Connect with us


Nigerians express views on June 12



Today marks six years since President Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 as democracy day. As we celebrate this milestone, HOSEA NYAMLONG and JIDAUNA DARING went to town to sound out people on what they feel about the change in date and how it has impacted on the lives of the people.

Dr. Ezekiel Major Adeyi, Head of Department of Political science, University of Jos

Democracy day was initially observed on May 29 to put an end to the long military rule. The political class has actualize its dream of establishing  civil rule in Nigeria’s democratic process on May 29,1999.

However, those who  participated in aborting and truncating the June 12, 1993, election that led to Sani Abacha and his cohorts taking over, have discovered that democracy has no alternative  and that the only way they could pay for their sins was to make June 12 democracy day.

Realizing that citizens of the country, across the ethno- religious divides voted for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), it only made sense that the peoples’ mandate be respected.

Recall that before the date was changed, President Muhammadu Buhari for whatever reason accepted and acknowledged the Presidential candidate of SDP, late Chief M.K.O Abiola, as winner of the June 12 election and he was honoured. This was meant to atone for the crime committed against the nation by those who annulled the election.

But in the actual sense, when we look at it, democracy day is not the question of May 29 or June 12. What matters most is to have  good governance, equity, citizens having a sense of belongings (minority), sure of security when they go to their farms, without fear of being killed or cows  eating up their crops. Until we ensure good governance through democratic process, the change from May 29 to June 12 cannot make  meaning.

Well, as a political scientist, government should not sweep the basic things under the carpet but should know that citizens are more comfortable when there is good governance, when the prices of food in the market is affordable, when there is improvement in education, good medical services in our hospitals etc,that would be more meaningful to Nigerians

It was just a pronouncement. Those who voted and  those who were killed while protesting the cancellation of the  election results were not recognised in any way nor were the dead compensated apart from the family of late M.K.O Abiola.

On a final note, government should know that the electorates do not vote on sentiment, so leaders that are privileged to be voted through out popular mandate must ensure they provide good governance. They  should be thinking about what they can do to better the future of the country.

Ayuku Pwaspo, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State Council

The media played a significant role towards Nigeria’s independence from Colonial rule and Nigeria’s independence from military rule. Nigeria’s democratic journey in 25 years has been turbulent and challenging one. Till date, democracy in Nigeria is still evolving.  As watchdogs of the society, the media has sustained its function of educating the public on various issues and serves as a link between the government and the people. The media which serves as a mirror has kept the leaders and electorate in check through reportage and discourse on national issues. The media continues to set agenda for government and highlights societal ills, corruption and encourage citizens participation in governance.  Because of the media, Nigeria is today celebrating 25 years of uninterrupted democracy.

Since 1999, May 29th was celebrated as Democracy day because it was the day,  a democratically elected President took over power from a military regime. In 2018, President Mohammadu Buhari declared June 12, as the new date to celebrate Democracy Day to recognise and honour Chief MKO Abiola who was the  winner of the 1993 elections, acclaimed to be the freest in the history of Nigeria but was, however, annulled by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida. Before then, the Yoruba’s in the South-West celebrated June 12 as Abiola day and there were agitations for the day to be recognised and MKO honoured for losing his life in the quest for the entrenchment of democratic governance in Nigeria.

The adoption of June 12 as Democracy Day therefore, was received with mixed feelings by different sections of the media. Reason being that the owners of the different media organisations have their specific goals and interests and that reflected on the reports published or reported by such media outfits to  celebrate June 12. Again, May 29 is still being recognised as the handover date in Nigeria and this in a way has dampened the excitement of June 12 in the sense that, the media would have to still focus on the initial May 29 celebration and sustain same till June 12. It may interest you to know that the media in the South-West celebrate June 12 more than other regions based on the reasons i mentioned earlier.

