Democracy Day: Nigerians seek more dividends | Dailytrust

Democracy Day: Nigerians seek more dividends

Some citizens from across the country have called for more dividends of democracy and increased security. They spoke in commemoration of the June 12...

Some citizens from across the country have called for more dividends of democracy and increased security.

They spoke in commemoration of the June 12 Democracy Day in Nigeria.

The day is celebrated in honour of the June 12, 1993, presidential election widely acclaimed to have been won by the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The then military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, annulled the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest election in the country. Abiola later died in the dungeon of the late Head of State, General Sanni Abacha, while world leaders were negotiating his release.

Nigerians urged the government to prioritise the security of lives and property, stressing that the country was gradually moving into a self-help situation as citizens no longer have confidence in the government. 

Aisha Ismail, a lecturer in Kaduna, explained that since the country’s uninterrupted democratic sojourn, Nigeria had witnessed several security challenges that have threatened its existence. 

Reuben Silas, a teacher, said the government must first provide security for democracy to flourish, adding that the difference between democracy and a military regime lies in citizens’ rights. 

In Niger State, a former editor with The Next Newspaper, Mr Olu Jacobs, said it was good news that Nigeria had practised uninterrupted democracy for over 20 years, but said not much had changed in the country.

Hadiza Usman, a National Youth Service Corps member, said citizens had not witnessed positive changes in the last 23 years.

“Democracy has not truly brought us good things.  It’s like a big setback and we have been witnessing recycled leadership,” she said.

A lawyer, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, said the defence of the human rights of Nigerian citizens is a defence of democracy. He noted that where the human rights of citizens suffer, then democracy in that country is buried in the grave.

A media consultant, Tony Abolo, said the day is not worth celebrating because we are not practising democracy either in the global context or even as interpreted in the Nigerians’ desire for democracy

 On his part, Dada Ayokha, a lecturer noted that the day is worth celebrating since it offers freedom to Nigerians from the military.

A public analyst, Mohammed Abdullahi, on his part called for a review of the current system of government; emphasising the need to fine tune and align democracy to befit the peculiar culture and values in Nigeria.

Kano scholars, residents reflect

 Scholars yesterday converged on the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University, Kano (BUK) popularly known as Mambayya House and reflected on the country’s democratic journey so far.

Professor Isma’ila Mohammed Zango while delivering his welcome address said the need to sit and reflect with stakeholders and technocrats in the democratic system becomes necessary looking at the pace Nigeria is moving at.

Speaking at the public lecture, the chairman of the event, Sani Lawan Malumfashi, said Nigeria had a long way to go, adding, “There’s a need to address the enormous challenges bedevilling us as people of which we are the real architects.”

A renowned political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani Fage, who made a paper presentation on the subject, “Rule of law and Nigeria’s electoral system: Accessing the 23 years of Nigeria’s democratic experience”, called on Nigerians to elect good leaders.

Similarly, some residents spoken to by one of our reporters lamented that despite 23 years of uninterrupted democracy, the country had yet to get it right on all indices for measuring development.

We must get it right in 2023 – Govs

Governors yesterday also said Nigeria cannot afford not to get it right in the quest to sustain democracy ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The governors, in their separate messages in commemoration of the June 12, 2022, Democracy Day, said all Nigerians must come together and join the efforts to promote peace and stability in the country.

Leading the charge, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said leaders must seek pragmatic solutions to the challenges of governance in order not to undermine and endanger the hard-earned democracy.

 Bello, in a message through his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje, commended the citizens for their patience and support as well as contributions to the growth and development of the country.

He called on Nigerians to collectively work for the sustenance of democracy, stressing that it remains the best system of governance despite its challenges or shortcomings.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello called on leaders to remain committed to the visions of the founding fathers, charging them to provide visions of a new and better tomorrow.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu, stressed that good governance strengthened by quality leadership remains cardinal in delivering democratic dividends to the people of the country.

Gombe gov urges people to obtain PVCs

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State enjoined the people and residents of the state to play their role in deepening democracy by actively participating in the electoral process.

