The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, urged Nigerians to use democracy to institutionalise peace and genuine development in the country.

Saraki in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, congratulated Nigerians on the country’s attainment of 20 years of uninterrupted democracy.

He described the commemoration of 20 years of democracy as ”a thing of joy in view of the many positive developments the country had witnessed since May 29, 1999.”

He advised Nigerians to fully take ownership of democracy and its institutions and use them to “entrench peace, welfare and improved standard of living for all our people.”

According him, democracy is about the people and the people should use democracy to achieve social justice, equity, inclusiveness and economic self-reliance.

While urging the followers to hold their leaders accountable and ensure they always act in the best interest of the people and country, he called on the people to be good followers and be law-abiding at all times.

”We should avoid conflicts and blood-letting as no country can develop in the midst of chaos.

”We should all steer clear of issues, comments and situations that emphasise our fault lines,” he said.

He called on all newly-elected leaders who were to be sworn-in to work for the development of the country and the continuous preservation of the nation’s democracy.

According to him, the benefits of a constitutional democracy far outweigh the challenges that have confronted the country since the return of democracy.

”It is a thing of absolute joy and national pride that we are today celebrating two decades of sustained democratic governance in the country.

”It is my hope that every Nigerian will look back at how far we have come in the last 20 years and resolve to continue to preserve our democracy –  not minding the observed lapses in the operation of the system.

”We should continue to strive to preserve the present form of democratic governance because democracy still remains the best system of government,” he said.

Saraki said that everyone ”has a duty to translate this dream into measurable realities in terms of the security and welfare of the people as well as the socio-economic and political advancement of the country.”

”I believe that all our newly sworn-in leaders are fully abreast of the present realities and therefore would spare no effort in working to turn the country around for the better,” he said. (NAN)