By: Abayomi Adeshida, Abuja
African leaders have been charged to always pay attention to the way the majority of their people perceive them and their policies while in office because the way they are perceived can play a major role in their political career so much that even after they lose elections, they can be called back to rule again by popular demand.
Chairman of the Good Luck Jonathan Foundation, Former President Goodluck Jonathan told representatives of political parties from The Gambia at the closing of a two-day consultative retreat for political parties leaders on the draft constitution that they should seize this opportunity of making a new constitution for their country to sacrifice short-time personal gains for long time benefits of their country.
In his remarks to close the meeting, President Jonathan said, “whatever a leader is doing, he needs to understand the fact that the perception of his policies and decisions would be a critical factor to be considered because he is there for the people.
” A leader can be doing all the right things to be done for nation-building but if the perception among the people does not match what he is doing, hen he can never go very far in politics.
” But when a leader is doing his best for his people and the perception is right, he might even lose an election due to misunderstanding, but when the perception is right, he can even be called upon to come and rule again.
” People have asked if I have any personal; relationship with your President, but I have never had any official dealings with him since he got into office.
“But since providence has brought us here to work on this constitution, I will try and do all I can to persuade him to understand and allow the process to work so that he can have the honour of having a brand new constitution for your country under his tenure.
” If it even happens that the constitution becomes operational and he has the benefit to hand over to a successor without rancour, he would also enter into a prestigious class of African leaders who are peace lovers who place the country above their selfish interests.
” I will like to warn here that if we say because we have a few things to change in the old constitution and we would not allow it to work for the country then decide to set this aside and continue with business as usual, one day, our grandchildren will come after us and make a better constitution that would make the country function
” This is a golden opportunity that we have to make a constitution that would stand the test of time for the next one or two hundred years and it would guarantee justice, peace and progress for everyone in the country,” President Jonathan submitted.
Earlier in his remarks, the Regional Director for Africa and West Asia, Professor Adebayo Olukoshi who coordinated the process expressed his appreciation to President Jonathan and the staff of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation for secretarial services they have rendered for the process.
In his words. “we never expected this hospitality that we have enjoyed and we hope that the political leaders of The Gambia would consider this effort and understand that all the clauses have been considered dispassionately before we arrived at the point we are in the process of making a constitution for the country.
“By two weeks time, we hope to continue with the process in Banjul, and we would be very glad if all parties continue to grant us the current level of cooperation that we have received so far in the process.
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