Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said June 12 remains a threshold in Nigeria’s national life and demanded some soul-searching from Nigerians.
Abubakar said in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday that the day was one to ask the salient question of “How better off are Nigerians?” According to him June 12 demands something bigger than merely declaring it a Democracy Day.
“June 12 is at the soul of our democratic struggle; a threshold in our national life. The significance of the celebration of June 12, 1993, Presidential Election is a reminder of our history to becoming a democratic country. On this day 26 years ago, Nigeria voted for democracy against the jackboot notion of oppressive totalitarianism.
“The collective decision by Nigerians to elect democracy on that day was not to aggrandise the political elite or to replace military dictatorship with civilian autocracy. No. The choice of democracy was to restore power to the people,” he said.
“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.”
“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. 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. As we celebrate yet another episode of the June 12 struggle, the desire for hope is more preponderant today much as it was 26 years ago. So, for all true lovers of democracy, let us keep the hope alive.”