Democracy Day In Nigeria, Our Roles And Responsibilities
By Alvan Chinaka 8 months ago
Democracy Day is June 12, a national public holiday in Nigeria. Until June 6, 2018, when the Buhari-led administration changed it, it was held annually on May 29.
It has long been celebrated on May 29, because it is the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking in effect, the start of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria's independence from colonial rule in 1960.
Nigeria's Democracy Day is a public holiday to commemorate the restoration of democracy in the Federal Republic Nigeria. May 29 was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected Olesegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966, which was interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.
There have been many agitations from various groups and quarters in the country, all seeking that June 12 be used as Democracy Day in Nigeria. On June 6, 2018 however, eight days after May 29, 2018 had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria, then declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day. This was done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged by all and sundry, to be Nigeria's freest and fairest elections. It was, however, cancelled by the Ibrahim Babangida Junta.
Remember, Nigeria gained independence in 1960 from Great Britain, before then, so many things happened to the entity Nigeria. Then she fell prey to the first of so many military coups on 15th of January 1966, and then, a civil war afterwards. This war lingered, and democracy was briefly restored from 1979 to 1983 to the country, but for most of its independent history, Nigeria was ruled by a series of military juntas.
The last major military ruler was Gen. Sani Abacha who died suddenly in 1998. His successor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar promised a transition to democracy, and accordingly a new constitution was adopted on May 5th, 1999, within this period of time, elections were held and retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who had previously governed Nigeria as a military ruler, was elected the new president.
This end of military rule brought about a new era of regular elections as well as the return of civil liberties, free press and an end to arbitrary arrests and torture, although human rights violations still occur regularly. Nigeria also began a long campaign against the bureaucratic and military corruption that had paralyzed its economy and severely tarnished its international reputationRelated: Money-making Rituals: Real Or Imaginary?
Democracy is the beauty of any nation that practises it, as it gives the people the opportunity to say their mind at every point in time over the issues of governance.
Nigeria, our country keeps developing and there are still so many things to improve on, so as to come to the level, it is being expected to reach.
Change is constant and same time, changes are necessary for political, economic, and social development in every democratic or other forms of government.
Today, May 29th being a day for transition of power in Nigeria is a day to reflect on, so as to know how far we have gone as a people. A man, from the east once said, "A man who doesn't know where the rain started drenching him, wouldn't know where it all dried up"
No country is perfect, as nations are constantly learning how to tolerate, stay out of corruption, choose the right leaders and plan for the future. These tasks are not easy. Being a republic is never simple.
The Origin of democracy.
The term democracy, has old Greek roots. It means a rule of the people. Democracy term was first mentioned about 2500 years ago in Greece cities. Back then, it was the opposite to 'aristocracy', a form of government. The modern type of democracy developed in the 19th and 20th centuries.
To be addressed a democratic country, became the latest trend ever since the 1970s. A lot of nations share the values carried by the term and Nigeria is not an exception.
Nigeria, celebrates May 29th as the official public holiday – Democracy Day.
However, the democratic start point really, began in 1960, and it was on the 1st of October, when Nigeria publicly announced its independence from Great Britain.
After independence in 1960, (that year Nigerians became the citizens of the 4th biggest democratic country in the word) Nigeria experienced it's first military coup in 1966, and a year later the new civil war broke out in 1967 and lasted til 1970.
Today in Nigeria, there will be transition of power from former elected political leaders, to the newly elected ones. This is the beauty of democracy. In most areas, it is a very emotional and sad moment for many leaders who have been voted out by the people, as to some, it is a happy one having been reelected.
Nigeria is still on the path of greatness as many factors seem to drag her feet down. To the citizens, this is a time for total reflection towards a mindset of change and progress. We must at this time embrace a lifestyle of change to see that the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain. To this, we must be our brother's keeper in any way we can. Strive to be law abiding, and together Nigeria will be great again.