Tuesday, June 11, 2019,/
8.00AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV / Header
Image Credit: Asorock
President Muhammadu Buhari today signed into law June 12 as Nigeria’s new democracy day.
The act marks the official recognition of the date, that Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola of the then Social Democratic Party, SDP, was widely believed to have won in a landslide victory over his National Republican Convention, NRC, opponent Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa.
The election cancelled by former Military leader General Ibrahim Babangida(Rtd) fuelled what became the bedrock of the current democratic journey.
From the agitations and relentless efforts of pro-democracy groups, trade unions, the media and political allies of Late Chief M.K.O Abiola, the Military administration of Late General Sani Abacha had a difficult time containing the public agitation for civil rule in Nigeria.
In 1998 after taking over as Military Head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar (Rtd) led Nigeria to a successful transition to a democratic government on May 29, 1999.
From then it was proclaimed as a national public holiday for Nigerians, but agitations of the South-Western states and political associates of Late Abiola called for the businessman turned politician’s immortalization by pronouncing June 12 as the country’s democracy day.
The Oodua States (Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti) all declared June 12th as a regional public holiday, to make a strong pitch for what they considered to be the real “Democracy Day.”
Last year at the event to mark June 12th, 2018 President Muhammadu Buhari made a profound statement by apologizing to the family of Chief M.K.O Abiola and conferring a posthumous award on him as the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, GCFR.
A year after, President Buhari has taken the step of officially recognizing the date as the nations day of commemorating civil rule.
By this act, May 29 has given way to June 12 as the country’s democracy day. Meanwhile, personalities like Professor Bolaji Akinyemi(Former External Affairs Minister) and Chief Ayo Opadokun (National Chairman, NADECO) both make a strong case for poverty reduction in Nigeria as the country marks the return to civil rule.