President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged that he is subjected to personal torture as a result of the country’s security challenges.
Buhari said he lives “everyday with anguish and agony for victims and inmates of terrorism” in a national broadcast this morning to mark Democracy Day.
The day honors the late Chief Moshood Abiola’s victory in the presidential election of June 12, 1993, which was subsequently invalidated by the Babangida military junta.
Buhari, who is referring to this year’s Democracy Day as his last as president, is optimistic that the indications leading up to next year’s election are favorable, based on the parties’ recent calm primaries.
In honor and remembrance of one of Nigeria’s national heroes for democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, he calls on all Nigerians to work together to ensure the success of the upcoming transition.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer, and Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) standard bearer, have all pledged their devotion to democratic ideals ahead of the 2023 polls.
“On June 12th 1993, Nigerians saw the finest in our citizens as we all walked out to vote peacefully,” Buhari stated, recalling the circumstances of the 1993 annulled election. The elections were invalidated on June 24th, 1993, and we witnessed the worst of our government.
“We must never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of Nigeria’s democracy during 1993. Their patriotism and peaceful struggle should guide our actions, especially when it comes to electing our leaders and holding them accountable now and in future.
“This is my last Democracy Day speech as your President. By June 12th, 2023, exactly one year from today, you will already have a new President. I remain committed and determined to ensure that the new President is elected through a peaceful and transparent process.
“It is important for all of us to remember that June 12th, 2023 will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 Presidential elections. In honour and memory of one of our national heroes for democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, we must all work together to ensure this transition is done in a peaceful manner.
“I am hopeful that we can achieve this. The signs so far are positive. Recently, all registered political parties conducted primaries to select their candidates for the 2023 general elections.
“These primaries were peaceful and orderly. Those who won were magnanimous in their victories. Those who lost were gracious in defeat. And those aggrieved opted to seek judicial justice as opposed to jungle justice.
“I followed the party primaries closely from the state level to the Presidential level. I was very impressed to see across all the political parties that, most candidates ran issued based campaigns. The language and tone throughout were on the whole measured and controlled.
“As we move into the general election campaign season, we must sustain this mature attitude to campaigning and ultimately, voting. We must never see it as a ‘do or die’ affair. We must all remember democracy is about the will of the majority. There must be winners and losers.”
All candidates in next year’s elections, Buhari said, should “continue running issue-focused campaigns and treat opponents with decency.” As leaders, you must all demonstrate great character and never forget that the world is watching us and that Africa looks to Nigeria for leadership. The tone you establish at the top will undoubtedly be emulated by your followers.”
Buhari pledged Nigerians that their right to pick their government would be “kept and protected,” and that efforts would be taken to ensure that the polls were safe and secure for all citizens.
Continuing, PMB said: “I ask all citizens to support and cooperate with our security agencies by reporting any suspicious characters and activities to law enforcement agencies. We can only have a safe country if we are able to prevent crime not after the crime has been committed.
“On this special day, I want us all to put all victims of terrorist activities in our thoughts and prayers. I am living daily with the grief and worry for all those victims and prisoners of terrorism and kidnapping. I and the security agencies are doing all we can to free those unfortunate countrymen and countrywomen safely.
“For those who have lost their lives, we will continue to seek justice for their families against the perpetrators. For those currently in captivity, we will not stop until they are freed, and their kidnappers are brought to justice. If we all unite, we will be victorious against these agents of terror and destruction.”
Tinubu declares, “I pledge myself to the spirit of June 12.”
In a goodwill greeting on Democracy Day, APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu says the June 12, 1993 election “provides crucial and reassuring lessons to Nigeria today,” despite the fact that it was almost 30 years ago.
“First, it demonstrates that we are capable of democratic perfection and running elections as well as anyone else on the planet,” he argues. Second, Chief MKO Abiola earned a mandate that was truly national in scope. His win and mandate, despite being stolen unfairly and illegally, demonstrate that Nigerian unity is not an unattainable goal. Although we are diverse in terms of ethnicity and religion, we all want good governance, a better life, and the great outcomes that come with it.
