Imo Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, has called for constructive engagement and dialogue among all stakeholders in the state, saying it is only through it that all state and national issues can be amicably resolved.
Uzodinma made the call in his Democracy Day broadcast to the people of the state on Saturday evening, June 12, in Owerri.
He said that Nigeria’s independence was achieved through constructive engagements with the colonial masters, not through violence.
“The G34 gladiators that fought in the 1990s for the restoration of democracy during the military era achieved the goal through constructive engagements and dialogues.
“Our own generation can also achieve greater things through the same method, because no issue, no matter how intractable it may appear; is ever too difficult to resolve through constructive engagement and dialogue,” he said.
Uzodinma said that one major attribute of democracy that had, for centuries, made it the best form of government was that it provided the political space to resolve seemingly intractable socio-political and ethnic issues through robust dialogue, without recourse to violence.
He said that was what had sustained Western democracies for centuries; and also availed them the space to run accountable governments which guaranteed development.
“This is why this year’s Democracy Day is quite significant; because it is coming in the midst of security challenges; both in our state and the nation at large.
“It is significant because, despite the crisis, democracy remains resilient. Its strength remains unshaken; because it absorbs all manner of shock and yet stands the test of time.
“It provides us the opportunity to make our choices freely and peacefully. It enables us to ventilate our ideas constructively; irrespective of who or what we are.
“This explains why those under democratic government must work hard to preserve and sustain it,” he said.
According to the governor, one of the tenets of democracy is tolerance; that is, the ability to yield space for others to express their views without suppression.
“When we insist on having our way by brute force; we seek to return to the ancient state of nature where might was right.
“When we seek to force our ideas, no matter how beautiful we think they are; down the throats of others through the barrels of the gun; we are inviting anarchy, which is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
“None of these situations can bring forth development; which is the first fruit of democracy,” he said.