By ADEKUNLE WILLIAMS and OLUWATOPE LAWANSON
LAGOS- The 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 News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had declared Monday as public holiday to mark the event.
NAN recalls that June 12 was declared democracy day by the present administration to celebrate Chief MKO Abiola’s victory in the presidential election of June 12, 1993.
Tinubu prayed that Nigerians from all walks of life and all parts of the country should unite to build a more industrious and peaceful society such that all Nigerians might enjoy a greater future.
The presidential candidate said this occasion also compels Nigerians to again thanked 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, 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.
The APC presidential candidate said first, it showed that Nigerians were capable of democratic excellence and conducting elections as good as anywhere else on earth.
Tinubu noted that secondly, Abiola won a truly national mandate, his victory and mandate, though unfairly and unlawfully stolen, showed Nigeria’s unity was not an impractical dream.
According to him, “although we are diverse in terms of ethnicity and religion, we all seek good governance, a better life and the positive things that result from sustained good governance.
The former governor said this year’s democracy Day holds greater significance because they just concluded fair, transparent, and open primaries in his party.
Tinubu congratulated all the other candidates for their nominations and their parties for doing their part to sustain democratic processes as the mainstay of their political life.
He said APC was able to conduct a successful primary election due to the good leadership of President Buhari, and key party stakeholders like the governors, party leadership and the delegates.
Tinubu said God bless Nigeria, praying that the souls of the martyrs of June 12 and the democratic struggle continue to rest in peace. (NAN)