democratic civil administration and that gives elected governments untrammelled legitimacy.

The grandest irony of Gen. Obasanjo’s much vilified administration was that whereas he succeeded in the formal de-politicization of the Nigerian military, he came spectacularly unstuck in the demilitarisation of the democratic polity. To ensure his self survival, the ruthless purge of the political elements in the military, which the media hailed as the purge of the “IBB boys”, was perhaps the most lethal tactical move to rid the military of political careerists clothed in military fatigue. Since the forced exit of officers who had had more-than-decent exposure to politics and all its plums during the military era, all appear to have been calm on the military front. The Army itself appears to have taken fresh pride in re-professionalising itself and taken political power as sweet poison.

But in the more strategic turf of implanting democracy ethos and effectively purging the polity of ruinous militarisation, Gen. Obasanjo as civilian president fell flat. He not only had an anti-democratic temper, with a penchant for viewing dissenting views as enemies to be crushed, his authoritarian streak vaporised his putative authority. The one who started out, affecting a Mandela-like father of the nation ended up a Robert Mugabe-like scoundrel, a raven Samson who would not mind the whole democratic structure crashing on his head simply because he could not get his way in illicit term extension.

Impunity has, therefore, been the defining moment of the first 10 years of civil rule in this republic – and to that the Obasanjo essence has contributed more than an individual’s fair share. If that had been the case, it would have been bad enough, but not irredeemable. However, as a parting shot, President Obasanjo bequeathed his country institutionalised electoral banditry, with the grand heists that were the April 2007 general elections. That has got to be the lowest water mark of this putative democracy as well as Obasanjo’s own unfortunate rule. As it is now, Nigeria faces the grim prospect of a democracy without a sound electoral system. How long can any democracy stand on such sandy foundation?

That takes me to the final part of this presentation: issues, challenges and prospects of democratising in Nigeria.

Democracy: Issues, Challenges and Prospects
Democracy may be a process not an event, but it is a myth to assume any country can develop without democracy. Democracy therefore is a desirable ideal to which every country should aim.

But there are objective criteria to gauge where a country stands on the democracy continuum. Rotarians talk of the four-way test. For democracy scholars, however, it is a six-way test. It is from this six-way test that I propose to discuss how our country has fared on the democracy continuum.

This six-point test is as follows: (1) Holding of periodic elections, which are adjudged free and fair and representative of the will of the people (2) Respect for freedom of association (3) Freedom of the press and the right to disseminate information (4) Effective separation of the duties and functions of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary (5) Respect for the rule of law and (6) Accountability and transparency in governance.

Free, fair and credible democratic elections
Holding free, fair and credible elections is the greatest challenge or perhaps threat, if I must be blunt, to the Fourth Republic. “Periodic elections do not a democratic nation make,” once thundered Prof. Adebayo Williams in “Democracy and its Discontent,” an article he wrote for African Today magazine in October 2007. “That is sheer electoralism”. And so, it has been with our country.

That is why I will talk more extensively on free and credible elections, the first of the six-point test. The other five are constitutionally provided for and an aggrieved party can go to court to claim his right. To correct rigged polls, the courts have tried their best. But from the recent experience in Ekiti and the other court-ordered re-runs, it is clear there is a limit to which the courts can help. That is why sweeping electoral reforms are absolutely necessary.

Since the return to civil rule on 29 May 1999, Nigeria has held three general elections, aside from sundry re-run elections and local government polls. Of the three general elections, none of them met the muster of sane polling, even if to be fair, the 1999 election, under the direction of the late Ephraim Akpata, appeared the cleanest of the three. But a disturbing trend is that as each general election was worse than the preceding one (2003 was worse than 1999; and 2007 was worse than 2003), each succeeding electoral umpire was also worse than his predecessor.

Chief Akpata did a fair job. But that cannot be said of Dr. Abel Guobadia who succeeded him. Of course, Prof. Maurice Iwu, the current Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman appears to have broken all bounds in how not to conduct elections; the latest example being the Ekiti governorship re-run and the drama and controversy that surrounded the final “result”.

