DEMOCRACY DAY: Buhari Pledges Transparent Succession

DEMOCRACY DAY: Buhari Pledges Transparent Succession
  • Spirit of June 12‘ll inspire national greatness – Tinubu
  • Get your PVC, Saraki tells Nigerians 
  • President’s speech not good enough, says DG Save Democracy Africa  

Caleb Ishaya, Paul Effiong, Abuja and Abdul Salaudeen, Ilorin

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said that he is committed and determined to ensure that his successor is elected through a peaceful and transparent process.

Buhari, who stated this in his last Democracy Day speech to commemorate the annulment of June 12, presidential election also, urged all political parties’ candidates to continue running issue-focused campaigns and to treat opponents with dignity, saying politics should never be seen as a ‘do-or-die’ affair.

 He commended the leadership of the nation’s political parties for the smooth conduct of their parties’ primary elections.

 “I will therefore take this opportunity on this very special day to ask all candidates to continue running issue-focused campaigns and to treat opponents with dignity.

 “As leaders, you must all showcase high character and never forget that the world is watching us and Africa looks up to Nigeria to provide an example in governance.

 “The tone you set at the top will surely be replicated in your followers”, he said.

 He noted with delight the significant increase in women and youth participation in the primaries, saying this trend should be sustained and improved upon in forthcoming electoral exercises, including the 2023 general elections.

 “Another positive that came from the 2022 party primaries was the significant increase in women and youth, particularly across all parties. I was very pleased to see this development”, he said.

 “This augurs well for the future. These trends clearly show the level of maturity our democracy has achieved in the last 23 years.

 “As we move into the general elections 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”, he maintained.

 The president also reassured voters that adequate measures had been put in place to safeguard their votes during the forthcoming elections in the country.

He said his administration had made significant investments to reform and enhance the nation’s electoral laws, systems and processes to safeguard their votes.

Besides, former Governor of Lagos State, Sen. Bola Tinubu, said as the country marks this year’s Democracy Day, the spirit of June 12 would expand to become the spirit of Nigeria and national greatness of their dreams.

Tinubu, the Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the 2023 general election, made this known in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, in Lagos on Saturday.

The presidential candidate said this occasion also compels Nigerians to again thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his successful efforts to name June 12 as Democracy Day for their beloved republic.

The former governor said on this Democracy Day, he will dedicate himself and his upcoming campaign to the spirit of June 12 and what it best symbolises for today’s Nigeria.

He said: “Just like democracy finally won against dictatorship, I know that prosperity shall overcome poverty, peace shall outlast violence, and 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.

“My prayer, on this day, is that people from all walks of life and all parts of the country unite to build a more industrious and peaceful society such that all Nigerians may enjoy a greater future”.

Tinubu noted that on this day, Nigerians will be celebrating democracy and commemorating those who had sacrificed so much to establish this most benign and noble form of governance in the land.

 The former governor added that Nigerians should never treat this day as just another holiday on the yearly calendar.

According to him, “We must remember why June 12 is Democracy Day and why all Nigerians should honour it”.

He noted that the June 12, 1993 election would remain the freest and fairest election Nigeria had experienced up to that moment and it yet remains as one of the best elections the nation had seen.

Tinubu said a new way has come to the country even though the present democracy would not have been established without greater struggle, adding that dictatorship would not recede willingly and without struggles.

 “The annulment compelled the nation into an epic struggle of democracy versus dictatorship, choice versus coercion, and people versus power.

“In this confrontation between a bright future and bleak past, goodness and the belief that we can become our better selves triumphed over cynicism and the blatant disregard of a powerful few for the collective welfare of the many.

“Democracy won but it did so at a high price. The man who should have been president lost his life while suffering in an unlawful detention. Other democratic patriots suffered the same fate.

“Lives and livelihoods were endangered and shattered. But the love of the human spirit for freedom and justice is unstoppable.

“No amount of weaponry, no measure of suppressive force and no amount of propaganda can no longer restrain the cry for liberty and the rightful demand for a voice in how society is governed.

