Gowon: Democracy has Come to Stay in Nigeria

Yakubu Gowon

Alex Enumah in Abuja

A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), on Tuesday said with the successful conduct of the 2019 general election, there is no doubt that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria.

Gowon noted that the pocket of violence that characterised particularly the post election were a function of desperate politicians, who want to get power by all means.

He was speaking at a book launch in Abuja, titled, “Elections in Nigeria, the Long Road to Democracy”, written by Prof. Abdullahi Shehu.

According to the former Head of State, Nigerians in spite of the unfortunate delay in the presidential election, have shown that they are in love with democracy.

He said the election he monitored in Abuja was peaceful, even though he lamented post election violence in some parts of the country.

Gowon said Prof. Shehu’s book will not only promote peaceful coexistence in the country, but will also show how elections can be conducted peacefully in the country.

A senior fellow, Center for Democracy and Development, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, while reviewing the 318-page book, said the author chronicled democratic happenings in Nigeria up till January this year.

He said the six-chapter book captures the nature, success and failures of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, adding that former President Goodluck Jonathan prepared the ground for Buhari’s election victory in 2015.

He said: “Buhari didn’t need to do anything to win the election because of the magnitude of corruption and insecurity of former President Jonathan’s administration.”

On the other hand, Prof. Ibrahim in the book, also accused President Buhari of nepotism, adding that his administration also encountered difficulty in the economic transformation of the country.

He adviced Buhari to appoint people with competence to ensure performance and rapid growth of the country.

While pointing out that President Buhari’s fight against corruption was selective, the book mentioned that when the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, was accused of corruption, Buhari did not do anything but suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, over non-declaration of assets.

In his speech, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, said election is fundamental to democracy and good governance in the country.

While he refused to comment on the conduct of the just concluded presidential election on the grounds that the matter is already in court, Obasanjo however stressed that any election that is devoid of integrity cannot ensure democracy and good governance.

The author, Prof. Shehu, in his speech, said the thrust of the book is a comparative analysis of the APC’s “Next level” and the PDP’s “Lets get Nigeria working again”, adding that with the launch of the book, he has contributed in adding some values to the reservoir of democracy in Nigeria.