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Let Constitution Amendments Strengthen Democracy, Unite Nigeria, Oyo Governor Makinde Tells National Assembly

Oyo Governor Seyi Makinde has advocated for youth inclusion in shaping Nigeria’s future, says Nigerians should participate in governance.

Seyi Makinde

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday, charged members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, to recommend amendments that will strengthen the nation’s democracy and unite the country.

The governor, who gave this charge while playing host to the federal legislators at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office in Ibadan, added that Nigerians must be made to have confidence in the nation’s democracy and participate in it.

The committee was in Oyo State to consult with stakeholders on proposed constitution amendments.

While encouraging them to be open-minded about their task, Governor Makinde said, “I have seen people who were given the opportunity to change the trajectory of the nation but because of selfishness and personal interest they missed the road. Who knows who is going to be here tomorrow? Whatever you do, do it in the wider interest of the country; the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct. A united Nigeria is the route to go.”

He stressed that the committee’s task is big and foundational because participatory democracy means that the laws have to be reviewed regularly to meet the needs of the times.

He added that the nation has to ensure that the outcome of an election reflects substantially the wishes of the people so as to stop the tradition of litigation after every election cycle.

The governor said, “Why do people go to court after an election? It is because they feel cheated. If you open up the space and you have transparency, nobody will go to court.”

He added, “Now that our democracy seems to be holding, because since independence this is our longest democratic experience, it is our responsibility as leaders to deepen the democracy.”

He lauded the committee for taking time out to seek the views of young people and women, adding that youths must be encouraged to play pivotal roles in shaping the country’s future.

Makinde, who stated that young people would always have his support, noted that many of the nation’s pre-independence and First Republic leaders assumed positions of authority in their 40s.    

He assured the committee of the support of his administration to ensure its success, adding that the committee’s success would have an effect on the nation’s democratic experience.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Adebayo Balogun, lauded the governor for being a supporter of youths, adding that given the governor’s stance on youths, there was no better place to kick-start the committee’s consultation than Oyo State because of the committee’s interest in inclusion.

He said the Joint Committee is looking at coming up with a legislation that would ensure that all litigations are laid to rest before an elected person is sworn into office.

Speaking in a similar vein, Senator Sharafadeen Alli, Chairman, Senate Committee on Electoral Matters and leader of the delegation, said the Joint Committee would be in all the zones of the country to ensure that the views of Nigerians are captured in the amendments.

He also reiterated the plan of the committee to come up with legislation that would ensure the conclusion of all electoral disputes before the inauguration of elected officials.

The event had in attendance the Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin; the Secretary to Oyo State Government, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, the Head of Service, Mrs. Olubunmi Oni; the Deputy Chief of Staff to Oyo State Governor, Hon. Fola Oyekunle, commissioners and other top government functionaries.

Kemi Olaitan

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