The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Nigerians to join hands and help protect the country`s hard-earned Democracy as the country celebrates its Democracy Day.
Malam Lanre Issa-Oninu, the party`s National Publicity Secretary gave the charge in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja as the party joins in the celebration of the country`s first Democracy Day on June 12.
He urged Nigerians to continue to appreciate the importance and significance of the occasion, by guarding jealously the country`s democracy, while noting that many compatriots paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Democracy Day in Nigeria is being celebrated on June 12 in 2019 for the first time instead of on May 29 endorsed a few years back by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
The change carried heavy symbolism for the country because it had known more years of being ruled by military men than by democratically elected leaders.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Democracy Day Bill into law on June 10, the law specified that June 12 now replaced May 29, which was introduced in 1999 as the official Democracy Day.
By this piece of legislation, the new date would also be recognised as a national public holiday by the Federal Government henceforth.
Following the signing of the law, May 29 would only be marked as a day for handover and inauguration of new governments in the country.
“Today’s celebration is not only significant in the annals of our political history, but also momentous in all ramifications.
“The President Buhari-led APC government has once again demonstrated its avowed commitment to correct past injustices and celebrate true heroes and heroines that paid the supreme sacrifices for the democratic freedom that we all cherish and enjoy today.
“In correcting past injustices, the APC-led government is also committed to equitable administration of our commonwealth for the benefit of all Nigerians, “ Issa-Oninu said.
He noted that in the world over, democracy in its various forms and with its inevitable imperfections remains the most representative system of government.
He assured that the APC-led government would continue to commit itself to the finest ideals of its democratic values and ethos by its progressive actions and programmes for Nigerians.
June 12, 1993, would have marked the return of democracy in Nigeria but was truncated as the actual result of the poll was not released.
The day carried huge significance for older Nigerians.
This was especially so because it was on this date in 1993 that presidential elections were held for the first time since the 1983 military coup.
June 12, 1993, Presidential election was still viewed as the freest, fairest and most peaceful election ever held in Nigeria.
On the day, an estimated 14 million Nigerians irrespective of their ethnicity, religions, class, and regional affiliations came out to elect their president with the hope of ending eight years of military dictatorship.
The euphoria was, however, short-lived as the results of the election were never released.
However, unofficial results gathered from various polling stations by civil society groups across the country, indicated broad national support for the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief MKO Abiola.
Abiola was a businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan from the West of Nigeria.
The then military ruler, retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, decided to annul the results of the election and justified his action by claiming the annulment was on the grounds that it was necessary to save the nation’s stability activities preceding the election were inimical to peace and stability in Nigeria.