Make Democracy Your Culture, Fayemi Tells Nigerians

Kayode Fayemi

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called on the Nigerian political elite to cultivate the habit of imbibing and internalising democracy as a culture or continue to incur the wrath of the people.

Highlighting areas that need urgent radical improvement in the country’s body politic, Fayemi said: “Until our democratisation process becomes an everyday culture, it would continue to be met with a harsh disposition among the people generally.”

Looking back, he observed that the political elite democratised poverty instead of democratising hope in the country.

The governor was a guest speaker at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos in Plateau State last Tuesday. The occasion was the 2019 Lecture of Executive Course 41. The chairman of the NGF was invited to speak on ‘Twenty Years of Democracy: Looking backward, moving forward’.

Fayemi, who noted that although there was cause to assess our democracy with some trepidation and anxiety because the journey has exerted sweat and blood from all Nigerians, a lot more needed to be done moving forward, insisting that “because it is still an unfinished job.”

On what he intends to leave behind as his legacy after his term as the chairman of the NGF, the governor of Ekiti State bared out his mind on two of his most passionate subjects, mentioning the rebranding of governors’ image before the Nigerian population on the one hand, and decried the low enrollment in schools nationwide both of which he promised to work hard to mitigate.

He underscored the important role that education plays in the future of the country.

Fayemi just handed back Christ’s School to its original owner, the Anglican Church, in Ekiti State. He also touched on security, explaining that it’s not just the elite that should carry the guilt for insecurity in the country alone, but all Nigerians, because “culpability comes from both sides.”

The participants had put Kayode’s foot on fire (figuratively) with their engaging questions, delving into how governors see themselves; why successive governments jettison or totally discard their predecessors’ programmes and why policies are not institutionalised.

Fayemi, while responding, said: “Institutionalisation is an elephant in the room because before now, our governments didn’t have long-term development plans.”

Fayemi goes ahead to challenge the Nigerian political elite to entrench rules along the sides of long-term development planning.

He, however, regretted that this is not likely to happen because the interests of the elite are consistently being mistaken for national interest.

“The system itself is rigged against institutionalisation,” Fayemi, said, as he further attributed the misnomer to the fact that many now see politics as their professions. “If you’re in politics and you have an alternative address, politics becomes easier,” he added.