Democracy Thrives On Advocacy, Unionism – Dogara…. Says House Working To Reform Electoral System
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has hailed civil societies and advocacy groups, saying it is their work that oils the machinery of democracy. The Speaker said this when he received a delegation from Save Democracy Group Africa (SDG-Africa) in his office, according to a statement issued by his spokesman Turaki Hassan.
Dogara said it is proof of a healthy democracy when it is characterised by constant engagement of people and voices of unions and civil societies, adding that vigilance is an essential part of democracy.
“So many people believe that human progress, even including the progress of democracy is inevitable, but it is not. I can say with absolute correctness that eternal vigilance is a price of Liberty, as free people are always vigilant. That is why democracies all over the world are all noisy. If you find a situation all over the world where the people are not noisy, then it is not a democracy that they are practicing. It’s always the voices of civil society and labour unions who work hard, that is what makes democracy function, that is what ensures that no matter how bad it gets, it will be alright with time, because with constant engagement of people; democracy corrects itself, unlike other forms of government which promised everything but crashed before our very eyes because they didn’t deliver.
“If democracy is to deliver, there always has to be groups like this who will talk about issues, who will not just sit and articulate action plans, but engage in advocacy, advocating to ensure that the things they craft are implemented, because in most cases government does not react immediately to issues that are raised, but if you keep hitting, at a point even if it is as hard as a flint or a rock, you are bound to crack it.”
Dogara thanked the group for their recommendations on Electoral Matters to the House of Representatives, while assuring that the House, through its relevant Committees, will work on the resolutions during its work on the Electoral Act.
He also urged them to utilise the opportunity of presenting their recommendations to the Senate in a stakeholders summit it is organising on the amendment of the Nigerian constitution in Lagos.
Earlier, the acting chairman of the Governing Council of SDG-Africa, former speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Ghali Na’Abba, disclosed that the group is organising a roundtable on political development in Abuja and would like to have him as their lead speaker.
The event, with the theme “Presidential Constitutional Term Limits and the Future of African Democracy”, is one of the annual Nelson Mandela International Roundtable on Political Development in Africa series.
Dogara is expected to present a paper on “The Legislature, Constitution Review Process and Term Limits Extension.”