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Poverty a threat to democracy, IPAC tells govs forum

The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to be active in tackling poverty, saying democracy and good governance cannot…

The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to be active in tackling poverty, saying democracy and good governance cannot be guaranteed where there is prevalence of poverty.

The IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yusuf Sani Yabagi, made the call on Thursday in Abuja during the council’s courtesy visit to the NGF.

According to him, global thrust in democracy transcends the rituals of elections through the ballot box, the observance of the rule of law and fundamental human rights.

“There can be no guarantee for the survival of any system of government by whatever name, if the system is not constructed on the foundation of security of lives and property where poverty is prevalent,” Yabagi said.

He said even as Nigeria has come on the road of democracy for an unprecedented period of 23 years, all hands must be on deck, as politicians should not rest on their oars by taking it for granted that they have crossed the ‘Jordan River’ and cannot go back to the old road they traversed.

He said, “Vigilance and relentless efforts must be continuously exerted by the present generation of Nigerians who have a generational responsibility of being pioneers and builders of democracy.

“We have seen the provision of infrastructure and creation of institutions and programmes even in the face of lean resources. These commendable efforts and the outstanding landmarks must have been informed by the consciousness that, to grow and deepen the practice of democracy, consistent efforts must be made to drive the levers of governments in the direction of attaining practical impact on the lives of the electorate.”

Speaking on establishing a continent-wide democracy institute under the name, the African Democratic Institute in Abuja, the IPAC chairman said the proposed institute is intended to attract scholars, researchers, politicians and workers in democracy-related institutions and agencies.

Responding, the chairman of the NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, said “We are not driven by the agenda of any political party, but we are driven more by the interest of the State that we govern and our interests as association of Governors.

“Receiving IPAC falls within that purview of our organisation, the NGF. I am happy you are interested in using IPAC as a vehicle for institutional deepening of our Democratic project.

“You talked about establishing an Institute in Abuja for training, research, for promoting the values of democracy in Nigeria. Even though we have not done any work on political parties training or party development, but listening to you, I don’t think we are averse to supporting such initiatives, as long as it is not one sided, or driven by any political agenda.

“If it is broadly speaking, focusing on deepening the Democratic project, stemming the reversal that we have seen in some countries, particularly in our sub-region. We will do all we can do to ensure that democracy thrives in our climes, we must do all we can in that respect, to promote Electoral integrity, to also ensure that governments deliver in its promises to Nigerians, and these are principles that I think you had espoused.

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