A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’ abba, on Thursday urged African countries to enact laws that will ensure smooth transfer of power from one elected president to another.
Mr. Na’ abba made this call at the 2017 Nelson Mandela International Roundtable on Political Development in Africa which held at the Ladi Kwali hall of the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja.
The event themed “African Democracy: Presidential Emergence Pattern, Political Conflicts and Peace Building Options”, was organised by the Save Democracy Group, a non-partisan organisation.
The former speaker said such laws would dispel fears of uncertainty by incumbents that make them cling to power when it is clear that they had lost the trust of their people.
“Our continuous dialogue and advocacy shall help to raise the awareness and commitment of our current leaders to smoothly and orderly transmit power when their time is up,” Mr. Na’abba said.
He said the law would also improve governance and provide opportunities for the youth, women and the physically challenged.
He lamented that most African leaders use the instrument of state powers to distort democracy.
“They amend the constitution, suppress opposition and trample on the human rights of their citizens to remain in power long after their original tenures have ended.
“Others who managed to give out power, do so to some hand-picked cronies including their family members under a guided kind of democracy where the will of the people are not allowed to be willingly expressed.
“This has resulted in unmitigated corruption and continued underdevelopment of Africa and it’s people.
“The result is continued poverty, unemployment and misery and in some cases avoidable conflicts, civil wars, internal displacement of people and refugee problems,” he added.
Contributing at the event, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, urged leaders in Africa to emulate the achievements of Nelson Mandela.
He described Mr. Mandela as a leader who distinguished himself by demonstrating humility and tolerance irrespective of tribe, religion or language.
“Not only that he was humble, he showed love for humanity and as a principled person he ensured there was equity and fairness,’’ Mr. Mnguni said.
Speaking on behalf of the organizers, the Director-General of Save Democracy Group, Ifedi Okwenna, said the event was instituted to propagate the ideals and values which Mr. Mandela lived for and represented.
Mr. Okwenna added that it was also designed to stimulate the political class in Africa to change their concept and perception of leadership.