Nigeria finally has its Democracy Day: 12 June

June 14, 2019

Democracy Day – in honour of the late Chief Moshood Kasimawo OlawaleAbiola – President Muhammadu Buhari has finally signed into law, the bill to make June 12 Democracy day for the country. For the first time since his assumption of office, pro-democracy activists, human rights defenders, and other critical stakeholders are unanimous in praising President Muhammadu Buhari for this milestone decision

Some Nigerians, particularly, political leaders of the Yoruba extraction in the South Western part of the country believed that the socio-economic and political fortunes of the country would have been better if the late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, had been allowed to assume power. However, this statement of declaring June 12 as real democracy day and honouring the deceased appears to have assuaged the feelings of the people, particularly those who believed that the election symbolizes true democracy and justice for the country.

Although, some say that the recognition of the date was a good idea, they equally expressed suspicion that it was meant to garner votes from a section of the country and that it negates the spirit behind it.

The piece then recounts in detail how the election issue devleoped over time.

Precisely, 25 years later, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that the day must be brought back to the national reckoning as the nation’s true Democracy Day as against the May 29 date that had been celebrated since 1999. Although by the time president made that declaration last year, the country was preparing for 2019 general elections, andnothing was done on it until a year

….

Even, the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, sometimes said June 12 and the events that brought it were part of our country’s history and could not be forgotten, especially because of the unity and comradeship displayed by Nigerians on that Election Day in 1993. Atiku noted that the events of June 12, 1993, were watersheds in the history of the nation and that all Nigerians must work hard to ensure that the nation never again repeats that painful experience.

Atiku recalled that June 12 traumatized Nigerians and made some people to question the unity and oneness of the country and whether true democracy can take root in the country.

Political watchers, however, posited that it was the June 12 struggle which led to the death of acclaimed winner, MKO Abiola, that actually propelled military to hand over power on May 29, 1999, and the roles played by the then democracy activists, not that the military willingly relinquishes power.

…..

However, pundits said, President Muhammadu Buhari, with the fulfillment of his pronouncement,has done what they could not do for several years. Even. The president, during the conferment of Grand Commander of Federal Republic (GCFR) on MKO in Abuja, also offered an unreserved apology on behalf of the Federal Government to the family of MKO Abiola, over the annulment of June 12, 1993, poll, presumably won by late Abiola….

Democracy Day: No Easy WalkTo June 12

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