Nigerians were either in their various homes, stadia, shopping malls, amusement centres or other places of their choice, because the federal government declared Wednesday, June 12, as the country’s new national day for democracy celebration.
Few days ago, President Mohammadu Buhari signed into law a bill recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day celebration cum honour and remembrance of MKO Abiola’s 1993 historical democratic election victory.
Abiola’s democratic victory was thwarted and annulled by a military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, leading to crisis and eventual coup led by Sani Abacha.
President Buhari in his first tenure announced his plan to change the country’s democracy day celebration from May 29 to June 12.
However, whatever date slated for democracy day celebration is not the crux of the matter, but the fact that Nigerians are under autocratic governance clothed with democratic rainbow.
The simplest definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln, is the “government of the people by the people and for the people.”
This definition therefore implies that power resides with the populace of a democratic nation, while the leaders serve as accountable representatives.
This also means that the ingredients of Rule of Law must be completely and democratically observed by the leaders and the leads. This means that a democratic nation must thrive on the opinions of the majority. This means that constitutions and legislations must be to the benefit of the masses.
This means that the citizens must enjoy applaudable dividends of democracy, freedom of expression, freedom to choose their leaders without intimidation, interference, manipulation, imposition and oppression of any type.
This stands for free press, objective criticism, separation of power without legislative interference by the executive, absolute independence of judiciary, equal representation, etc.
Unfortunately, Nigerians and their leaders cannot boldly and proudly affirm that the country enjoys the major ingredients of democracy.
Nigeria government is characterized by ‘do as I ordered you or you will be crushed’ syndrome.
Presently, DAAR Communication, the owner of African Independent Television, AIT and Raypower FM and the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, the regulator of broadcast media in Nigeria are at dagger drawn.
The regulatory commission shut down the DAAR Communication with one of the reasons that the establishment used user generated contents in one of its programme, Kakaki Social.
Eventually, a High Court sitting in Abuja, ordered the DAAR Communication to return to duty but despite the court order, the government under the umbrella of NBC besieged the premises of the establishment with armed police and DSS officers.
Funny enough, the Director General of the NBC, Mr Kawu was arraigned on April 2019 for N2.5billion fraud.
On daily basis, journalists are brutally harassed, unlawfully detained for carrying out their lawful duty. Several media organizations have been attacked at one point or the other by the government under the allegations that they published or broadcast “hate speech”, “they are anti-government,” etc.
Nigerians are celebrating democracy day today, yet they cannot boast of 50% of their leaders who emerged as their unanimous choice.
Nigerians are celebrating democracy day today but Senator Omo-Agege committed highest level of insult on the country’s legislative upper chamber, the Senate, in 2018, when he invaded the Senate house with togs and snatched the symbol of authority, the Maze and he is the Deputy Senate President today because of direct and indirect interferences by the power from the top of executive arm.
Unfortunately, Senator Omo-Agege’s case was silenced without question because order came from the top and smashed the hands of legislators and the “Independent judiciary”.
Nigeria is celebrating democracy day today but the President called Abuja residents “necessary evils” because majority didn’t vote for him.
Nigeria is celebrating democracy day today but Col. Sambo Dasuki is still in jail despite national and ECOWAS courts order to release him. El-Zak Zaky, Olisa Metu, amongst others are still in jail despite court order for their release.
Last general elections was characterized by brutal intimidation and killings of electorates, destruction of electoral materials and other irregularities, particularly in Rivers and Lagos states, including Okoracha been declared a winner “under duress” according to the returning officer, yet court gave judgment in his favour, trashing the INEC’s reason for withholding his certificate of return. Yet, Nigerians are celebrating democracy day today.
Nigerians are celebrating democracy day today but it may not even be a surprise that government will prepare a hangman noose for the writer of this article that just expresses obvious truth.
Until the ingredients of democracy and rule of law are observed and maintained particularly by the leaders. Until leadership positions of the country are evenly distributed. Until executive and the ruling party leaders refrain from interfering with the activities of the legislature and the judiciary, Nigeria is still under autocrattic governance clothed with democratic vail.
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