The solution to bad governance is more democracy – Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday said through bitter experiences, Nigeria has learned that the solution to poor democratic governance is to have more democracy.

Speaking at the State of Democracy in Africa Summit in Abuja, he called for the revitalization of sub-regional blocs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The President also called for the strengthening of regional economic communities to boost integration and trade relations among African countries to deepen democracy and accelerate development across the continent.

He said the revitalization of the sub-regional blocs will serve as a vehicle to usher in an era of robust intra-African trade, economic growth and job creation.

The President, who was represented at the meeting by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said: “The immense potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can only be fully realized if there is concrete economic integration and cooperation at the various sub-regional levels. ”

During his keynote address, President Tinubu urged regional bodies to prioritize minimizing trade barriers, promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, human capital development and value addition in agriculture and agro-allied sectors .

“We must deliberate on ways in which African sub-regional organizations can help promote better intra-African trade, achieve better food and energy security, promote higher youth employment, alleviate poverty and achieve greater prosperity for our people realize,” the president said. .

President Tinubu noted that revitalized sub-regional cooperation is critical to the successful implementation of the landmark AfCFTA by harmonizing rules and regulations to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people.

While acknowledging “despair over democratic reversals” following recent military coups, he expressed optimism about successful elections in countries such as Liberia, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

He said: “The tragedies of our nations and history inspire our concern about the reversals of democratic governments, especially in West Africa. That is why we are alarmed by the military coups in Mali, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Niger and Gabon.”

The president, however, advocated discussions on empowering regional blocs to establish well-funded military forces “to contain military adventurers and the raging waves of terrorism and religious extremism.”

President Tinubu urged African leaders to respect constitutional principles such as term limits and ensure credible elections and autonomous institutions through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to achieve democratic consolidation.

“This summit should discuss ways to make the APRM contribute to achieving good governance and democratic consolidation on the continent,” he stated.

President Tinubu declared that Africa can no longer be the “doormat of the world with street beggar economies” and called for concrete action through reinvented regional bodies to boost trade, enhance security and anchor constitutional democracy for development and prosperity.

Earlier in his keynote remarks, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said the answer to the myriad challenges facing democracy in Africa lies in re-examining the model of democracy given to the countries by their colonial masters has been passed on on the continent.

He said leaders across the continent must come together to devise a form of contextual democracy that takes into account past experiences, addresses contemporary challenges and emphasizes good leadership, strong institutions and a stable middle class, all of which reflect Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

The former president, who expressed concern over growing dissatisfaction with democracy on the continent, opined that the model that will work for Africa is one that takes into account the typical and predominant political system, and is “appropriately positioned to to serve the objectives of the African Union. African people”.

In her goodwill message, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Chairperson of the SDGs, Dr. Amina Mohammed, said the active participation of women and youth in politics and other decision-making processes will strengthen democracy on the continent.

She drew the attention of authorities on the continent to the effective implementation of laws, adherence to the principles of accountability and improved investments in democratic institutions, noting that these are critical to sustaining democracy in Africa and beyond.

On his part, the former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association and Member of the Board of Directors, Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said the focus of the summit is “the state of democracy in Africa” . , aligns with the cornerstone of the Foundation’s mission and vision.

He said the summit participants are expected to deeply interrogate the model of democracy practiced in Africa in light of the current challenges on the continent, to resolve the lingering issues and reshape democracy on the continent to give.