Nigerians have not met the expectations they yearned for when the country returned to participatory democratic governance on May 29, 1999 after many years of military anti-politics, according to Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe, a governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reflecting on Democracy Day on June 12, Onyemelukwe said 22 years after, despite huge expectations, the consensus seems to be that Nigeria has regressed badly, adding “Nigeria is more fragile today than it was when the country returned to democratic rule in 1999”.
In a statement issued by her media office in Awka to mark this year’s democracy day, Onyemelukwe, first daughter of second Republic Vice President and one of the earliest advocates of Nigeria’s return to democracy, the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, said the country must find the courage to make honest assessments about its journey.
“As we reflect on the progress, or the lack thereof, made so far, we must find it in us to make honest assessments of where we are.
“From the way I see it, the democracy many struggled for, made sacrifices and took great personal risks for, and indeed paid the ultimate price for, is not delivering expected results as of yet.
“People are hungry, angry and feel very visibly unsafe. There is an alarming inflation rate and an even more alarming youth unemployment rate. Almost all the indices are pointing southwards.
“In consequence, many Nigerians have lost hope and are now defaulting to self-help. Insecurity in the country is expansive even as Nigeria’s civic and democratic space continues to shrink, and ungoverned spaces expand.”
Imhandegbelo Greets Obasaki, Esan South East
A chairmanship aspirant in the coming Edo State Local Government Council election, Hon. Louis Imhandegbelo, has felicitated with Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, as the country marked June 12 Democracy Day.
He also urged Edo people to work in harmony with the governor to enable him fulfill his campaign promises to Edo people
Imhandegbelo, in a statement, urged Esan South-East local government people to rededicate themselves to salvaging the local government and positioning it for greatness.
“We are currently faced with numerous challenges, it takes commitment, dedication, sacrifice and noble intentions to get through the rough pitches that we are experiencing, but with God on our side, we will overcome.
“The people and the government hold the key to the solution of our problems and we must work together to make our local government and Edo State great again,” he added.
Imhandegbelo appealed to residence of Esan South-East to work in harmony with the Obaseki-led administration to bring the dividends of democracy to the doorstep of its citizens.
Buhari Is Nigeria’s Worst Ruler – Onovo
Chief Martin Onovo, Head, Policy Positions, Movement for Fundamental Change (MFC), has described the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari as the worst the country has had.
Onovo, the 2015 presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), who spoke to Sunday Independent on this year’s Democracy Day, said his organisation belongs to and support the groups that wished to mark the day with a ‘Buhari must go’ campaign.
He maintained that the campaign was the most appropriate as Buhari had shown himself to be the worst ruler ever in Nigeria and the greatest enemy of democracy in Nigeria.
Onovo stressed: “The principal pillars of democracy are the rule-of-law and the ‘integrity of the ballot’. Both have been deleted by the ruling party through the Gen. Buhari government.
“Violations of the constitution are routine. Violations of court orders are with impunity. INEC after the fraudulent 2019 charade elections got to court to deny its own server that could have exposed their fraud.
“Another important feature of democracy is popular participation through representation. With Gen. Buhari’s globally acclaimed ethnic bigotry and religious fanaticism many groups have been almost totally excluded.
“The most severely affected groups are Northern Christian and South-easterners. The Southern Governors forum implied this very clearly in their communique.”
Onovo maintained that sectionalism had been violating the principles of democracy and the Nigerian Constitution, stressing that Buhari had never attempted to conceal his envy, hatred and desperation to exclude the South East.
“This cannot be tolerated in a democracy. The most appropriate theme for this year’s Democracy Day is ‘Buhari must go’. That is our position and that is our campaign,” he added.
Wike Tasks FG On Ending Insecurity, Banditry
Chief Emmanuel Okas Wike, President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, on Saturday called on the Federal Government to do everything necessary to deploy all available security apparatus towards ending the endemic problems of insecurity, kidnapping, banditry and all forms of violence in Nigeria.
