President Jonathan today Tuesday Dec. 9th called on
politicians to shun “ceaseless quarreling” and engage in
robust political debates that would strengthen the country’s
Jonathan made the call at the public presentation and
official launch of the Kukah Centre, founded by prominent
cleric and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr.
Among other aims, the centre was established to
strengthen national debate, improve governance and
encourage Nigerians to take an active role in the country’s
Jonathan said that the nation’s democracy should be
deepened by robust debates, stimulation of innovative ideas
and healthy engagements by all actors.
“I call on everyone, the political class, our citizens and
more importantly, the academic community to rise up
to these challenges posed by this initiative (centre).
“I think we are over defining our democracy today by
quarreling as if democracy is about competitors
quarreling just like motor park workers,” he said.
The president urged politicians to use the 2015 elections to
renew their commitment to the country’s unity. He said:
“As elections draw close, I call on all politicians to see
this as another opportunity for us to renew our
commitment to deepen our democracy and strengthen
our bond of unity.
“Democracy is not about political parties and
politicians alone, it is not just about winning or losing
elections; it is about freedom, about development and
above all a forward march of our civilisation and
encouragement of creativity.
“It is in this regard that we must seek to identify and
support the growth of structures and institutions that
will help strengthen our democracy to meet our
aspirations as a people.”
Jonathan noted that policy research institutes like the
Kukah Centre had been pivotal to the social economic
transformation of leading countries of the world.
According to him, such centres have served as the
laboratories of the development, inter-relation and the
refinement of key government policies.
He likened the Kukah Center to the Brooklyn Institute in
America, which pioneered fact-based studies of government
policies, using science as a key to analysis.
The president then challenged Nigerian politicians to draw
inspiration from it.
“I’m personally convinced that the centre could not
have finer mentor than the revered gentleman of long
patriotic standing, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah,” he
The centre also aims at promoting conversations among
Nigeria’s faith communities, as well as between leaders in
faith and public policy.