As citizens of Nigeria, we must acknowledge that June 12 has come to stay. I want to urge my colleagues to sustain reportage on the principles of democracy, unity, peace and development of the country irrespective of religious, ethnic and regional differences. Journalists should desist from reportage that are insensitive to the collective interest of the nation. The sustenance of democracy in Nigeria depends on the media and this is enshrined in section 22 of the 1999 constitution as amended. To achieve this, the media must promote social justice, human rights, rule of law. In addition to this, the media must sustain voter education, the independence of INEC and PLASIEC in the case of Plateau to ensure that the electoral process is free and fair. Journalists should put the interest of the nation above self and play the game by the rules and also focus on developmental journalism with focus on national integration for a peaceful society where the rights of citizens are respected.

Head Teacher COCIN Salvation Nursery/Primary School, Jenta Adams, Jos

Democracy is the government by the people, of the people and for the people.

It is a thing of joy that today, Nigeria is celebrating 25 years of uninterrupted democracy from the long history of the military rule.

As a citizen, I have mixed feelings, Nigeria is yet to be there (nascent democracy), looking at what is happening to our economy and politics.The country is battling with many challenges, among which is insecurity.

In a democratic set up, the peoples’ welfare and the security of their lives and property matters, but as it is today, Nigeria is faced with the issue of insecurity. This has made citizens not to sleep with their two eyes closed.

In the political arena today, the system is marred with lack of credible, free and fair elections. Our elections are characterise by a lot of rigging. So, the mixed feelings arises as a result of the denial of the mandate of the citizens.

Normally Nigeria used to celebrate her democracy day on May 29, but the Buhari declared June 12 as democracy day instead of the May 29.

According to the former President, June 12 is seen as the day the most credible and fair election took place in the country in 1993 won by Late Chief M K O Abiola.

Historically, the election is the most accepted general election ever conducted in Nigeria. The  election cannot be compared with what is obtainable now. It is therefore a day set aside to celebrate the gains of democracy.

It is our hope that as a nation, we will imbibe such character to sustain the democratic processes.

So far, Nigeria has achieved in some sectors, like in education, our universities are better funded, today every state in Nigeria has a federal university, education is much easer to access now, not like in the past.

I believe the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria, depends on our leaders today and the ones that will come in the future.

Mallah Grace Monday, a resident at Donkat Bali Road Jos

Celebrating 25 of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria as a country, is an achievement so far.

Our leaders have  a lot of work to do in order to sustain the democratic journey of the nation.

Nigeria is faced with the issue of insecurity, economic challenges, lack of social amenities.

I believe our leaders can do better in ensuring that the welfare of the citizens are met by providing the basic needs and also creating an enabling environment for them to thrive.

Coming down to the change of date of Nigeria’s democracy day from May 29 to June 12 is the Buhari administration’s way of celebrating the credible election  conducted in 1993.

As a citizen,the change of the date does not matter,what matters most,is that citizens want to see the dividend of democracy cut across the entire country in terms of the welfare,development and ensuring the security of lives and property of citizens.

Our leaders should make us proud by doing the needful in sustaining the democratic processes in order to better the future of the country.

Jesse Azard Eleazar,a resident of Jos North Local Government Area

Nigeria today is still waxing stronger. Despite challenges, we are still one as a nation.

Nigeria is yet to attain its potentials, the democratic processes is not yet mature, our elections are not free and fair, while citizens are not satisfied with the government.

As a citizen of Nigeria, my prayers for our leaders is to lead the country to the promised land by ensuring that good governance is achieved at the end of the day.

About the June 12, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari recognized the truth and by declaring June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day to those heroes that paid the supreme prize for democracy.

Late M.K.O Abiola won the elections in 1993 general elections, but was anulled by the former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.

I think by extension, Buhari has apologized to the Yoruba people and the entire country. Buhari has strengthened the democratic processes of the country by declaring June 12 as the hallmark of democracy in Nigeria.

I belief in Nigeria and the way forward for democracy to be sustained in the country is by citizens supporting any government in power, irrespective of our religion, tribes, culture, norms and values

Sustainability and continuity of June 12 is possible, only if we work as one, irrespective of our differences. God Bless Nigeria.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *