By Appolos Christian
A retired US diplomat and former Counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Nigeria, Chief (Dr.) Atim Eneida George, has enjoined Nigerians to play active role in the governance of the country.
She made this call during the first quarterly seminar series for year 2020 organised by Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Ilorin, in conjunction with the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Nigeria on the theme: “Civil Rights, Citizens’ Participation and Democratic Considerations: A Focus on Elections and Voting Rights.”
Dr George reminded the participants at the seminar that governance is much too important to be left solely to government and charged them to get involved in the governance of the country.
She noted that the votes of the electorates constitute the key to the treasure house of the masses and then emphasised on the need for citizens to participate fully in the election process.
While urging the Nigerians to rise and hold their leaders accountable, Dr George charged leaders in various positions of authority in the country to remember that they are representing the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and appealed to them to try and make the country work.
In her words, “There is no such thing like the ordinary Nigerian. Nigerians are extraordinary people and deserve a government that is no less extraordinary in delivering the quality services that you need and should be demanded.”
Earlier in a welcome address, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Alhaji Ishaq Alabi, said the theme of the seminar was chosen to reflect Nigerian’s evolution with respect to civilian rule and the special features of the current democratic experience.
Alhaji Alabi said the event is more significant now that the latter reality is being highlighted in the context of Black history month in the United States and reiterated the Institute’s commitment to providing opportunity for public debates and encouraging platforms for Citizen’s contribution to nation building through dialogue and exchange, in addition to its more familiar activities in the areas of research, training, publication, education and consultancy.
The Director-General noted that the event was designed to highlight the relevance of citizens’ participation towards deepening democracy as well as aiding social transformation in Nigeria.
In his contribution, the Director, Trade Union Education Department of the Institute, Dr Fatai Babatunde Onaeko, said that promoting the economic rights of the citizens is key to the advancement of democracy in Nigeria.
He noted that stamping out electoral violence and corruption, effective deployment of modern technology during elections as well as independent judiciary are very necessary for the restoration of the masses’ confidence in the Nigerian electoral processes.