The governor, in a goodwill message, called on the citizens to take advantage of the continuous voters’ registration to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

 He noted with delight the successful conduct of party congresses and primaries, calling on the people of the state to exhibit the same maturity during the 2023 general elections.

He urged residents of the state to appreciate the state’s diversity through understanding and recognising the interests of various ethnic and religious groups, as well as promoting brotherhood and respect for one another.

Politicking won’t get in way of governance – Sanwo-Olu

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos pledged that he would never allow politicking to get in the way of governance as he begins the final year of his first term in office.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for righting a historical wrong by formally recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, saying Lagos played host to most of the struggle of June 12.

“Bashorun MKO Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993 election, lived and worked in Lagos. His business empire was headquartered here as well. Lagos State gave the world the famous Epetedo Declaration, which was Bashorun Abiola’s final public appearance. He was also arrested here in Lagos. 

“Indeed, many of the leading names of the June 12 struggle were Lagosians, regardless of where they traced their ethnic or family origins. A lot of the blood that was shed was shed in Lagos. Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Sola Omatsola, were shot and killed in Lagos by murderous enemies of true democracy. Many others were forced underground, living in disguise and running from safe-house to safe-house across the city,” he said.

Fintiri pardons 6 inmates

In marking the day, the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, has pardoned six inmates serving in five correctional centres across the state.

He also commuted the death sentence of another inmate to life imprisonment. 

The governor in a statement said the decision was part of efforts to decongest some of the overburdened correctional centres.

Fintiri had during last year’s celebration pardoned 46 inmates.

Abiodun commutes 6 death sentences, frees 40 inmates

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Sunday freed 40 inmates and commuted six death sentences to life imprisonment in commemoration of the day.

He said there is no gainsaying that the struggles of June 12 as orchestrated by MKO gave birth to the seamless democracy we now enjoy in Nigeria. 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, tasked Nigerians to uphold the ideals of the nation’s founding fathers, who fought assiduously for the realisation of an independent country rooted in the values of justice and equity.

He called on Nigerians to recommit to the process of working in unison to make the country live up to its promise as the greatest black nation on earth.

Akeredolu calls for state police

In his own message, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, identified restructuring as the only panacea for the array of challenges confronting the nation, particularly insecurity. 

He said it was time to deepen the democratic values that the day represented. 

“The need for restructuring has starred us in the face for too long. It is time for the federal government to shed its excesses for the sub-nationals. Security must be devolved to the states. There is no better time for state police than now,” he said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Olatunde Richard.

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri said the essence of democracy would be lost if leaders failed to be servants to the people.

In his own message, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State said Nigerians should use the day to reflect on what had gone wrong and chart a way forward. 

North East hero of democracy – Zulum

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, said the people of Borno State and the rest of the North East deserved to be among the heroes of Nigeria’s 23 years of sustained democracy. 

He said the people, particularly those in Borno State, had spent more than half of Nigeria’s 23 years of uninterrupted democracy, showing “incredible resilience” against vicious attempts by Boko Haram insurgents to undermine democratic institutions. 

Lalong seeks election of God-fearing candidates

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has called for the election of God-fearing candidates who have the interest of the nation at heart in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The governor made the plea yesterday at an inter-denominational Church service to mark the 2022 Democracy Day held at the EYCN Church, Jos. 

He said ahead of the 2023 general elections, the citizens must also remember that the unity, peace and progress of the country were paramount at all times, adding that all and sundry should participate in the election process. 

We must guard our democracy jealously, Ortom tells Nigerians

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State in a message by his spokesman, Nathaniel Ikyur, urged Nigerians to guard against anti-democratic forces in order to jealously protect democracy in the country.

He pointed out that the unabating security situation where terrorists were seizing the sovereignty had already become a threat to the country’s hard-earned democracy.

On his own part, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed said the celebration of the day was an indication that democracy had become firmly rooted in Nigeria.

The governor added that there was no better alternative to democracy as a form of government that gives the people the right to choose who to govern them and how they want to be governed.

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