The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has identified peoples’ freedom to willingly choose their leaders as a hallmark of democracy.
Aregbesola, in a message by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, observed this in a message to mark the nation’s 54th independence anniversary.
The Governor said independence, in the true sense of the word, will only make meaning if people of the nation have unrestricted free will to elect their leaders at all tiers of government.
According to him, a refusal to allow peoples’ will and aspirations to be freely expressed most of the time results in chaos and confusion.
He called on leaders and people of the country to come to terms with the reality of what democracy means, which is the unfettered freedom of expression, of choice of those whom the people want to rule them.
Through this alone, Aregbesola said, will independence benefit the nation and propel its people towards positive contributions.
“Democracy as a system of government only has meaning in an atmosphere of freedom.
“Our nation stands to benefit immensely if the will of the people supersedes the individual leader’s ambition.
“We, as a nation, must put our acts together as from now on and remain focused on how to move this country to greater heights.
“This should be the lesson as well as the primary message we should spread around as the nation clocks 54 years,” Aregbesola said
Adding that Nigeria’s independence will be meaningless unless there is absolute respect for democratic ethos, Aregbesola said “Today, our country witnesses blatant cases of abuse of human rights and total disregard for the rights of the people to choose those who lead them.
“Relentlessly, we have campaigned for a true federation which takes into account all the freedom of the federating units to conduct their affairs in the most suitable manner according to their respective circumstances.
“It is regrettable that many of the institutions of the state which ought to be in place for the enthronement of acceptable federalism and democracy have been weakened deliberately to achieve some personal political and economic advantages of those who had worked over the years against the happiness of our people,” the Osun Governor said.
Aregbesola said collectively all Nigerians could make independence work by compelling leaders to act with total respect for the rule of law adding, “Our country stands the chance of covering the lost grounds if only we realize the need to act in the best interest of the people.”