Nigeria Country Director Participates in Governance Lecture

July 01, 2019

At the 13th Annual ǼLEX Lecture, held in Lagos in July, DAI was represented by Nigeria Country Director Dr. Joe Abah, who, alongside other governance experts, debated about the drivers of a strong democracy—strong men or strong institutions. Justice Aloma Mukhtar, Prof. P.L.O Lumumba, Fola Arthur-Worrey, and Abah discussed the role of leadership in the establishment of strong institutions that foster the emergence of a free and fair press, citizen participation, accountable government officials, an independent judiciary, and rule of law.

“No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny…Africa doesn’t need strong men; it needs strong institutions.”—Barack Obama, addressing the Ghanaian Parliament in 2009

They also discussed the importance of countries embracing strong and disciplined leaders who would not abuse power but strengthen institutions, which is vital to progressive governance. Lumumba traced the history of challenges facing various African countries to their colonial roots where institutions in most African countries were externally driven.

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Panelists highlighted that those reckoned as strong leaders in Africa are often not comfortable with institutional checks as it hampers their malicious intentions in government. “Strong men have become so strong they are no longer working in the interest of the people. The danger with strong men is that many times they forget themselves,” Lumumba said.

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