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Democracy Day: Nigeria needs to build more resilient, equitable society –Yiaga Africa

Yiaga Africa says the country needs to build a more resilient, equitable and just society. The organisation urged stakeholders— government, political parties, civil society, and…

Yiaga Africa says the country needs to build a more resilient, equitable and just society.

The organisation urged stakeholders— government, political parties, civil society, and the private sector—to renegotiate a new social compact with citizens.

Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, stated this on Wednesday in a statement to mark Nigeria’s 25 years uninterrupted democracy.

Itodo noted that while Nigeria’s democracy showed signs of progress, significant challenges such as incidences of election malpractices, electoral violence and intimidation remained significant concerns, deterring voter participation and compromising the integrity of elections.

The statement read in part: “Corruption and lack of accountability by public leaders continues to plague Nigeria’s political landscape, eroding public trust in democratic institutions. Despite progress, women, youth, and persons with disability remain underrepresented in political leadership and decision-making processes.

“Deep-seated socio-economic inequalities hinder the full realization of democratic rights for many Nigerians. Journalists, civic activists and citizens experience attacks, intimidation, frivolous litigation, and unlawful detention by state forces for speaking truth to power.

“Robust democracy thrives with respect for human rights and civil liberties, rule of law, press freedom, independent judiciary and citizens’ participation. Addressing these challenges requires renegotiating a new social compact between the government and citizens.

“The Imperative of Renegotiating a New Social Compact Trust in government and institutions has declined over the past 25 years. A new social compact can help restore this trust by making governance more transparent, accountable, and responsive to citizens’ needs.

“Renegotiating the social compact can create a more inclusive society with equal opportunities and access to resources for all. It can also emphasize shared values and responsibilities, fostering community and solidarity among citizens. This is crucial for addressing collective challenges such as public health crises, security threats, economic depression, political exclusion and social cohesion.”

The organisation called for recommitment to democratic ethos and principles by all relevant stakeholders and recommended steps to take.

The statement added, “Strengthening Institutions: Reinforcing the independence and capacity of democratic institutions, including INEC, the judiciary, and anti-corruption bodies, to operate without fear or favor.

“Promoting political education: Enhancing political education to empower citizens with the knowledge and skills necessary to actively participate in the democratic process especially holding public leaders to account for the power they hold in trust for the people

“Fostering dialogue and collaboration: Encouraging dialogue and collaboration among political actors, civil society, and the private sector to address common challenges and build a more inclusive democracy.

“Protecting human Rights: Upholding and protecting the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians, ensuring that every citizen can freely express their views, assemble, and participate in the political process without fear of retribution.”

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