Mixed Reactions As Nigeria Marks Democracy Day
Nigerians have expressed their reflections on the celebration of Democracy Day today, recalling the events that heralded the June 12, 1993 presidential election and its aftermath. According to some Nigerians, besides the civil war, no other event has threatened the unity and survival of Nigeria like the annulment of the elections of June 12,1993.
They stated that despite the 1999 election of President Olusegun Obasanjo of the same Yoruba stock to atone for the annulment, there was still mistrust in the polity until the Buhari administration came on board. However, even though the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has said that what happened on June 12,1993 remained unforgettable, some Northern leaders have said that the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, has doused mistrust in Nigeria by recognising the position of June 12 in Nigeria’s democratic evolution.
And while legal luminary, Afe Babalola, spoke about a one-page gazette on presidential poll that ended Abiola’s legal battle for his mandate, the family said some of the yearnings of the winner of the June 12 election had yet to be realised.
Former publicity secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the immediate past secretary general, Mr Anthony Sani, said President Buhari had doused tension by recognising June 12 as Democracy Day. He said, “I want to believe President Buhari was very much aware that besides the civil war, no event has threatened the unity and survival of Nigeria like the annulment of the elections of June 12,1993; and despite the election of President Obasanjo by national consensus to make up for the annulment, there are still echoes of the mistrust and suspicion in the polity which have refused to go.
“And so the president must have reasoned that anything that could bring about complete national reconciliation and healing was worth doing well. Hence the recognition of the late Chief Abiola as the winner of the elections of June 12,1993, posthumously and the post-humous award to him.
The president also honoured his VP, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe as well as Chief Gani Fayehemi, and shifted the Democracy Day to 12 June. “We applaud President Buhari for such a laudable gesture and have expected Nigerians to see it as such. Since we cannot bring back yesterday, we can struggle to make tomorrow our own by making the most of our diversity with respect and dignity.”
What MKO Died For Has Not Been Fully Achieved – Family
Meanwhile, Engineer Rahman Abiola, is the younger brother of the winner of the 1993 presidential election, the late MKO Abiola. The younger Abiola is the secretary of the Abiola Family and was also the director of organisation, Hope ’93 General Election, Abiola’s campaign vehicle in 1993 presidential elecrion. He said, “The truth is that the journey to the desired heights in democracy cannot be achieved in a day. The United States of America (USA) which got her independence in 1776 still has her own form of problems and challenges today.
Celebration Of This Day An Affirmation Of Collective Struggles – Atiku
On his part, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the celebration of Democracy Day as an affirmation of collective struggle towards a system of participatory government and acceptance of the primacy of the rule of law. In his message to Nigerians on the 21st anniversary of Democracy Day, Atiku stated that along the line in the struggle which spanned decades, many a compatriot paid the ultimate price, saying it is a remembrance day for our fallen heroes of democratic rule.
One-page gazette on presidential poll ended Abiola’s legal battle – Afe Babalola
Legal icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has said that Nigeria is still on a democratic journey which began with the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Chief Babalola, who recalled some of the events that followed the annulment of the poll, noted that the late Moshood Abiola did not receive fair treatment in the struggle to reclaim his mandate. The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Friday.
Babalola, who was the leading counsel to the late Abiola during the legal battle to reclaim his mandate, revealed how a one-sheet gazette on the election ended the late business mogul’s political ambition. Going down memory lane on how the court proceedings transpired, he said, “I could remember vividly, there was a Court of Appeal in Kaduna.
We were prepared to argue our case. I came with 30 lawyers. As soon as the judges came in and the case was mentioned, I rose up and announced myself as Abiola’s counsel, leading other lawyers. “However, the defence counsel, Philip Umendi, rose up and announced himself as the government lawyer. “Umendi submitted that the case had been overtaken by events.
But the court asked him why? He told the court that the government had annulled the election, therefore, there was nothing for the court to entertain.” Chief Babalola said he responded by saying that the court was not in a position to take oral evidence as conclusive of the alleged annulment. “I added that the only way the court could be convinced is for him to produce a gazette which was required under the military law at that time.
“The counsel to the defendant then asked for adjournment to bring the gazette. About two hours after the adjournment, he came with a onesheet gazette which stated that the election had been annulled. “Umendi then tendered the gazette and the court asked me, in view if this, does the court have any jurisdiction to continue with the case? “I shook my head and said that was the end of the matter.
