In recent times, precisely the 6th of June, 2018. The President, Mohammadu Buhari shook the nation with the announcement of June 12 as the day to celebrate Nigeria’s democracy instead of 29 May that had been held and celebrated annually for 18 years.
According to the document released by the Presidency and duly signed by President Buhari, the move was born out of the fact that June 12 is symbolic in the lives of Nigerians (especially the South-Western part of the country) as it represents the day millions of people “express democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our democracy”. How nice to have just known sir!
It should be know that on 12th June, 1993, elections were conducted under Buhari’s administration where Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO) and General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) contested for the seat of the Presidency which led to MKO winning but denied and IBB emerging as the winner.
Although, the then Head of State, Buhari was out of the country on Hajj visit and subsequently arrested and placed under house arrest, nothing was visibly done to reverse IBB’s pronounced victory and so, gradually the issue was swept under the carpet or placed closed to the grave about to the buried (if not even buried) only to be awakened after 18 years when the key player (Chief MKO) had died.
According to the President, the then denied winner, MKO is/was announced the Victor to be awarded Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCGR), his then running mate GCON and the one who spoke tirelessly about this injustice, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN, GCON, respectively.
While some Nigerians including Ogun and Lagos states Governors see this move by the President applaudable, others described it as “Greek gift” as it presents PMB’s desperate move to woo the people of the west for reelection into office come 2019.
As much as I wish to praise Buhari for setting this long did right (I mean, no denying the fact that some of us think June 12 should have been Democracy day all along) and congratulating Nigerians nation wide and in diaspora, I still wonder why it took the President three (3) whole years to arrive at this conviction. The questions begging for answers remain: Why Was this issue raised and concluded this particular year (electioneering year)? What is the motive behind the President’s announcement, could it be that he feared he had lost the West? Or could he truly be desperate as opposed by Kola Abiola, Iyabosa Uwugirem and others?
What ever the answer, I say Kudos fellow Nigerians on *our* democracy day!