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  • Documents on Democracy


On May 29, President Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party was sworn in after being reelected on April 16 with 59 percent of the vote. Below are excerpts from his inaugural address:

Earlier this year, over seventy-three million eligible Nigerians endured all manner of inconvenience just to secure their voters cards, in order to exercise the right to choose those that will govern them.

At the polls, we saw the most dramatic expressions of the hunger for democracy. Stories of courage and patriotism were repeated in many ways, including how fellow citizens helped physically challenged voters into polling stations to enable them to exercise their franchise. The inspiring story of the one hundred and three year-old man, and many like him across the country, who struggled against the physical limitations of age to cast their vote, is noteworthy.

Such determination derives from the typical Nigerian spirit of resilience in the face of the greatest of odds. That spirit has, over the years, stirred our hopes, doused our fears, and encouraged us to gather ourselves to build a strong nation even when others doubted our capacity.

Today, our unity is firm, and our purpose is strong. Our determination is unshakable. Together, we will unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our peoples whether in the North or in the South, in the East or in the West. Our decade of development has begun. The march is on. The day of transformation begins today. . . .

I am mindful that I represent the shared aspiration of all our people to forge a united Nigeria: a land of justice, opportunity and plenty. Confident that a people that are truly committed to a noble ideal cannot be denied the realization of their vision, I assure you that this dream of Nigeria that is so deeply felt by millions will indeed come to reality. . . .

The success of the 2011 elections and the widespread acclaim which the exercise received was due to the uncommon patriotism and diligence [End Page 178] exhibited by many Nigerians, including members of the Armed Forces, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and others. Unfortunately, despite the free, fair and transparent manner in which the elections were conducted, a senseless wave of violence in some parts of the country led to the death of ten members of the NYSC and others. These brave men and women paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland. They are heroes of our democracy. We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences in respect of all those who lost their lives. . . .

Fellow citizens, in every decision, I shall always place the common good before all else. The bane of corruption shall be met by the overwhelming force of our collective determination to rid our nation of this scourge. The fight against corruption is a war in which we must all enlist, so that the limited resources of this nation will be used for the growth of our commonwealth. . . .

This is a new dawn for Africa. We fought for decolonization. We will now fight for democratization. Nigeria, in partnership with the African Union, will lead the process for democracy and development in Africa. In particular, we will support the consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights in the continent. Africa must develop its vast resources to tackle poverty and under-development.


The Libyan Interim National Council issued a statement on March 29 entitled "A Vision of a Democratic Libya." The Council, consisting of 31 members representing various cities in Libya, was established in Benghazi on March 5 with the goal of "steer[ing] Libya during the interim period that will come after its complete liberation and the destruction of Gaddafi's oppressive regime." Excerpts appear below:

The interim national council hereby presents its vision for rebuilding the democratic state of Libya. This vision responds to the needs and aspirations of our people, while incorporating the historical changes brought about by the 17 February revolution.

We have learnt from the struggles of our past during the dark days of dictatorship that there is no alternative to building a free and democratic society and ensuring the supremacy of...


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pp. 178-182
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