“I said, ‘My Lord, this is the saddest day for the judiciary in our country. The man went through election, and to get judgement he was being sent out of the court with a gazette that the election was annulled. “But I added a prophetic statement, ‘This is the beginning of a journey the end of which nobody knows”’
June 12: Lagos Speaker Craves Nigeria Unity To Sustain Democracy
The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said that Nigerians need a united front more than ever before at this crucial period of its evolution as a nation. According to him, Nigeria can hardly achieve anything positive without the citizens having a unity of purpose. Obasa who doubles as the chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, said this in commemoration of this year’s celebration of the June 12, 1993 election, popularly acclaimed to have been won by the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola (GCFR).
Adegbite Lauds Buhari’s Contribution To Democracy
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for delivering the dividend of democracy to Nigerians. In his message to mark the 2020 Democracy Day, the minister also urged Nigerians to be patriotic and work together for the unity and advancement of the country. He scored Buhari’s five-year rule high in terms of achievement.
“The administration of President Buhari essentially had three focal points when it came on board, which were to diversify the economy, to create jobs and to increase government revenue generation. On this three points, this administration has done well,” he said.
According to him, the administration is currently using the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as well as Agriculture to diversify the economy. “This is why contributions from Mines and Steel sector to the GDP has improved since this administration came on board,” he remarked.
June 12: Make Democracy A Lifestyle – APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the 2020 Democracy Day, urging them to make democracy a way of life.
The party, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, yesterday in Abuja said that, undoubtedly, the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day by the APCled federal government had further cemented the credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari as a true democrat.
“President Buhari displayed political will in recognising and appreciating the sacrifices of many Nigerians in the enthronement of democracy in our nation and the ultimate prize paid by the presumed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Abiola”, APC said.
PDP Decries Loss of Electoral Credibility
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to dedicate the remainder of his tenure to “restore” the credibility of elections in the country.
The party, therefore, asked President Buhari to within the next 14 days initiate the process of returning the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to the National Assembly. They further demanded a strong commitment to sign it into law immediately it is passed by the legislature, ahead of the 2023 general elections. June 12: Ongoing Constitution, Electoral
Reforms Will Address Past Pitfalls – Senate President
The president of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, has revealed that the ongoing constitution review and electoral reforms being carried out by the Senate will take into cognizance the past pitfalls and democratic ethos needed to take Nigeria to her desired destination.
Lawan, who made the disclosure in his special message to mark this year’s Democracy Day, also felicitated with Nigerians on the occasion of June 12 celebration. The Senate president, therefore, urged all Nigerians to embrace a healthy democratic practice devoid of desperation and violence.
In the same vein, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has also congratulated the nation on the occasion of June 12 Democracy Day, saying Nigerians must continue to draw lessons from the historic day.
PMB Helped To Set Record Of June 12 Straight, Says Tinubu
On his part, the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday took a nostalgic look at the evolution of democratic governance in Nigeria starting from the struggle that erupted from the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election and submitted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s courageous leadership has helped to set the records straight by making today Democracy Day in the country.
The former Lagos State Governor, in the message he personally signed, entitled, ‘’June 12, A Milestone for Democracy,’’ affirmed that the election of June 12,1993 changed Nigeria profoundly. According to him, many people laboured, struggled and sacrificed for democracy not because they wanted to have democracy day but that Nigeria might exist as a democracy every day.
Democracy Day: Akeredolu Pardons Death Row Inmates, Others In Ondo State
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu granted amnesty to 28 inmates of the Federal Correctional Custodial Centres.
Akeredolu, in a statement issued by his chief pess secretary, Segun Ajiboye, said the gesture was in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day on June 12, 2020.
The governor ordered that 13 of the inmates be discharged from the facility forthwith, while 10 on death row had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment and five on life imprisonment had their terms commuted to various terms of imprisonment.
Ekiti CJ Frees 33 Inmates
No fewer than 33 Inmates were yesterday set free from Ado Ekiti Correctional Centre by the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola.
The inmates, comprising eight awaiting trial inmates, 13 convicts and two others who were granted bail and pardoned on liberal terms, were freed in line with the directives of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammad. Chief registrar of the Ekiti State Judiciary, Mr. Johnson Apuabi, in a statement in Ado Ekiti yesterday, said Justice Daramola gave the directive for the release of the inmates during his visit to the prison.
Afenifere To Nigerians: Use June 12 Celebration To Do Assessment Of Progress
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has called on Nigerians to use the occasion of June 12 anniversary as the auspicious moment to do a critical assessment of the democratic journey so far.
The group, in a statement signed by the leader of the organisation, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, noted that this year marked the 27th anniversary of the fairest democratic election in the annals of our national democratic electoral process.