Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the current spate where civil governments are being overthrown across the African continent shows that democracy needs to be ”rejigged” and put in a proper direction.
Jonathan made this known during a Democracy Dialogue 2023 organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) with theme: “Breaking New Grounds In The Democracy Development Nexus in Africa” in Yenagoa.
The former Nigerian leader expressed worry that in recent years, democracy in Africa continent has caused serious crisis, including the challenges of poverty and unemployment, which he said has created a crisis of trust in the hearts of the citizens.
”Leadership is supposed to work to ensure that democracy is translated to economic well-being, explaining that democracy should be able to encourage development.
”Recently, we have experienced jubilations heralding the overthrown of civilian administrations in Africa, people jubilating military overthrowing civil administrations, such victory songs will not last long, but it shows thar Africa needs to rejig her democracy.
“In recent years, democracy in the continent has caused serious crisis, the challenges of poverty and unemployment has created a crisis of trust in the hearts of of our citizens.
“As leaders, we have the responsibilities to ensure that democracy endures by adhering to the the rules of law, respecting the rights of the people, strengthening public institutions, ensuring that we implement policies that will impact positively on the lives of our people,” he said.
Jonathan said that the annual democracy dialogue is an initiative of the GJF which brings together stakeholders across Africa to critically examine the issue of democracy, interrogate the practice in Africa, and make suggestions where necessary.
He said: ”that is why we selected people from across Africa that have experience on such issues, the dialogue does not target any nation, the focus is to mobilize effective communication to remind and set agenda for the political development of the continent.
“I must sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm of the people of Bayelsa and other Nigerians for their contributions for the success of this event.
”Your presence is the demonstration of your faith in our democracy and your determination to make contribution to proffer workable solution to the challenges of leadership in African continent,” he said.
Also speaking, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse who was the royal father of the day during the dialogue, urged those who ”carry symbols of authority, be it crown or constitutional seal to always carry the people they govern along in their actions and policies”.
Prof Patrick Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (June–September 1960) delivered an address on the topic: “Making Democracy Work in Africa”, while other prominent African leaders, including Dr Omar Alieu Touray, President of ECOWAS Commission will also speak during the panel discussion.
It was reported that Africa has experienced seven coups since August 2020.
These are in Niger, on July 26, the military announced that they had overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum. General Abdourahamane Tiani becomes the new strongman of the country and on Aug. 30 a coup d’état occurred in Gabon shortly after the announcement that incumbent president Ali Bongo had won the general election held on Aug. 26.
Others are Burkina Faso: President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was ousted from power by the military on Jan. 24, 2022 and in Sudan on Oct. 25, 2021, Guinea on Sept. 5, 2021 and Mali: two coups in nine months.
On Aug. 18, 2020, President Ibrahim Keïta was overthrown by the military, a transitional government was formed in October.