The Social Democratic Party (SDP) says the declaration of June 12 as the nation’s new Democracy Day in honour of the role of MKO Abiola will ever remain one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s enduring legacies.
The SDP National Chairman, Professor Tunde Adeniran, in a message on Wednesday, said that in the annals of the nation’s political history and democratic evolution, June 12 had come to symbolize the most epochal national event of contemporary Nigeria.
Prof. Adeniran said that June 12, 1993 was the historic day that the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola emerged as the defining symbol of the unity in diversity of modern Nigeria.
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He stressed the need for governments at all levels as well as the political elite in general to work towards achieving the great potentials of the country by consolidating the democracy that Abiola and other martyrs laboured and died for to make significant meaning in the life of the average Nigerian.
The SDP national chairman also underscored the need to give due regards to the fine details of democratic creeds of an open society, including ideals of rights and freedom, civil liberty, rule of law, social justice, equity, peoples’ welfare and human dignity, among others.
He said it would be a fitting tribute to the memories those being remembered and ourselves to guard democracy jealously and not allow anti-democratic forces and tendencies to undermine it.
He called on all Nigerians and political office holders in particular to ensure that politics of development that would have impact on the average Nigerians thrived.
“In the spirit and dictate of democracy, we must also resist the temptation of over-militarizing our polity in such a manner that will make Nigeria to become what MKO Abiola himself once termed a land of ‘guided’ democracy. We must make the democracy that he and others died for make meaning in the life of Nigerians,” he added.
“There is no gainsaying that the singular action of that declaration will ever remain one of President Buhari’s enduring legacies, especially bearing in mind the fact that we have had three democratically elected presidents before him, but none gave consideration to the need of revisiting the pride of place of June 12 in the democratic dispensation that brought them to power.“
“But beyond the symbolism and tokenism of officially recognizing June 12 as a national holiday, it is important that we take practical steps and make deliberate efforts to ensure that the spirit and unfading essence of that date is well situated and engrained in our national life and democratic experience.
“We have a duty to comprehensively work out our democracy and federal governance in a most wholesome manner in order to build strong buffer around our democracy and the mandates that are freely given by the people,” he said in the statement.
Part of the statement also read, “Notwithstanding his Muslim-Muslim ticket with Ambassador Babagana Kingibe as the candidates of the SDP, they were massively voted for by the Nigerian electorate across the north and south divides of the country and across religious lines, thereby defeating Bashir Tofa Muslim-Christian ticket of the National Republican Convention (NRC). But quite sadly and inexplicably, the election was annulled, thereby aborting, yet, the bright prospects of Nigeria for greatness.“