A federal lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, has joined many other Nigerians in advocating the recognition of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
He was speaking on Channels Television’s political programme, Sunday Politics, as Nigerians marked the 23rd anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.
The poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola but was annulled by the then military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Chief Abiola later died in custody on July 7, 1998 following his arrest and detention by the regime of General Sani Abacha, for attempting to actualise his mandate.
Senator Melaye said, “Without gainsaying, one will say that it is mandatory, pertinent and obligatory and it is a bitter necessity that as a government and as a people, we do recognise the historical significance of June 12.
“I am one of the advocates of declaring that day as our Democracy Day because it has a lot of historical and revolutionary value.
“I will support that that day be declared our Democracy Day and we should continue to herald that, we should continue to agitate that and I’m sure someday sometime, reason and logic will come to play.”
Struggle For Emancipation
He said that the reason why June 12 is not yet recognised nationally is because most politicians or people in government do not understand the significance of the day.
Melaye said that not every Nigeria politician is a democrat, “Only democrats will understand the significance of June 12.
“But when those who do not even believe in the tenets and doctrines of democracy find themselves in position of authority, they may not actually recognise the struggle that brought about the June 12 victory.”
Speaking further on the significance of June 12 if recognised as Democracy Day, Senator Melaye explained, “Every struggle has the impetus to propel people to the next level. Today most public holidays in the United States of America are significant and have positive concomitant effects with some revolutionary struggle.
“The June 12 struggle for me was a struggle for emancipation, freedom and departure from the old order and giving it that historical resonance by recognising that date will have a resultant effect on Nigeria’s political evolution now and in the future.”