Political leaders in Lagos state must ensure that the democratic space in the state does not get clogged in order to avoid a regression into oligarchy, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Adigun Agbaje, has warned.
Agbaje, a professor of Political Science gave the remarks during a lecture as part of programmes lined up for the inauguration of the second term in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
The lecture was titled, ‘The Making of a Beacon: Lagos and the Consolidation of a Democracy that Works for all.”
The University don noted that Governor Sanwo-Olu, in line with precedent, had carefully crafted a knowledge-based, inclusive pathway to renewal and consolidation. He said that Lagos had been blessed by a happy coincidence over the decades of technocrats and astute politicians in governance.
He added the state must be pointed more in the direction of greater and wider inclusion, in the understanding that a democracy that works for all is not only desirable as a means to an end and an end in itself.
The professor said: “I propose, not because I stand before the people and government of Lagos today, that Lagos belongs to the few marching positively toward democratic renewal and, therefore, raising possibilities for even more meaningful development, peace and equity.
“At the same time, I want to quickly warn that given that democracy is a fragile process often prone to decline and even reversal, leaders of thought and of governance, along with members of the political elite, must consciously work to ensure that the democratic space in the state does not get so clogged as to witness a regression into oligarchy.
“For, experiences globally have shown that he longer-term interests of those that rule, and those they rule over, are better served when power remains democratic, rather than when it is undemocratically concentrated in the hands of a few. Democratic achievements must continue to be nurtured, otherwise they may falter and wither away”.
The University don said the wave of transformational and change recorded in Lagos over the past two decades exemplified how the business of governance should be conducted in a wider Nigerian context.
Sanwo-Olu, who shared the lecturer’s view, said Lagos bore the beacon of hope for the country, given the pace-setting feats recorded in the state under successive administrations.
The Governor maintained that the State’s transformation in the realm of politics and economy continued to present great prospects for Nigeria’s developing democracy, stressing that the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president signalled a new era of purposeful leadership and governance for the country.