Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says it is not democracy that the country is celebrating on its June 12 Democracy Day (formerly marked on May 29). According to him, for Nigeria’s democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections.
“While what we celebrate today is a return to civil rule in Nigeria, the desire to make our democracy self-sustaining and independent of anti-democratic elements is the new frontier of participation by all democrats,” Mr Abubakar pointed out.
He further explained, “As it requires collective energy and commitment to attain civil rule, it will require a concomitant commitment to advance the cause of democracy and our democratisation process. The challenge ahead of us and the future of our democracy will rely heavily on what we do or fail to do today.”
Mr Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 poll, said this in a statement he personally signed on Sunday to mark the country’s Democracy Day.
“For Nigerians who were around during the dark days of military dictatorships, it is important that we appreciate the successes that we have achieved in making democracy the norm of politics in Nigeria,” noted the former vice-president.
But, he stressed that “democracy without a corresponding commitment to the principles of fairness and fidelity to the rule of play by stakeholders in the processes of conducting elections still leaves the people prostrate to tendencies of dictatorship.”
Mr Abubakar added, “For our democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections. Many times, when I take stock of the activism that birthed the current democratic dispensation, I am even more convinced that a lot of work still lies ahead.”
The PDP chieftain explained that to achieve the noble goal, Nigerians’ commitment to the cause of democracy must be “eternal.”
“Folks on the other side, enemies of democracy, whom we are up against, are not resting. To defeat them, we must do more!” he declared.
While congratulating Nigerians celebrating the so-called Democracy Day, Mr Abubakar called for their consciousness that “democracy in Nigeria remains in bondage and it will need the energy of all of us to rescue it.”