The major contenders in the 2023 presidential elections, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, have shared their views on the June 12 Democracy Day celebration with their supporters.
The candidates used the most celebrated election date to campaign to their supporters and other voters calling for their votes ahead of the 2022 general elections.
June 12 had been acknowledged as Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 8, 2020. Below are their comments:
Tinubu said, “The June 12, 1993 election, though almost thirty years ago, provides vital and reassuring lessons to Nigeria today. First, it shows that we are capable of democratic excellence and conducting elections as good as anywhere else on earth. Second, Chief MKO Abiola won a truly national mandate.
“His victory and mandate, though unfairly and unlawfully stolen, shows Nigeria’s unity is not an impractical dream.
“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.
“For me personally, Democracy Day holds a special meaning. I was a close supporter of MKO Abiola and had entered politics believing that we could change the face of this nation for permanent good. When the military dictatorship tried to bury that dream, I was there at the birth of the NADECO movement.
“The democratic lessons I learned then have guided the path of public service which I have tried to follow since those days. On this Democracy Day, I dedicate myself and my upcoming campaign to the spirit of June 12 and what it best symbolises for today’s Nigeria.
“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.”
Obi, via his Twitter handle said, “From 6am today, put this up as your profile photo, WhatsApp status, everywhere. This is how we celebrate our right to vote. This is how we’ll celebrate democracy.
“Whenever I hear of NO STRUCTURE, my answer to it is simple; the 100 million Nigerians that live in poverty will be the structure. The 35 million Nigerians who don’t know where their next meal will come from will be the structure.
“The elderly, our mothers, fathers, and the old ones dying or being owed gratuity/pension will be the structure. ASUU; the lecturers that are being owed, and the students who are not in school will be the structure.
“We’ll create the structure, and they’ll see what the structure is all about. The structure is about human beings.”
Atiku, via his Twitter handle, said that this year’s Democracy Day provides the nation with no room to stomach rhyme and rhetoric. But salient facts, sobriety and the promise of a better tomorrow.
He said, “In fact, this historic June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria, is indeed one of the most epochal political events in our nation, just before the February 2023 General Elections.
“Hence, it is an auspicious period to rally around all compatriots; to think and work in concert for the unity, security, equity, inclusivity, socio-economic prosperity and equitable development of our dear country.
“Let’s seize this unique opportunity of Democracy Day to reinforce our firm commitment to the sacrifices made by the pioneers of our country’s independence, and salute the courage and selflessness of the pathfinders of our current freedom and liberty; by pursuing with vim and vigour the fundamentals of our Constitution, the pillars and principles of the rule of law, of electoral transparency and equity and unity in diversity.
“Let’s not despair by folding our arms in hapless helplessness. The last thing that should die in a person is hope.
“Meanwhile, let’s continue to do our civic duty and responsibility to salvage our dear country together; saving her from falling off precariously from the current socio-economic clift into an abysmal catastrophic end of a failed state, as predicted by some naysayers!”
What you should know about June 12
June 12 is used to commemorate the annulment of the election that has been described as the freest and fairest in the country’s history.
Moshood Abiola, Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in 1993, is presumed the winner of the election.
The election was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida, a former Head of State. But in 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 as Democracy Day.
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