Book on promoting African democracy unveiled in Abuja

A book written in order to advance the course of Africa and to ensure its development, titled: ‘Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage’, co-authored by Dr. Greg Mills, former President Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst, and Tandai Biti, was unveiled in Abuja.

Our correspondent observed that the 266-page book which is segmented into three parts and foreword by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberia President, discusses, on part one, the possible virtues of a democratic rule by reviewing cases where attention to popular preferences in the establishment of countervailing institutions have allowed for constructive economic policy development.

Part two analyses the challenges to constructing African democracy in different transitional circumstances. And part three examines how elections can be made more free and fair.”

While unveiling the book, former President Olusegun Obasanjo called on African governments to make their citizens feel the impact of democracy through safeguarding their rights to education, to health, to financial inclusion, even to the stability of jobs.

Obasanjo stated this during the public presentation of a book titled: ‘Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage’, co-authored by Dr. Greg Mills, former President Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst, and Tandai Biti, with a foreword by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberia President.

He noted that democracies don’t have to be western-oriented before people begin to feel the results of having a sustained system of government.

According to him, no two-countries practice the same kind of democracy but there are some tenets that have to be present to ensure that the people enjoy the dividend that comes along with the system.

He said: “There are no two countries where the democratic systems is identically the same and you find anomalies in some of these democratic practices and systems, but there must always be the dividend of democracy for all the citizens of the country. Everybody must feel that they have something in it for them irrespective of their position, political affiliation, tribes, religious or social base.”

Also speaking, the co-author, Greg Mills, who is also the founder of Brenthurst Foundation, stressed that elections alone are not the universal panacea to societies’ ills.

According to him, many conditions must be met for a country to be truly free, including strong democratic institutions, good governance, the fight against corruption and strong political opposition.

He noted that opposition parties “need to have their own narrative”, and offer real alternatives for people to have a reason to vote for them.

Mills also said that outside electoral observers needed to expand their brief, adding that observing the voting process itself is not enough.

“The whole process of organizing and financing elections should be observed closely to make it as transparent as possible, and the same applies to the aftermath of any poll,” he added.

In his remark, former Nigerian Ambassador to Scandinavian countries, Godknows Igali, stressed that governments needed to make sure that people get more included “as we proceed with the democratic experiment. Anytime people feel excluded, there is a threat to the survival of democracy and this is why we need to pay attention to their needs.”

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