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LAGOS. NIGERIA.     Sunday, August 25 2002





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Obi Of Agbor Speaks On Democracy

THE Dein of Agbor Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Obi Keagboekuzi I, has expressed regrets that three years after Nigeria's new democratic governance, the citizens are yet to enjoy the dividends of democracy.

The monarch, speaking when members of the newly constituted Transition Committee for Ika South local government paid him a courtesy visit, said what the Nigerian masses have received so far are the pains of the democratic experiment. He, however, hoped that the dividends would come in no distant future.

The Dein, the youngest person to be crowned a traditional king in 1979, said that as a nation, Nigeria is trying to grow politically and the process may be long, given our precedents.

"The reasons for things being the way they are for now in the political arena are understandable to an extent when one considers the fact that the nation only recently emerged from a long period of military rule," he stated.

He said there is need to first stabilise this democracy so as to guarantee the flow of the dividends derivable from it. According to him, the task of achieving this purpose "starts with the people, functionaries and machineries operating at the grassroots" such as the local government levels.

The traditional ruler likened the country's experiment on democracy to that of a passenger or cargo aboard an aircraft whose fate is uncertain until it lands at its destination.

According to him, a worrisome possibility, he told his audience is that "if the aircraft, (our democracy) takes longer time before landing, it faces the danger of running out of fuel, if that ever happens, the consequences that the aircraft as well as its contents will suffer are better imagined than actually experienced."

Obi Keagboekuzi I, while admonishing politicians who play along tribal lines emphasised the need for the unity of the country, which requires everyone to eschew intrigues and fighting.

He further decried the failure of most citizens to brace up to the challenges of the corporate desires of unity and peace and observed that the possession of godly spirit manifests in the possessor's ability to stop himself or his fellow men from carrying out actions that are harmful against others.

Urging Nigerians to aspire to perfection in all their dealings, he remarked that the religions and humanistic truth that we are not perfect should not be misconstrued to mean that we couldn't attain perfection.

The Dein commended the chairman of the Transition Committee, Colonel Godwin Eboma (rtd) for his outstanding personal qualities prominent among which are his humility and pro people disposition, and urged him to bring them to bear during this present call.

Commenting on the benefits of the courtesy visit to the monarch, a member of the Transition Committee Mr. Andrew Obiazi noted that the visit was aimed at receiving guidance for conducting the affairs of the local government and that they had received a dose of it from their "custodian of ancient and unfailing wisdom."

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