Prof. Iwu, with his perfidy, is surely leading Nigeria into the abyss and our democracy into a dungeon. If immediate action is not taken, Iwu will lead our electoral system into a state where candidates will prepare for war instead of electioneering. That would result in a situation of mutually assured destruction. But even with his extremely bad record, he is unfazed. He supervises the conception, monitoring and execution of mandate robbery – and he does so with reckless abandon! No thanks to Iwu, INEC has become a nest of election riggers. Despite all that, he goes on an ego trip, when reacting to his troubled conscience, claiming that he has a lot to teach both Ghana and the United States in the ABC of clean elections. Yet by universal consensus, he conducted the worst election in Nigerian history in 2007. Since then, he has continued his electoral rascality with phoney re-runs in which he and his collaborators, not the Nigerian electorate, decide who win or lose elections!

In the name of Mallam Aminu Kano, that exemplar in justice and to his golden memory I make this clarion call: wake up, ladies and gentlemen, and let us form a coalition against electoral robbery!

On the fidelity of the vote, the core foundation of democracy, therefore, our country is faring very badly at each passing election. This is a very disturbing trend as, in this particular case, nobody can talk of “consolidating democracy” as nothing can be built on air. This is the greatest single threat to our democratic survival. That is why sweeping electoral reforms are not only imperative but also inevitable.

Electoral Reforms
At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, I must revisit the core recommendations of the Muhammadu Lawal Uwais Electoral Reforms Committee (ERC) and why we must implement them to save our democracy.

· Appointment of INEC chairman: The ERC recommended the advertisement of interested candidates and the short-listing of three after adequate screening by the National Judicial Council (NJC). NJC then passes the short list to the president who picks one and sends his name to the Senate for confirmation. Even if the Senate rejects the first appointee, the president still has the remaining two to forward. This recommendation will deny any sitting president or governor the chance to plant a party sympathiser as electoral chief, as it often happens, to help skew the election. That will help to shield the electoral umpire from executive interference thus securing independence. In terms of discipline too, any complaints would be sent to the NJC which will investigate and forward its findings to the Senate for action. So, by this recommendation, a one man-show in the appointment of the INEC members has passed to a triumvirate of the president, the Senate and the NJC. This democratisation of the process is imperative, given where the executive abuse of the past has landed our democracy. Furthermore, the arbitrary change of rules by the INEC chairman, as we recently witnessed in the aftermath of the Ekiti re-run election, when the lawyers to a petitioner was asked to go to Abuja to obtain the permission of the INEC chairman before the Certified True Copies (CTC) of documents used in the election, will be eliminated. This before now has been a routine procedure. But overnight, the all-powerful INEC chief politicised the process, perhaps to favour certain interests.

· Independent funding: The ERC recommended funding for INEC be charged into the Consolidated Fund. That means the electoral body will not go cap-in-hand to the executive for funds. Financial independence is crucial in any venture; and the government should be commended to have retained this particular recommendation.

· Security of Tenure: This stems from the preceding two points. If INEC is not beholding to any single body or institution and can access it funding from the Consolidated Fund, it logically follows that its tenure would be secure.

· Time-limit in electoral adjudication: The Uwais Committee recommended that every electoral petition be dispensed with before the swearing-in. That is a logical thing to do, given the current situation where someone alleged to have stolen the vote enjoy the plums of office and even spend government money on his petition defence. Why the Federal Government is opposed to this position is curious; for it seems a fair and equitable thing to do. The National Assembly should insist on this particular recommendation.

· Electoral Offences Commission: This is to strengthen the state’s capacity to punish electoral criminals. Such a commission should be made to dispense justice faster than the conventional courts, without necessarily sacrificing the principles of justice and fair play. If we must reform and redeem our democracy, then electoral cheats and those who aid and abet them in INEC must be made to face the full wrath of the law. Any elected office holder found guilty must not only be barred from future elections, he must go to jail for the offence. So too, must colluding electoral and security officials.

· Independent candidature: This is a welcome reform, given that it is a constitutional right to vote and be voted for. It will enrich our democratic process and curb cases of imposition in the parties, knowing that an alternative platform is open to aggrieved but popular candidates.

· Internal democracy in parties: This is a key challenge under the present dispensation, where parties are seldom democratic in the conduct of their internal affairs. Option A4 is hereby recommended, where candidates emerge from the ward up to the highest levels; and the process is seen to be clear and transparent. If parties embrace internal democracy, the chances are that the general polity would be more democratic. So, there is need for a set of electoral law setting out such processes, so that every party that nominates candidate must conform to these set of rules.

· National Data Base: Every rigged election starts with a padded voter register. Therefore there is urgent need to ensure the electoral roll is genuine and not fake. A scientific way to go about this is to invest in a comprehensive National Data Base that captures the biometrics of the voters on the roll. That way, cases of multiple thumb-printing and even proxy voting (which are now very rampant) would be easily detected and punished. We lost a golden opportunity with the failure of the National Identity Card Programme; but that does not mean we cannot succeed in it, if we really are determined to. In fact, a comprehensive national data base is key to clean elections. But it would also provide accurate statistics for economic planning, help to effectively fight crime and enhance national security.

War against Poverty
I must not end this contribution without a word on poverty eradication. Indeed, mass poverty is not only a threat to our democracy, but also a potent threat to our national security and prosperity. For us to fight poverty, we must all fight for the realisation of electoral reforms as I had earlier highlighted. Without a credible electoral system, in which every vote counts, there cannot be accountable leadership which feels its survival depends on gaining and retaining the confidence of the people. Of course, where you have accountability, the road to prosperity is assured.

However, for a good political system to work, the constitution must work the way it is intended to be. This now brings me to the issue of our supposed federal constitution which, in actual practice, is more unitary than federal. The implication is that Nigeria is presently bogged down by a powerful and inefficient centre. This centre sits on most of the resources. But it does not account for them; and it misapplies and mal-administers those resources. To buttress my point, the glorious period in Nigerian history was when the regional governments operated on a sound federal constitution. The legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the West and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the East are still there today for all to see. It was the golden age of Nigerian politics and economy! But in the last 30 years, Nigeria has stagnated because of over-centralisation of authority and resources.

Since the bulk of our people live in the states, the states need more resources and authority. That there is a running debate on the desirability or otherwise of state police is enough attestation to this. That is why we must return to true federalism. We need to make every part of our country profit centres, rather than cost centres that they are now – no thanks to an over-centralised federal government that sits on idle funds but has little ideas on what to do with it. To eliminate poverty, therefore, states must be at the prime drivers of development.

That is why we must make bold endeavours. We must think out of the box and invest in education as the greatest weapon against poverty. Let’s move away from the tyranny of dead ideas and make direct investment in agriculture and agro-allied industries. With the maximum use of irrigation for all-year-round agriculture, we must invest in storage facilities. We must make massive investment in electricity, as no nation can develop without power. Then we must resuscitate our rail system and get our economy moving again. That is how to launch a full-scale war on poverty, subdue it and give our people the good life. That, in the long run, is the only dividend that can sustain democracy.

Conclusion
The first 10 years of resumed civil rule has not been a soar-away success in terms of democracy and democratisation on two crucial fronts: the fidelity of the vote and accountable and transparent governance. Extra work must be done in these areas to make Nigeria a democracy and to make that democracy sustainable. However, other indices like freedom of association, freedom of the press, separation of powers and respect for rule of law have made appreciable strides, even if great challenges still lie along the way. Whether we can sustain, not to talk of consolidating this democracy, will depend on how these itemised flaws are corrected. But the key challenges remain electoral reforms and mass poverty. We therefore need sweeping electoral reforms; and making the practice of our constitution federal as conceived, rather than the unitary as it is currently practised.

Overall, there is nothing to celebrate after 10 years of civil rule. We need serious, courageous and compassionate leaders with social conscience. We can do it, no doubt, if we put our minds to it. But for now, what we need is sober reflection to make our democracy what we crave but is still far, far away. This time therefore calls for a renewed commitment to the progressive national ideals for which the great Mallam Aminu Kano lived for. And it is in that spirit that I wish to leave you with these inspiring words from late American President Calvin Coolidge while preaching for restoration of confidence in national institutions in the early part of the 20th century: “We need a broader, firmer, deeper faith in the people. A faith that men desire to do right, that the commonwealth is founded upon a righteousness which will endure, a reconstructed faith that the final approval of the people is given not to demagogues, slavishly pandering to their selfishness, merchandising with the clamour of the hour but to statesmen, ministering to their welfare, representing their deep, silent abiding convictions.”

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your patience.

Being the lecture Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State, gave at a National Symposium on 10 years of Democracy (1999-2009), organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University, Kano, Kano State, on 29 May 2009.

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