By Onome Prosper
A one day seminar / sensitization programme tagged; “The true face of democracy and grassroots mobilization” put together by Advance Guard for Grassroots Democracy, has ended in Asaba, the Delta State capital with a call on the youths to rise up and demand accountability from political office holders.
The guest lecturer at the event which drawn participants across the Asaba and beyond, Barr. Philip Nwokolo, regretted that Nigeria democracy excludes proper grassroots participation, making it impossible for the citizens to feel the impact of democracy.
He argued that a practicing democracy in the strict meaning of it, must be grassroots based, so as every segments can be mobilised for democratic process, adding that the reverse was the case in Nigeria, as majority of Nigerians, are often not involved in the selection of their leaders.
Barr. Nwokolo noted that the situation was worst with party politics, as party primaries of most political parties are so magical that even crowds assembled at the venues in the of delegates are mere spectators without any direct involvement on who emerges the party’s flag bearer.
“It is my humble submission that grassroots mobilization has never been devoid of ulterior motives. The mobilization of grassroots will continue to be for the gain of the forefront, unless the grassroots demands that the right thing be done by returning power to the people.” Nwokolo added.
He however, advised the youths to demand that their votes must count, recall docile and under-performing legislators, vote out unwanted political office holders and mobilise support for any candidates of their choice irrespective of political parties.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Coordinator of the group, Advance Guard for Grassroots Democracy, Mr. Kennedy Odisi, said over the years democracy has been acknowledged as the best system of governance since it allows for equity among the people in the land but wondered if it was the case in Nigeria.
He pointed out that Advance Guard for Grassroots Democracy is an organised group of patriotic citizens with a common sets of objective to effect political changes in the Nigeria politics, by ensuring that tenements of democracy are upheld and its dividends delivered to the people.
The mission of the group, according to Odisi, are to promote quantitative and qualitative participation of the people in governance through grassroots mobilization and education, promote the consciousness of the people regarding their civic responsibilities and rights of the citizens, and to discourage youths restiveness, hooliganism, thuggery in the political system of the Nigeria.
“The time has come for the youths to be part of political processes, contributing and influencing government policies. We will be ready and prepare to fight for right course, we must fight for our rights.” He said.
Continuing; “ To young Nigerians, political power is never handed over as an inheritance. We must plot and seek it as an entitlement. Our forbearers in the first Republic did it to secure our freedom from the British. It is not a moral obligation to handover and or step aside, we have to go for or aggressively seek it with non violence. We need to urgently get a grasp of the situation and appreciate that it is our future that is at sake.”
Odisi maintained that; “Our desire and pursuit should be an urgent reworking of our faulty political mentality as well as party preference against credible candidates, instant gratification mentality which is fast becoming a native and developing the service and well being of citizens.”
While calling on the leaders at all level to be upright and sincere at all times, Odisi noted that Nigeria renaissance will take place only when forward thinking Nigerians most especially youths decide to act in determination to save the democratic tenets.