News Update

June 12 Democracy Day Speech by Tinubu, A Parody of Democracy?

Last Monday, Nigeria celebrated this year’s version of June 12 known as Democracy Day, with a public holiday. The day is in commemoration of the annulment by former military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida, of the result of the Presidential Election of 1993, believed to have been won by the late Kashimawo Moshood Abiola.

That annulment came after the then chairman of the country’s electoral umpire, Professor Humphrey Nwosu, risked his life to, against the wishes of the military junta, start announcing the results of that election that showed that Abiola was in an overwhelming lead against his opponent, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, from the northern part of the country. Nigerians had massively voted for Abiola despite Abiola being a Muslim like Tofa because they believed in Abiola.

In his Democracy Day Speech, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu had described the events of June 12, 1993 as a watershed in the country’s democracy, while condemning the truncation of that election that he said Abiola won.

But Tinubu’s assertion appears to be in sharp contrast to the current situation in the country where he, Tinubu, is believed to be sitting on the popular mandate of another person, Mr Peter Obi of Labour Party. Just as in Abiola’s case, Obi is generally believed to have won the Presidential Election of February 25, 2023, only for the electoral umpire to declare Tinubu winner, quite unlike what Nwosu did by bravely defying the odds to do the right thing in 1993.

For Tinubu to therefore condemn the truncation of Abiola’s mandate while he is currently sitting on another person’s mandate appears to be a mockery of our democracy.

While giving his Democracy Day Speech, Obi had urged Nigerians to allow the spirit of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election to inspire them to correct what he described as the error of this year’s presidential poll.

Indeed, Obi could not have been more correct. It is inconceivable that in this age of high-tech, Nigeria would still be grappling with such fundamental issues as not conducting elections satisfactorily and on top of that, suppressing the will of the people, while pretending not to know.

As Obi would always say, it is not about him but about the future of the country, particularly, future elections in the country. It is common knowledge that should the shambolic presidential election that produced Tinubu be allowed to stand, it could well spell the end of democracy in the country as the citizenry would have lost faith in elections.

That is why we insist that the right thing must be done if we hope to progress as a country. It is also hoped that the judiciary in Nigeria will live up to its perception as the last hope of the common man by refusing to be cowed into toeing the path of infamy.

What happens in the next few months will no doubt determine whether our avowal to be a democratic country is real or just a parody.