As Nigeria marks Democracy Day today, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to stand against insurrectionists and killers destroying the country’s democratic institutions.
Tinubu said this in a statement he signed on Friday titled, ‘June 12, 2021: Democracy Day Statement’ – amid secessionist agitations from the South-East and South-West.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, said one of the inspiring accounts that would be written about Nigeria was how it transitioned from the darkness of authoritarian military suppression into the light of democracy and the establishment of popular government based on the sovereign will of the people.
The statement read, “On this memorable day, we mark, with respect, and honour the sacrifices that have allowed democracy to come to pass. We also celebrate in anticipation of a future in which our democratic institutions, concepts and practices take firmer root; transforming this society from what it is to what it can be.
“Through it all, our gaze has remained fixed as if it were focused on a star in the firmament. Our road has remained certain for it is the only road we can reasonably tread. We have moved toward a better Nigeria and greater democracy.”
However, Tinubu decried that Nigeria’s path to democracy had not been without peril, saying there were many who did not care about the journey of democracy.
He said, “They embark on a different trek for they hold to a different concept of governance and of the relationship of government to the people.
“They do not believe in a nation where every person therein has substantive rights, freedoms and liberties as God intended for all of his human creations regardless of the place of birth, ethnic origin, social station or religious creed. These people hate democracy and despise you for choosing democracy over them and their oppressive ways.
“They are violent and cold-hearted. They love nothing, save the destruction of the happiness and peace of others. They will not go away quietly or in consideration of the compelling logic of democratic governance.
“Instead, they set us up in hopes of laying waste to the good society we seek to build. They levy terror against us in vain, hoping that their violent impositions might cause us to lose our way. They raze villages, destroy homes assault and kill innocent people.
“They even attack important symbols of a just society including religious institutions, schools of learning and INEC [Independent National Electoral Commission] offices as if they can snuff out, through violence, mankind’s will to worship God, seek knowledge or engage in participatory governance.
“However, with all that they do, they will not succeed. In trying to pluck a democratic and just society from our hands, they are as mistaken as they are evil.”
The APC national leader added, “Despite the troubles we face, and those troubles are serious, we must stand up for democracy lest we shall find ourselves falling to oblivion. Democratic good governance offers the only reasonable solution to the challenges confronting Nigeria.
“Thus, we must stand for democracy today. We must stand for it even more tomorrow. Ask this question 10, 20, 100 years from now, the answer must remain the same: the people of Nigeria stand for democracy and stand against that which would chase democracy from our land.
“Thus, we stand against those who traffic in insurrection and violence. We stand against those whose commerce is bigotry and hatred. We contend against those who would render the people ignorant and poor.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to use Democracy Day to remember the late Chief MKO Abiola, “whose victory in the June 12, 1993 presidential election was stolen from him.”
“Yet he remained steadfast and surrendered his own life so that we all might enjoy the democratic victory that was taken from him.
“Without his historic effort and sacrifice, this day would not be Democracy Day. It would be a downcast and disappointing one. Let us also remember all others who also sacrificed so much to bring democracy to this land.
“We best honour these people not by reciting their names but by injecting the spirit and hope of democracy into our words and deeds. In becoming better democrats, we also become better at being Nigerians,” Tinubu said.