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Africa Crisis: Jonathan, Touray Others Apt On Proffering Solutions. By Chris Mark

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African leaders in their separate speaches vowed to profer solutions to the enormous challenges and crisis confronting the continent.

The leaders converged in Yenagoa the Bayelsa state capital at this year’s Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Democracy Dialogue Series: “Breaking New Grounds in the Democracy Development Nexus in Africa,”

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Those present at the event are Former President of Nigeria Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Prof Patrick Lumumba, President of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr Omar Touray, Bayelsa state governor, Senator Douye Diri, the Olu of Warri,His Majesty Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse lll

Others are former president of Sierra Leone, Bai Koroma, former Vice President of the Gambia, Fatuomata Tambajang, Prof Ibaba Samuel Ibaba and Amb. Joe Keshi among others

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In his remarks, chairman and founder of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, said the GJF Annual Democracy Dialogue is an initiative that brings together stakeholders across Africa to examine issues of democracy and crisis in the continent towards proffering solutions.

According to Dr.Jonathan, “democracy in the continent had gone through a period of crisis that thrive by social tension,coup d’etat, insecurity and poor management of electoral process which in itself is a threat to our democracy in Africa.”

He pointed out that the theme of the dialogue underscored the fact that the people need to see democracy beyond elections and what happens after by the way of good governance.

Speaking earlier, Senator Douye Diri,said the introduction of armed non-state actors in political contests poses a greater threat to democracy than the military, noting that unless the people insist on building strong institutions capable of resisting the antics of strong men, more countries would be affected.

“The introduction of armed non-state actors in political contests poses a greater threat to our democracy than the military. And unless we insist on building strong institutions capable of resisting the antics of strong men, more and more countries will be infected.

“The antidote is the rise of accountable leaders, vibrant civil societies, and engaged citizenry who shape their own destinies and demand transparency, justice, and equal opportunities.”

The governor said the timing of the conference could not have come at a better time in view of what he described as “recent epidemic of military takeovers in the sub-region, which have woken us rudely from our sweet dreams that Africa has come a long way from an era marked by oppressive regimes and limited civic participation.”

Also speaking, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr Omar Touray, blamed the lack of development in Africa on weak institutions that have failed to hold leaders accountable.

In his keynote address, Prof Patrick Lumumba suggested that Africans should look inward to solve their problems, adding that the sit-tight African leaders were responsible for the frequent coups in the continent.

In his remarks, the Olu of Warri, His Majesty Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse III, noted that the interest of the people should be paramount in whatever system of government that is adopted, whether traditional or democracy.

In her goodwill message, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, called for strengthening of democratic institutions through inclusiveness of women, youths and the vulnerable in the society.

The panel discussants were former president of Sierra Leone, Bai Koroma, former Vice President of the Gambia, Fatuomata Tambajang, Prof Ibaba Samuel Ibaba and Amb. Joe Keshi among others

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