Democracy Day: June 12, Okei-Odumakin warns politicians

Okei-Odumakin

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, president of the Centre for Change Initiative, on Saturday, warned politicians not to allow a repeat of events that led to June 12, a date which will now be recognised as Democracy Day.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, she described the Senate’s approval of the date as a welcome development and a signal of hope for Nigeria’s democracy.

Okei-Odumakin
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin

President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 12 last year, immortalised and directed that Nigeria’s Democracy Day, hitherto marked every May 29 for the past 19 years, be shifted to June 12, to honour Chief Moshood Abiola.

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Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the result of which was annulled by former military ruler, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, on June 23, 1993.

Okei-Odumakin said: “It shows hope for our democracy and it is an affirmation of our long-held position that the Nigerian state must officially recognise June 12 as the authentic Democracy Day in the country.

“There is no doubt that June 12 symbolises our journey towards ending military rule in Nigeria.

“Beyond this official declaration, our government, politicians and Nigerians must embrace every other lesson that June 12 elections symbolises.

“First is the fact that free and fair election is a sine qua non in a democracy. Politicians of today should learn the value of fair contest by eschewing all forms of electoral malpractices and violence.

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“The electoral umpire must show uncommon determination to do the best they can in the discharge of their very important mandate.

“Nigerians too must show unity of purpose by putting aside their religious differences in the collective pursuit of national interest,’’ the civil rights activist said.