“For me personally, Democracy Day holds a special meaning. I was a close supporter of MKO Abiola and had entered politics believing that we could change the face of this nation for permanent good. When the military dictatorship tried to bury that dream, I was there at the birth of the NADECO movement. The democratic lessons I learned then have guided the path of public service which I have tried to follow since those days.
“This year, Democracy Day holds even greater significance. We just concluded fair, transparent, and open primaries in our party, the All Progressives Congress. The PDP also concluded their own primaries a few days earlier. Other parties too have conducted primaries. Even though we shall engage in intense and important political competition during the coming presidential campaign, I congratulate all the other candidates for their nominations and their parties for doing their part to sustain democratic processes as the mainstay of our political life.
“The APC was able to conduct a successful primary election due to the sage leadership of President Buhari, and key party stakeholders like the Governors, party leadership and the Delegates. I was fortunate enough to win the APC primary due to the support of so many important people in the party.
“I shall never forget the confidence they have reposed in me and shall always do my best for the nation and my party.
“The role they have given me is one of weighty responsibility and sober considerations.
“On this Democracy Day, I dedicate myself and my upcoming campaign to the spirit of June 12 and what it best symbolizes for today’s Nigeria.
“Just like democracy finally won against dictatorship, I know that prosperity shall overcome poverty, peace shall outlast violence, compassion will conquer hatred and good will defeat evil. Justice, security, and economic development will visit and reside in every hamlet, household, village, and city in our nation. The spirit of June 12 shall expand to become the spirit of Nigeria and our national greatness and destiny.”
Nigerians should not lose hope, says Atiku.
Today’s Democracy Day is “one of the most epochal political occasions in our nation, just before the February 2023 general elections,” according to PDP presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
According to him, it is a “opportune time to rally around all compatriots; to think and work together for our dear country’s unity, security, equity, inclusion, socio-economic prosperity, and equitable growth.”
He asked Nigerians to “seize this unique opportunity of Democracy Day to reinforce our firm commitment to the sacrifices made by the pioneers of our country’s independence, and salute the courage and selflessness of the pathfinders of our current freedom and liberty; by pursuing with vim and vigor the fundamentals of our Constitution, the pillars and principles of rule of law, of electoral transparency and equity and unity in diversity.
“Let’s not despair by folding our arms in hapless helplessness. The last thing that should die in a person is hope.
“Let’s continue to do our civic duty and responsibility to salvage our dear country together; saving her from falling off precariously from current socio-economic cliff into abysmal catastrophic end of a failed state, as predicted by some naysayers!”
Obi to Nigerians: Our democracy’s future is in your hands.
Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, advises Nigerians not to remain aloof from the nation-building process, adding that every Nigerian must play a role if democracy is to be perpetuated in the country.
He emphasizes the importance of citizens re-evaluating the leadership selection process in order to ensure that only the most qualified and talented leaders are elected to office.
He adds: ”Our democratic existence is continually challenged by corruption, tribal and ethnic disunity, religious tension, poverty and inequality. We must not continue to allow these vices to foster among us as a people. The Nigeria of today is obviously a far cry from the dreams of our heroes of democracy. We must, now, all join hands to build the Nigeria of our dreams.
“The nation needs a unifier, to bring back the people together and rebuild our social cohesion. We need a leader, knowledgeable enough to lift Nigerians out of poverty, invest in the critical areas of development and place the country on the path of progress, to ensure that our national democracy is sustained.”
The commemoration of Democracy Day in Ondo was canceled.
The government of Ondo State announced yesterday that the people of the state will not be celebrating Democracy Day with the rest of the country today.
It announced that the memorial service for the victims of the terror attack at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Owo Local Government Area, a week ago will be canceled.
The cancellation, according to Richard Olatunde, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, was made to allow the people of the state to grieve their loved ones who died in the attack.
“Recall that the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, ordered that all flags in the state be flown at half-mast for seven days in honor of the terror attack victims,” he stated.