Int’l Day of Democracy: Obaseki tasks electoral bodies, others on popular participation

0

…says people’s wellbeing is sacrosanct in democracy

Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has challenged electoral bodies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in election management to come up with innovations that would enable more people to participate in elections.

Obaseki gave the challenge in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy marked by the United Nations and its organs on September 15, each year.

According to the governor, “Democracy remains a very popular form of government across the world due largely to its people-centred nature and its ability to distribute resources among the electorates.”

He explained that “the wellbeing of the electorates must remain sacrosanct” and urged “advocates of democracy to continue to insist on producing greater good for majority of the people, as envisioned by the thinkers who birthed the government form.”

Obaseki further said that “yet another ingredient of democracy is the high premium placed on the Rule of Law.”

He argued that “the resulting conflicts in any true democracy must be resolved with the instrumentality of the law, which everyone must respect, irrespective of class, status or influence.”

He described the theme of the 2019 edition of the International Day of Democracy: “Participation,” as apt, given the myriad of issues that exclude millions of people from participating in democratic processes.

“We must support our electoral bodies to come up innovations that will increase the number of participants in elections. The process must be seen to be attractive, transparent and credible with acceptable outcomes,” Obaseki said.

The United Nations noted that “International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to urge all governments to respect their citizens’ right to active, substantive and meaningful participation in democracy.”

The global body added that “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses democracy in Sustainable Development Goal 16 recognising the indivisible links between peaceful societies and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.

“This year’s International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to recall that democracy is about people. Democracy is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation — and it is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development and human rights.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ‘the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government’ (article 21.3), has inspired constitution-making around the world and contributed to global acceptance of democratic values and principles. Democracy, in turn, provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realisation of human rights.”

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in his note on the celebration said: “As we mark Democracy Day, I urge all governments to respect the right to active, substantive and meaningful participation; and I salute all of you who strive tirelessly to make this happen.”