Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said that the South West regional security outfit Amotekun is a logical end product of President Muhammadu Buhari's vision of community policing.
Fayemi, who is the chairman of Nigeria's Governors Forum and one of the Speakers at the 17th Daily Trust dialogue, said Amotekun was far from being a competitor to the existing national security platforms, but meant to complement them in the areas of neighbourhood watch, intelligence gathering, detection of early warning signs and early response in a proactive manner.
He also noted that the conventional security outfits not only knew, but also collaborated with the South West governors in the process of creating it.
Governor Fayemi said there was need to appreciate the "multifaceted, multi-layered and multidimensional approaches to the national policing and maintenance of law and order."
He also said that the Amotekun model is open to public scrutiny.
"There are possibilities and opportunities in the security outfit," he said. He also called for a democratization of economic opportunities stating that democratic space must be more open, more inclusive and more responsive, adding that the federal system must not be overburdened.
"There is no question that democracy must deliver concrete development, qualitative and quantitative for proper economic policy which embodies the hopes and aspiration of the people that can only be forged in the face of a widening economic space," he said.
Insecurity, others, a threat to democratic politics - Malam Yusuf
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Media Trust Limited, Publisher of the Daily Trust titles, Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf, said yesterday that it is worth celebration that Nigeria has "put behind twenty years of unbroken democracy."
He made this known while welcoming guests to the 17th edition of the Daily Trust annual dialogue.
Malam Yusuf juxtaposed recent comments by former President Ibrahim Babangida and Professor Wole Soyinka on the state of the nation and the crisis over the legality of Amotekun as a pointer to some of the issues that characterized Nigeria's democracy.
The chairman said Babangida's reading of the "national mood" sharply differed from that of Professor Soyinka who said that the "fragile state of the polity today was similar to that of the mid-1960s just before the civil war."
On the issue of regional security outfit, he said the South West's Amotekun saga and the South East's response to overhaul its security architectures were both politically motivated.
"After some dithering, the federal government has declared Amotekun, and by implication all other nascent regional security organizations as illegal. But we all know this is not about law, but about politics. The region hit most by kidnappings and armed banditry is the North West," he said.
According to him, "Despite repeated assurances by the Inspector-General of Police and the governor of Kaduna state, most of us here know better than to take the short drive between Abuja and Kaduna, the major Northern highway.
"In Katsina, where President Buhari comes from, thousands of people have abandoned their villages for IDP camps, while the state government negotiates with the bandits for some sort of ceasefire," he said.
Expressing concern over the current state of things in the country, he asked: "Are we celebrating twenty years of democracy, or are we witnessing the beginning of another slow dance of death?"
Everyone should work for democracy - INEC
Also speaking at the Daily Trust dialogue yesterday, a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Hajiya Amina Zakari, said legal processes are not enough in shaping Nigeria democracy.
She said without the support of all stakeholders and contributions from people, "we cannot have a robust democracy."
According to her, "We need to congratulate ourselves for taking this journey and eventually arriving where we are today- 20 years of democracy against all odds.
"INEC has improved over the years especially the legal framework which has through the years built on improving the electoral processes," she said.
She appealed to the people to support INEC to improve the electoral process. "We need to encourage people to improve democracy and educate people to deepen our democracy," she said.
Ideology key to supporting democracy - Ikpeazu
Nigeria needs democratic system, political party ideology and strong citizen participation to support democratic governance, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, said yesterday.
Ikpeazu, who also spoke at the event, said a major weakness of Nigeria's democracy in the last two decades remained the absence of a democratic system.
"What we have in Nigeria now is a democratic government. Do we have a democratic system to support it? My opinion is that we don't," she said.
She said citizens were not aware of their rights and since Nigeria is not a jungle, citizens should know and protect their rights. To strengthen democracy, the lawmaker made a case for a strong civil service system to support democratic governance, ramping up the fight against graft, stopping selecting adherence to the rule of law by the executive and increasing the number of women participation in both elective and appointive positions.
"The last two decades of democratic rule have seen fluctuating numbers of women in both elective and appointive positions. Democracy should be about equitable representation for all interest groups in society. However, we have struggled as a country to achieve this," she said.
Ikpeazu also identified the absence of political party ideologies as a key weakness of the democracy in Nigeria.
A mild drama played out at this point as Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disagreed over her position on the absence of political party ideologies in Nigeria.
Governor Kayode shook his head and protested from the crowd when she said, "If I were to ask my brother, the Governor of Ekiti State about the ideology of APC, I am sure his ideology will be different from the next person."
As Governor Kayode shook his head and said his ideology was the same as other APC members, Ikpeazu insisted, "No, it is not. It is not. Forget about that. It is not. That's the truth. We should not be partisan; our problem in Nigeria is that we tend to be partisan and once we are partisan, definitely it clouds and determines how we act."
True federalism key to peace in Nigeria - Attah
In his contribution, former Akwa Ibom State Obong Victor Attah observed that Nigeria is not operating the appropriate political system needed to make things work.
Attah who called for good dialogue and true federalism said there is a need to change from presidential to parliamentary system in Nigeria.
He said parliamentary system has checks and balances that would wipe out most of the challenges affecting the democratic system.
"We also see a situation where our potentials are not realized because rather than create unity, we make uniformity. Unity does not necessarily mean uniformity and that is why I agree with the idea of APC giving this country a new vest by restructuring the polity. If we do that, we will see a situation in which everybody develops to their fullest potentials," he said.