Wike, who made the call in his congratulatory message to Nigerians on democracy day celebrations, urged the political actors not to lose sight of June 12, 1993 and ensure that the labour, struggle and sacrifices which had been invested to ensure the survival of democracy in Nigeria are not in vain
“It’s been 22 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in our great nation. We thank God for the political stability we have been enjoying.
“Though often challenged, but by the grace of God, by hard work and determination, we have been able to survive several odds and cross many bridges in the last 22 years. And to the glory of God, the process is getting more and more entrenched, and the dividends are trickling in by the day.
“I salute those who made this day possible, most particularly those who sacrificed their lives for us to have the much cherished democratic rule we are celebrating today.
“We are indeed indebted to them. They are our heroes. I also congratulate Nigerians, the beneficiaries of this national rebirth for their patience and resilience in the past 22 years.
Nigeria Still Not In Tune With Abiola’s Ideals – Gani Adams
Iba Gani Adams, Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, has expressed revulsion over democratic backsliding in Nigeria.
Adams, on Saturday, at the commemoration of the annual June 12, 1993 elections anniversary, organised by the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), with this year’s theme, ‘June 12 and National Integration’, said it was sad that after 22 years of switch from military to democracy in 1999, Nigeria is still not in tune with the worthy ideals that the late MKO Abiola lived and died for.
He said that Abiola, would never be happy in his grave that the democracy he lived and died for turns out be autocratic in nature and practice.
Lamenting the clamp down on freedom in the nation by the present administration, he said that Nigeria was at war with itself because of a section of the country that “have always betrayed the trust which is the bond that binds us together as a nation”.
A good example of this he stressed is the federal government’s ban and suspension of Twitter platform.
“As far as I am concerned, it is another ploy to tamper with the citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and expression. And if the Federal Government succeeded in banning and suspending twitter, it would easily do the same for other social media platforms.
“Now that the Federal Government has said all social media platforms must be registered to continue operating in the country. We must follow the trend and rise against skewed regulations. We must stop this excessive use of federal might to truncate the ideals of democracy,” he further stated.
Corroborating, the guest lecturer, Prof., David Aworawo, HOD, Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, noted that the annulment of the June 12, 1993 was a setback to national development as Nigeria was worse off now.
Prof. Derin Ologbenla, Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, who bemoaned the political class being Nigeria’s problem, said to sustain Abiola’s aim, equal opportunity and fairness for all should be promoted.
He added that it had become “absolutely necessary now to restructure Nigeria”.
Nigerians Have Gone Through Many Challenges – Dimka
Senator Hezekiah Dimka, Senator representing Plateau Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly has joined millions of Nigerians to celebrate this year’s Democracy Day, describing June 12 as a unique day.
Dimka in a statement, said within the last 22 years of uninterrupted celebration of democracy, Nigerians had gone through challenges that certainly tested the souls of men and women.
According to him, the nation had had to grapple with the economy, insecurity, health concerns and all manners of criminalities which include kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.
Dimka said: “We cannot but channel our energies to concrete dialoguing between and amongst the various regions and ethnic groups that make up the Nigerian federation.”.
The Senate Committee chairman on Drugs and Narcotics stressed: “It is only in understanding our differences that we can appreciate where we should be talking about where we desire to be, should be the concern of our people generally.
CAN Asks Churches To Observe Prayers
In commemoration of June 12, Democracy Day, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked churches across the nation to observe special prayers in their services today, so as to end social injustice and restore peace in the land.
A letter signed by CAN’s secretary, Rev. Daramola Bade Joseph, reads: “I write to notify you of the request of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to organise National Prayers for the unity, peace and progress for the nation in order to commemorate the Democracy Day.
“In view of the above matter, the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, has approved June 13, 2021 for the National Prayers to mark Democracy Day in all Churches across the nation.
“You are to kindly comply with this instruction and organise this prayer in your various local Churches to mark Democracy Day. Please, note that this prayer would go on simultaneously in all Churches across the Nation including the National Church.”
Nepotism, Corruption, Injustice Now Democracy Dividends – NUJ Delta
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, has stated that corruption, acquisition of wealth, nepotism, injustice, inequality in the distribution of dividend of amenities and other vices inimical to a healthy nation have overtaken the Nigerian democratic space.