Former President Goodluck Jonathan says African countries must deliberately foster a culture of inclusion.
He advised them to have the same concern for enthroning equal rights and justice on the continent.
Jonathan said so on Thursday during a keynote speech titled “Building an Inclusive Society for the Next Generation” in Abuja.
He delivered the speech at the year one memorial and launch of the Innocent Chukwuemeka Chukwuma Empowerment Foundation (ICCEF).
Jonathan said democracy is a political philosophy that provides the broadest platform for inclusive participation.
According to him, it is rooted in the essential virtue of human freedom which encompasses political, economic and social rights.
He said these rights were the premise behind democracy’s promise of peace, equality and justice, as well as its ability to improve the well-being and social status of citizens.
Jonathan said democracy makes sense when citizens are happy and free from political and social threats such as hunger, poverty, discrimination and persecution.
“It is undeniable that the satisfaction of basic human needs and the realization of democratic promises of peace and security and the fulfillment of human rights are the basic foundation on which democracy thrives.
“One of the main ingredients in building an inclusive society is to ensure that we strengthen our institutions and deliberately enforce economic rights in ways that guarantee peace and social security for citizens.
“Empowering citizens in this way will raise an army of conscientious, patriotic, and active citizens who can overcome the temptation of vote-trading and other corrupt practices in our electoral system.
“Therefore, we must adopt measures that completely eliminate the ugly incidence of commodities from the electoral process,” he said.
To achieve this in a sustainable way, Jonathan said a strong social contract between the government and the governed must be established.
It is a means of guaranteeing the fundamental social and economic rights of a dignified existence, such as health, education, housing and transport.
He also said that it was necessary to build institutions accountable to the people; also allowing people to add measurable value to society.
Jonathan said people should be able to derive their strength and growth from the value they help create.
The former president said the 21st century brings unprecedented opportunities and threats to inclusive development.
He said the key to being able to maximize opportunities and mitigate threats is empowered citizenship.
The former president said empowering citizens in a sustainable way means equipping them with the skills to be relevant in today’s world.
Jonathan said there was also a need to run the company for the next generation, from home.
He said any governance structure or leadership model that does not integrate the management of the society to protect the interests of the future generation will lead the society to a dead end.
On politics and nation building, Jonathan said Africans need to change their political behavior and culture.
He said that the type of politics practiced in most African countries was such that it would not contribute to further growth and development.
The former president advised Nigerian politicians and leaders in general to act in a way that inspires hope and patriotism in the country.
Jonathan also advised them to encourage the younger generation to believe in the Nigerian project and put the country first in everything they do.
“We must behave in a way that encourages young people and children to trust their leaders and believe that Nigeria belongs to them.
In this way, they will consolidate their participation in their country, believing that their country will protect them as a father in the family unit will protect the interest of his children.
“There must be a plan and deliberate mentoring programs that ensure the transition of power and values from one generation to the next.”
He said a society that cannot meet the basic needs of its citizens could hardly inspire them with the kind of patriotism and zeal that would motivate people to invest every ounce of their energy in building their nation.
Jonathan congratulated the event organizers for this commendable initiative.
He described Chukwuma as a great man, a compatriot who has served Nigeria, Africa and all humanity with unremitting passion and commitment.
Jonathan said Chukwuma has dedicated more than three decades of his life to causes that promote social justice, security, democracy, good governance and the general good of humanity.
“Whether as a human rights activist, social critic or executive, Innocent has remained true to his credo.
“It was a passion for justice, transparency and peace as the defining elements of a good society.
“These are the virtues he continued to show and exemplify in his daily life.
“I am pleased that CCEF is launching today to advance its vision of a just and inclusive society where citizens, especially youth and women, can prosper economically and politically, without hindrances or obstacles. »