Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has urged Nigerians not to lose hope in democracy, in spite of poor quality leadership and dwindling fortunes that have continued to plague the country since 1999.
Bello, who made the admonition in a statement issued in Lokoja on Tuesday to commemorate 2018 Democracy Day, said that Nigerians should instead be proud of sustaining democracy for this long in the face of numerous challenges.
The statement signed by Kingsley Fanwo, Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor, admitted that the quality of leadership and the nation’s fortunes between 1999 and now should definitely have been better than what it is presently.
Bello commended Nigerians for their resilience which he said had helped in derailing crafty schemes of the oppositions, charging them to continue to remain the true heroes of democracy.
He said: “Nigerians should nevertheless be proud that the country continues to extend her longest period of multi-party democracy since independence.”
He expressed delight over successful transitions at all levels of government since 1999, saying this had gone a long way to deepen democracy in the country.
According to him, Democracy Day 2018 must be seen as a reminder that democracy is work in progress and much work are still required to take democracy to the next level.
Due to inherited challenges from previous administrations, Bello said that the last three years under President Muhammadu Buhari had been the most challenging and at the sametime the most rewarding for Nigeria.
In Kogi State, the governor said his intention to fix the civil service and enthrone a better pension administration would have been quicker and less painful if he had inherited structures from previous administrations.
He said: “Those states in the federation, which had seen incremental development during the Fourth Republic were those where visionary administrators worked hard to lay enduring foundations for their successors to build upon.”
He, however, reiterated his commitment to better the lots of the people by continuing to focus more on security of lives and property, education, health, massive infrastructure, agriculture, women and youth empowerment.