Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said June 12 remained a
threshold in Nigeria’s national life and demanded some soul-searching
Mr 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 Mr Abubakar, 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
“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.
According to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate
in the last general elections, there is still disrespect for the rule of
law and disregard of court orders on issues that border on fundamental
He said that it was not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when
ordinary Nigerians still didn’t have the freedom to find a better life
from the grip of 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
“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.”
Mr Abubakar said that as a compatriot who stood shoulder-to-shoulder
with the icon of the June 12 struggle, the late Chief MKO Abiola, he
knew first-hand that the choice of HOPE as his campaign slogan wasn’t
“merely a populist tokenism.” He said Mr Abiola did not mean to deceive
Nigerians with a hope he could not deliver upon.
“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.” Mr Abubakar said
that being a lover of June 12 was 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.
“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.”