Nigeria must key into global changes or be left out- Dogara tells Save Democracy group

Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday met with a pressure group under the aegis of Save Democracy Africa Group, where he frowned at the failure of Nigeria to take its rightful place among comity of nations.

Speaking during an interaction with a delegation from Save Democracy Africa Group, led by Senator Jonathan Zwingina, the Speaker stressed the need for Nigeria to join in the experiment aimed at bettering the practice of democracy in order to deepen and protect it.

The Speaker also accepted the invitation by the Save Democracy Africa to formally chair its 3rd political summit which will take place in Abuja later in the year.

Dogara also noted that whoever initiates change, dominates in any field; whether in science and technology, agriculture or any field of human endeavour and the reason why Nigeria doesn’t dominate and has always been dominated is because “we have not been able to initiate change.”

Dogara said: “Even if certain principles of democracy were normal before, in this age of new normal, you have people questioning it. We live in an age where a man and a man want to get married, without even looking at consequences on a child that grows with them for 25 years, or 20 years.

“So, in other words, this is an age of experimentation; we want to experiment with everything, even democracy, people are experimenting with democracy and the ultimate evidence is the rise of the far right in Europe. Even the home of Presidential democracy in the world is not normal anymore, it won’t be charitable for me to run commentaries on what is going on in a friendly country but the truth is that we know that even democracy is taking a knock.

“The challenge we face in this era of new normal is how we initiate these changes, take control of these changes in a way that better serves our needs, for a government that secures our liberties first, give us the needed protection and then secures prosperity.

“Democracy is just an idea that must be defended and when you lose those that will defend democracy, before long, democracy will become a casualty and that is the work you do, and even if you are not appreciated, promoting democracy is a work that we all must do.”

He commended the group for the non-partisan work they are doing to preserve the entire democratic experience and preventing democracy from suffering grave dangers.

“Partisan considerations do not matter and we are all working together as one in preserving the very fundamental ideas of democracy, of representative governance practice in Nigeria, in looking at our experience now and how we can better it and that gives me hope that we will continue to maintain our lead in Africa,” he added.

Dogara also maintained that the legislature is the first institution of democracy, saying, “You can have any form of government but if that government does not consist of an independent legislature, then you don’t have a democracy, even if you call it, like most countries of the world will want to tag their governments, whether they are authoritarian, they call it Democratic Republic of so, so and so.

“I thank you for the work you do for all of us, for all of us really. The truth is that we live in a world that makes change necessary, whether you prepare for it or not, you cannot stop change. Change has become like the north in a navigator’s compass; wherever he is able to find the north, it means that there is no way he can miss it, and whatever you do with a compass, you cannot stop it from pointing at the true nut.

“So, change is like that true north, but the way we become either managers of change or victims of change is how we react to it. The truth is that over time, right from the process of civilisation – as you know, they are compactmentalised into names – from that the dark ages, to the period of renaissance, to the modern age and then, post modernisation and to what we have today that we cannot even define but which they tagged new normal, which means a rejection of things that were normal before.

“So, even if certain principles of democracy were normal before, in the age of new normal, you have people questioning it. We live in an age where a man and a man want to get married, without even looking at consequences on a child that grows with them for 25 years, or 20 years. So, in other words, this is an age of experimentation; we want to experiment with everything, even democracy, people are experimenting with democracy and the ultimate evidence is the rise of the far right in Europe. Even the home of presidential democracy in the world is not normal anymore, it won’t be charitable for me to run commentaries on what is going on in a friendly country but the truth is that we know that even democracy is taking a knock.

“So the challenge we face in this era of new is how do we initiate these changes, take control of these changes in a way that better serves our needs. For a government that secures our liberties first, give us the needed protection and then secures prosperity, that is the challenge.

“So, democracy is just an idea that must be defended and when you lose those that will defend democracy, before long, democracy will become a casualty and that is the work you do, and even if you are not appreciated, promoting democracy is a work that we all must do.”

Speaking earlier, Senator Zwingina commended the Speaker for his consistent advocacy for enthronement of democracy, rule of law and human right in Nigeria.

He said Speaker Dogara’s exemplary and sterling leadership qualities have helped in bringing about the much needed stability in the House of Representatives and that it was based on these accomplishment that the group endorsed him to chair the 3rd political summit.

 
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja

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