Shola Oyeyipo — A former Vice-President of the World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has again stressed the need for governments at all level to be accountable and transparent so as to strengthen the countries democratic process.
Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, said this in her lecture presented at the Open City Conference held in Port Harcourt.
She said: "Democracy is not complete until the citizens participate in the political activities of their nation in the way that they have credible voice to demand for accountability and good governance.
"The first is to understand what democracy is, the second is to understand the role of citizens in upholding a viable democracy. If citizens do not participate in democracy, then you consider that democracy as near enough a military government."
She also stressed the need to understand public policy.
She also expressed belief that Nigeria would overcome its challenges, saying: " You are going to be constrained by the failing Nigeria, you would be limited by a failing Nigeria until you understand that Nigeria's success is your success.
Addressing the forum which was largely attended by youths, she added: "You are the generation that is most interconnected. The idea of this conference, when you look at it in true ramification and dept of understanding, it's really about the interconnection, the integrated solutions that emerge as a result of the multi sectoral element that you find within a framework.
Ezekwesili was on Sunday attacked by the Federal Government over her allegation that the Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan's administrations squandered $67 billion in foreign reserves and from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) left behind by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
She had alleged that the squandering of $45 billion in foreign reserves and $22 billion in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the Yar'Adua-Jonathan administration was "the most egregious" instance of Nigeria's failure to make the right developmental choices
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been urged to come out clean to inform Nigerians about the true position of the country's $67 billion foreign reserve purported to have been squandered.
Making this call yesterday, Lagos-based constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje, described the claim by the government that Ezekwesili did not render account for N458 billion during her tenure as a "bare face rhetoric."
While noting that "the Federal Government is only putting up an unacceptable alibi and bare face rhetoric in other to distract and fool the nation" in the face of Ezekwesili's accusation, he advised that the "Federal Government should as a matter of urgency, tell Nigerians what happened to our $67bn foreign reserve without further rhetoric and delays.
He queried the rationale behind the FG's initial quietness over its allegation that Ezekwesili had not accounted for N458 billion, maintaining that it was simply an attempt to water-down the weighty allegation of corruption levelled against the government.