US crisis: Jonathan, others say character key to successful democracy

Published January 8, 2021

John Alechenu , Abuja
FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan and the ex -National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun, as well as elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, have said character is required for democracy to flourish across the world .
The elder statesmen spoke separately in Abuja on Thursday .
They spoke in response to the attack on America ’s Capitol Hill by supporters of the outgoing President , Donald Trump , on Wednesday .
Jonathan, who spoke via a post on his Facebook page , said, “ I have repeatedly said nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen in any part of the world ; absolutely nobody .
“ Again , I reiterate that it is better to lose power at the cost of gaining peace , than to gain power at the price of losing the peace . As a leader , one must not just look unto one’ s own interest , but the interest and the good of society . It is never too late to reject the venom and inject the serum of peace .
“ It is necessary to state that the highest purpose of leadership is to bring people together , even those that do not share in your philosophy. And you do not need an office to do that. All you need to achieve that height of leadership is conscience . Let us be men of conscience at this hour . ”
Jonathan made history as an incumbent Nigerian President by conceding defeat to the then opposition candidate , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd. ) , while the 2015 election results were still being collated .
On his part , Odigie -Oyegun, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH , said, “ I was totally astonished at what happened in America . It has done me one good ; it has finally taught me that even in the so-called developing world , we are not as bad as we have been making ourselves look .
“ All of a sudden , the greatest and the most painful degree of lack of principles , lack of care for national interest was on display .
“ I am afraid American democracy has taken a serious beating and I feel it in my bones as if I am an American . It was humbling . At the end of the day ; whether in the developing world or in America , it is the level to which people believe in principles and character that matters . ”
Speaking in a similar vein , elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, who spoke in a telephone interview , said , “ The wrong choice of Donald Trump as President has brought an over 200 years old system to its knees . It is important for the electorate to look at the character of the persons they elect into public office. ”

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