Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan says overpraising sitting presidents makes them feel like a little god and makes it unthinkable for them to leave office.
Jonathan said this on Thursday at the constitutional term limits summit in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Jonathan who is one of the speakers at the summit organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), also said the fear of persecution after office makes it difficult for a sitting president torelinquish power.
“Let’s create an environment where people will believe there’s life after office. That if you leave office you should not be persecuted,” he said.
“The way we manage ourselves as sitting presidents and former presidents matter. The first line is to reduce what will make a sitting president afraid to leave office.
“Africans sometimes, we are our own problem because we always think ourpresidents are little gods. That somebody is president does not mean he is God. We have a tradition of praise-singing. We tend to give our presidents name they don’t deserve.
“We tend to over-praise sitting presidentsand make them think they are little gods. When they begin to make a sitting president think he is God, and he is the only person that can run the affairs of thenation; then the person will be there; nobody removes God.
“When you make a president feel he is god, don’t expect him to leave. The media and civil society must continue to admonish characters that makepresidents think they are the best thing to happen.
“That you are president does not mean you are better than others. We citizens of this continent create little gods, and God cannot leave (power).”