Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the continuous spraying of foreign currencies like the US dollar during parties is anti-democratic and sends wrong signals in the direction the country’s democracy is headed.

Jonathan stated this on Tuesday while speaking at the 25th Anniversary Democracy Day Public Lecture in Abuja.

Jonathan advised actors to stick to the rule of the game noting that citizens cherish and prefer civilian rule to military rule.

He advised that Nigerian democracy must be protected at all costs and commended the country for 25 years of unbroken democracy.

Jonathan who chaired the event said Nigeria’s journey to democratic consolidation has not been an easy one, which he said has been “a mixed bag of gains and losses, progress and pain.

“We have continued to deal with the issue of insecurity, social inequality, unemployment as well as electoral disputes and violence.

“Despite the challenges associated with democracy, the general feeling is that citizens prefer democracy to any other form of government not only in Nigeria but almost across the world,” the former president said.

He added, “As a nation our resolve has been challenged many times. But true faith and unity, we have continued to match on and we would continue to match on.

“We must underscore the fact that democracy is a journey and not a destination.

“Our democracy, though still young, has weathered storms, overcame challenges, and proven its endurance, it has become the bacon of hope not just for our nation but for the entire continent,” Jonathan said.

Jonathan further said the country’s democratic journey continues saying, “In these 25 years, through four power transitions from one president to the other, democratic institutions have been expanded.

“This progress, while commendable, also reminds us that our work is not yet done, we still have more to do.

“It is therefore time to make this journey seamless through good citizenship, patriotic service as well sacrificial and exemplary stewardship.”

The former president urged the political leaders to ensure the citizens feel the impact of democracy through good governance.

He said, “We must continue to build upon the foundation laid to deepen our democratic roots and ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt by all Nigerians regardless of their economic status, social status or geographical status.

“For democracy to yield its desired dividends, both the political class and elites must lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace and social justice to the citizens and our lifestyle must reflect that we were elected people.

“A situation where the children of our politicians go to parties and start spraying dollars is not the kind of democracy we want to witness in this country.

“We must work together despite our political differences, accommodate our diversity and prioritise policies that will impact the lives of our citizens,” he added.

Jonathan stressed that it’s “imperative to state that we need to work assiduously towards further strengthening state’s institutions so that they can withstand the shocks that threaten democratic governance.

“Democracy as a form of government is anchored on the set of promises in line with the nation’s development and growth aspirations.”

He said the fulfilment of these promises reinforces the citizens’ trust and faith in the government.

To attain such a feat therefore, he said the political class and all those at the helm of affairs must listen to the voices of the citizens.

He averted that Nigeria needs “to come up with a model of democratic practice that will be more inclusive and reinforces social cohesion.

“A zero-sum of politics where a winner takes it all has not helped to foster unity of political choices.

“A political party for example which scores up to 30% of votes during an election either at the national or subnational level should have something to go home with.

“I’m not clearly recommending proportional representation. Different governments come up with models of democracy that suit them after all the presidents we are talking about…all presidents of the world do not emerge through the same process.

Nigeria elects its president directly. A number of countries, a president is elected indirectly.

“The powers of the president are defined by the constitution and so on and so forth.

“Our national assembly can also look at models that will suit us.

“A zero-sum that even the party that even sometimes gets 40% of votes especially at the state level would have nothing gives rise to this do or die politics.

“That zero-sum approach I think is inimical to consolidation and strengthening our democracy.

“Together we can forge a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound and where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream but a tangible reality.

“Let us ensure that the next 25 years of our democracy are even more transformative and inclusive and more prosperous for all of us in line with the wordings of our national anthem – ‘to handover to our children a banner without stain.

“We must not hand over the banner of a democracy built on politics of region and religion,” he stated.

Jonathan emphasised that “a democracy built on ethnicity does not endure, it would continue to wobble.

“So for the honourable vice president, you are also representing the president.

“For me, we are hoping that you will build more infrastructure for us, improve the quality of education, health facilities etc.

“But one key thing for the next 25 years that you will midwife, because you are starting the next 25 years, is to build a democracy that will reduce friction.”

Jonathan condemned post election litigations which he said is very embarrassing blaming the political actors for the development.

He said, “The avalanche of litigation that follows every round of election in Nigeria is very embarrassing.

“And because of the kind of democracy we practise, the democracy built on all kinds of sentiment either the way you worship your God or from the map of the country you come from, you people, (President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima), have to gradually make sure that in the next 25 years it’s diluted if we must have a solid and enduring democracy.

“And I know you and the president, Bola Tinubu, who was the actor during the June 12 crisis have the capacity to navigate through that process,” Jonathan said.