By LOD Onyeji
In a thought-provoking conference held in London recently, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), emphasized the criticality of strictly adhering to Nigeria’s constitution in the process of electing a president. Addressing the audience at the event organized by the Coalition of Nigerians living in the United Kingdom, with the theme “Nigeria on Trial: Does Democracy Matter?,” Datti Baba-Ahmed asserted that democracy’s true essence lies in its accurate implementation, and without scrupulous adherence to the constitution, true democracy cannot prevail.
As a firm believer in the democratic system, Datti Baba-Ahmed expressed his disapproval of any form of dictatorship, stressing the significance of practicing democracy effectively. He highlighted that democracy is not a mere arbitrary act of governance but rather a set of principles enshrined within the constitution. Datti Baba-Ahmed passionately emphasized the indispensable role of the constitution as the bedrock of democracy, which ensures the existence of vital institutions such as the judiciary, armed forces, police, and National Assembly.
“Democracy belongs to the people who can practice it, and the dividends of democracy belong to those who can extract them,” stated Datti Baba-Ahmed, underscoring the responsibility of the people in upholding democracy. He acknowledged the importance of struggling to preserve and promote democracy, as it is a fundamental aspect of a healthy society. In his remarks, he made a conscious effort to speak in general terms to avoid potential misinterpretations or baseless allegations.
With Nigeria’s Constitution as his primary reference point, Datti Baba-Ahmed drew attention to the distinction between the constitution and the Electoral Act. His focus centered on the profound significance of “We, the people” and the supremacy of the constitution. By highlighting these core principles, he aimed to encourage a renewed commitment to the democratic ideals that guide the nation.
Datti Baba-Ahmed’s message resonates deeply with the ongoing discourse on Nigeria’s democratic processes. His emphasis on constitutional adherence serves as a reminder that true democracy thrives when the voices of the people are heard and respected, and when the institutions responsible for upholding the constitution fulfill their roles with integrity. As Nigeria navigates the complexities of governance, his words serve as a call to action for both citizens and leaders to ensure that the constitution remains the cornerstone of a thriving democracy.