“That election, though almost 30 years ago, provides vital and reassuring lessons to Nigeria today”, he said.

Tinubu said God bless Nigeria, praying that the souls of the martyrs of June 12 and the democratic struggle continue to rest in peace. 

 Similarly, onetime President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on Nigerians across the nation to get their PVCs ahead of the 2023 General Election.

 In a statement issued from his Media Office in Abuja, yesterday, in commemoration of Democracy Day, Saraki, acknowledged the sacrifice of Nigeria’s past heroes, who have contributed to the development of the nation’s democracy, and called on all Nigerians of voting age to ensure that they exercise their civic duty by voting next year.

  “As families across Nigeria settle in to commemorate the significance of #DemocracyDay, we all must remember the immeasurable sacrifice of our heroes — as well as celebrate the courage, and persistence of all Nigerians.

 “This is because, throughout this oft-imperfect journey to institutionalize stronger democratic values in all aspects of our lives, there have been hiccups, yet, Nigerians have always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to forge a better, stronger, safer, and more prosperous nation. 

 “In this regard, as we observe today, remembering that the 2023 General Elections are just around the corner, I ask all Nigerians of voting age to ensure that they have their PVCs to exercise their civic responsibility by participating in the election of our leaders at the state and federal levels.

 “It is my deepest prayer that as we work to fix Nigeria by electing decisive leaders next year, our nation and its entire people will experience the much-needed prosperity and peace that all Nigerians have been clamouring for.

However, the Director General Save Democracy Africa,SDA Dr.Ifedi Okwenna has observed that President Muhammedu Buhari 2022 Democracy Day address was too brief  to address most of the country’s crucial problems. 

 Dr. Okwenna explained that the speech was just another repetition of the President Buhari address to the nation that was not strong enough to address Nigerians basic and immediate requirements at the moment in the country.

 Speaking in an exclusive interview with our reporter in Abuja yesterday, the former Guber aspirant and public analyst explained that Nigerians could only deduct two major things from the president speech which he said include: the assurance for credible and transparent elections as well as the arrival of the procured security gadgets for security of life and property in Nigeria.

 While responding to questions regarding what he would have expected in Mr President’s speech, Dr.Okwenna said: Nigerians want to hear what will presents food on their table, Nigerians want to see crack down on all who are perpetrating insecurity in the country as well as measures taken to release those who have been detained illegally in various correctional centres and police station across the country.

He also pointed out that president Buhari’s speech did not give hope to Nigerians as expected, stressing that the speech did not state how corruption, inflation and the continued fuel crisis would be brought to an end.

 The director Save Democracy Africa equally noted that since this is the last Democracy Day address by the president, it should have been an ample opportunity for him to assess his government right from the onset adding that such might help him to lead properly during his last days in office.

 Reacting to questions whether nothing good has happened within Nigeria since the transition from military to civil rule, he said: “The worst democracy is far better than the best military regime’ urging Nigerians to keep faith alive no matter the circumstances they found themselves in.

 “We can’t say nothing good has happened during these years, no, we can’t say that but all we are saying is that we are supposed to be far better now than where we are even as the mother and giants of black race”,he said.

 “If you see numbers of people especially the young ones trooping in to register for their PVCs, you might be surprised, the reasons being that people want change, positive changes that can affect them positively”, he émphasised.

 While reacting to questions on whether he is impressed about the primary elections of the major two political parties that produced Ahmed Bola Tinubu as well as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, he explained:”I am not impressed at all because how can a country with over two hundred million people produced those with ages ranges from 70 to lead them. This is the official age, and what this means is that when one of them eventually becomes president, age will not be on his side”, he explained.

 On the emergence of third–force political parties, he disclosed that such Is needed in true democracy but was quick to point out that if the merger proposal by the third–force polity parties work out, then Nigerians might experience some relief.

 He lamented against the huge amount of money spent by the ruling political party for the purchase of nomination forms alleging that nobody can spend such an amount of money to become a president that will deliver on the mandate to which he was elected to serve.

 He expressed disappointment on the INEC inability to checkmate political parties who spent huge amounts of money to get nomination forms.

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