The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23rd election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has berated the federal government for declaring June 12 Democracy Day when it always ‘disrespect the rule of law.’
He said twenty-six years ago, Nigerians voted for democracy against the jackboot notion of oppressive totalitarianism, adding that “The collective decision by Nigerians to elect democracy on that day was not to aggrandize the political elite or to replace military dictatorship with civilian autocracy. No! The choice of democracy was to restore power to the people.
The statement reads in parts: “It suffices it to state that the idea of June 12 is not merely to declare it as a Democracy Day – much as celebratory and commendable it might seem. The idea behind the event of June 12, 1993, embodies something much bigger than that. It was a threshold moment in our national life that demands of us as Democrats to do a soul searching and ask the salient question of all time: how better off are Nigerians?
“It is not enough to declare June 12 a Democracy Day when the government of the day is disrespectful of the rule of law and wantonly disregards court orders on issues that border on fundamental human rights. It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when the ordinary people of Nigeria still don’t have the freedom to find a better life from the suffocating grip of poverty, when Nigeria is now the global headquarters of extreme poverty.
“It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when a disproportionate number of citizens are not sure of where their next meal will come from and when the sanctity of their lives is not guaranteed. It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when freedom of the press, and of speech, fundamentals of democracy is being assailed.
“As a compatriot who stood shoulder to shoulder with the icon of the June 12 struggle, Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memory, I know first-hand that the choice of HOPE as his campaign slogan wasn’t merely a populist tokenism. He didn’t mean to deceive Nigerians with a hope he could not deliver upon. And, today, the minimum requirement for any June 12 convert is to demand of them wherever they may be – either in government or in private lives – to deliver on the promises they made to the people”.
Waziri Adamawa further described as unacceptable that ” An administration which had an opportunity of four years to deliver the promise of change to Nigerians, not only reneged on that promise but propelled the country into a near-comatose state will lay claims to being a true friend of the June 12 struggle.
Atiku who charged Nigerians to keep hope alive also explained that “To be a lover of June 12 is to believe in the common good of the people. June 12 is about the political leadership having the focus to retool the Nigerian economy. It is about having the skills to create wealth and jobs for the teeming mass of unemployed. It is not about the inclination for shared pains; it is about shared prosperity, he added.