Divergent Views on Democracy Day, Atiku, Obi, PDP: Not Yet Uhuru, Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Hopeful

Divergent Views on Democracy Day, Atiku, Obi, PDP: Not Yet Uhuru, Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Hopeful

As Nigeria celebrates 24 years of democracy, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, and former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have lamented the parlous state of the country’s democracy and governing system. But Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos

As Nigeria celebrates 24 years of democracy, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, and former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have lamented the parlous state of the country’s democracy and governing system. But Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state and Dapo Abiodun have rekindled hope urging Nigerians to remain steadfast and committed.

The two main opponents to President Tinubu in the last general elections stated expressed their despair in their separate statements to commemorate Nigeria’s Democracy Day, which is usually celebrated on June 12th every year in remembrance of the June 12, 1993, general election, proclaimed as the freest and fairest election in Nigeria, and won by Chief MKO Abiola but was later annulled by the military government of General Ibrahim Babaginda.

Mr. Peter Obi in his democratic message to Nigerians noted that the state of Nigeria’s political practices and governance has placed the country on a precarious edge, making the country to be in many lingering challenges. According to him, the country’s electoral system has reduced the citizens’ trust and confidence in the government as opposed to the historic June 12, 1993, elections, which have been generally tagged as the freest and fairest elections in Nigeria’s history.

Decrying the country’s leadership structure, Mr Obi further stated that Nigeria lacks selfless leaders who are committed to the national interest to develop the country regardless of the ethnic and religious affinity: “Our collective choice of the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola as a worthy leader for the nation was saluted by Nigerians, governments, and peoples across the world. Therefore, June 12 underpins our long collective journey to nationhood as a true democracy. However, the current state of our politics tells a different story. Our democracy is deeply troubled, while our nation’s destiny remains uncertain and precarious. We remain a nation in search of solutions to too many basic problems.

“One of these is the search for a credible electoral system that would command the trust, confidence, and belief of all Nigerians, just like June 12 did. We should, therefore, use the commemoration of June 12 as an occasion to return to the true virtues of a truly democratic nation. We achieved that feat on June 12, 1993. In the spirit of June 12, therefore, we need to establish an electoral system that commands the trust of the people.

“What we lack are selfless leaders who are committed to national interest, sustainable development, and innovative thinking that offers every Nigerian, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or social strata, the freedom of choice of abode and protection of lives, property, and ordered liberties”, he said.

The former governor of Anambra State, however, called for respect for the rule of law by obeying the wishes of the members of the public and fulfilling the constitutional demand of responsible governance that will strengthen the missing trust between the government and the people.

“This is in recognition of the tenets and core values of democracy, which rest on respect for the wishes of the people as expressed in their ballots. Above all, the government must respect and protect the institutions of the democratic state by respecting the social contract with the people by meeting their needs, obeying their wishes, and fulfilling the responsibilities of responsible governance as contained in the constitution.

“A cardinal responsibility of government in this regard is respect for the rule of law. Regrettably, we are now in an era where these foundational pillars of democracy are undermined by prevalent impunity, pervasive violence, and bloodletting. The trust deficit between the leaders and Nigerians continues to expand. This is the surest way to restore the confidence of our people in the future of our nation and the promise of true democracy. I, however, urge us all not to lose faith in the inbuilt design of our democratic system to self-correct.

Similarly, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in his statement, urged the country to reflect on its journey to attain democratic status, recounting the period when Nigeria was under the dictatorship of the military regime. Nevertheless, he remarked that the nation continues to practice democracy without fairness and the principle of loyalty, particularly during elections, adding that this practice only increases the citizens’ frustration.

He also condemned the influence of the incumbent administration on the country’s electioneering process, saying with this in Nigeria system, the country still has more work to do to have a genuine democracy. “But democracy without a corresponding commitment to the principles of fairness and fidelity to the rule of play by stakeholders in conducting elections still leaves the people prostrate to dictatorship tendencies.

“For our democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections. When I often take stock of the activism that birthed the current democratic dispensation, I am even more convinced that much work still lies ahead”, he said.

The former vice president also charged the citizens to remain committed to the advancement of self-sustaining democracy, indicating that the country’s democracy is far from freedom. “As it requires collective energy and commitment to attain civil rule, it will require a concomitant commitment to advance the cause of democracy and our democratization process.

“The challenge ahead of us and the future of our democracy will rely heavily on what we do or fail to do today. To achieve this noble goal, our commitment to the cause of democracy must be eternal.

“Folks on the other side, enemies of democracy, whom we are up against, are not resting. To defeat them, we must do more! As I congratulate Nigerians on this day, in celebration of the return to civil rule, I also call our consciousness to the reality that democracy in Nigeria remains in bondage, and it will need the energy of all of us to rescue it”

PDP Accuses INEC, APC of Violating the Tenets of Democracy

The Peoples Democratic Party has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and All Progressives Congress of violating the tenet of democracy by allegedly rigging the 2023 general elections.

A statement signed by the party’s Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba on Monday described the manipulation of the ruling party and the electoral commission in the 2023 general election as a deliberate rape of the country’s electioneering process.

He further described INEC’s inability to conduct the polls transparently as a threat to the democracy, calling on Nigerians to continue to demand undiluted democracy from the government.

He also encouraged Nigerians to be law abiding as the they adhere to the principle of democracy by prioritising the overall interest of the country.

“The barefaced manipulations of the 2023 general elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), amounts to an unpardonable assault and rape of democracy and disregard for the Will of the people; the very ills which Chief MKO Abiola fought and died for.

“June 12 epitomizes the struggle by Nigerians against corrupt, manipulative and anti-democratic system; against injustice, impunity and electoral fraud which INEC, under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu now represents.

“It is indeed heartrending that all the steady progress and gains made by successive PDP administrations in reforming our electoral system have been completely wiped off by INEC in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Our Party however urges Nigerians not to despair but remain optimistic and law-abiding in their hope for a better nation which they earnestly yearn for.

Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Call for Steadfastness and Commitment to Democracy

In his statement, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the role of the past leaders who fought for the country’s democracy. He also urged Lagos residents to remain committed and steadfast in the APC programmes for the state.

The statement partly reads “They and several others are the true heroes of the struggle that fueled the desire for the restoration of democratic governance in Nigeria, on 29th May 1999 and which we have sustained for 24 unbroken years. May the souls of our heroes rest in peace.

“As we celebrate today, my message to all Lagosians is to remain steadfast, guard our fledgling democracy jealously, remain united as one great people with a common destiny and, most importantly, continue to have faith in the “Renewed Hope” mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”

Similarly, the Ogun state Governor, Dapo Abiodun also noted the essence of democracy in the country, encouraging Nigerians to uphold the principles of democracy, justice and equity.

“The commemoration of June 12 serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the principles of democracy, safeguarding electoral integrity, promoting good governance, and respecting the will of the people.

“It stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of the Nigerian people in their pursuit of a democratisation that guarantees freedom, justice, and equal opportunities for all.

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