June 12: : Gov. Zulum's Statewide Address ‘Absence of governance in LGAs not acceptable’
Today June 12 is ‘Democracy Day’.
A day set aside by the Federal government symbolizing the turning point of the political struggle that entrenched democratic political governance in Nigeria after a long period of military rule. While we were reflecting on the dividends of the democratic political dispensation, the enemies of democracy were hatching evil machination to create havoc and horror amongst our peace loving communities in the state. The gruesome murder of over 50 innocent villagers in Gubio by the insurgents is quite barbaric, inhuman and retrogressive. These unwholesome acts by the insurgents will not deter us from our commitment to fight to finish all acts of terrorism in the state. We pray for all the souls of the departed and for the Almighty to give the families the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones.
Nigerians embraced democracy because it is a political system that preserves and promotes the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual. It fosters economic and social development and strengthens the societal cohesion and enhances national tranquillity. This is because democracy is founded on the primacy of the law and the exercise of human rights. In a democracy, no one is above the law and all are equal before the law. This shows the nexus between peace, development, respect for and observance of the rule of law and human rights. In battling to strengthen our nascent democracy challenges there must be. However, as we contend with such issues like that of security, we must put hope in the place of despair, bravery in place of cowardice, hard work in the place of indolence if we want to strengthen our democracy.
There is no gainsaying the fact that we have seen the dividends of democracy. We have made giant strides in major sectors- beefing up the security infrastructure, reconstruction and rehabilitation of destroyed schools, health and public facilities and provision of basic social amenities such water, electricity and roads. As we begin to celebrate our one year of governance, we will make vivid the achievements recorded so far.
Fellow compatriots, democracy is founded on the right of everyone to take part in the management of public affairs. It therefore requires the existence of representative institutions at all levels- the national, state and local government levels. Democratic institutions and processes must also foster decentralised local, State and national government and administration, which is a right and a necessity, and which makes it possible to broaden the base of public participation. The lack of formidable governance at the Local level is a matter of serious concern. I have personally gone round and found that civil authority at the level of the local Government is either completely absent or very weak. This does not augur well for democracy and development. Moreover, all our plans for resettlement of displaced communities will be hampered as a result of this unfortunate development.
This administration will not accept such a disposition and has taken measures to address such lapses squarely. We must build the institutional capacity of the local government areas to fast track grass-roots development and bring government closer to the people. This administration will ensure proper devolution of powers to the local government councils to be able to provide appropriate services and carry out development activities responsive to local wishes and to encourage participatory democracy at the local government level. This administration will ensure all Local Government Councils are headed by elected Chairmen and councils to engender democratic governance at that level.
Fellow Compatriots, we have of recent been battling with the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic and took the entire comity of nations unawares. The fight against the global pandemic made open the inadequate health capacity of all nations. The complete lockdown strategy devastated the entire world economy. As oil dependent nation, Nigeria’s economy suffered greatly. This invariably affected our allocation from the federation accounts with negative impact on development. During the tiring period, we mobilize resources and support to provide for the palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
We sincerely appreciate the understanding and resilience of our good people as we gradually navigate out of both the security and COVID-19 challenges before us. Let us pray assiduously to the Almighty for the protection and safeguard against all anti-democratic forces threatening the peace and security of our state and nation.
I wish us all a happy DEMOCRACY DAY.
BEING A TEXT OF STATEWIDE ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR BABAGANA UMARA ZULUM, GOVERNOR OF BORNO STATE TO COMMEMORATE THE DEMOCRACY DAY.