June 12: 25 Years Of Democracy, A Referendum — Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu has implored Nigerian leaders to recommit to the values of inclusivity, accountability and transparency in the bid to guarantee a democracy that flourishes and endures for generations to come.
According to him, after 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, it was time for all Nigerians to partake “in building a nation where every voice is heard, where every potential is realised, and where every citizen is empowered to contribute to the collective good.”
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The President, who spoke on Tuesday during the 2024 Democracy Day Lecture at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that at this point of the nation’s democratic journey, every Nigerian, irrespective of background, must be given a chance to contribute to the nation’s shared destiny.
President Tinubu, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, in a statement by his spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha, said the lessons learnt after 25 years were that democracy is a journey that must be constantly nurtured and watched closely.
He stated: “Our progress has been marked by both triumphs and trials, each serving as a reminder of the preciousness of our democratic principles. As we move forward, let us recommit to the values of inclusivity, accountability, and transparency, ensuring that our democracy not only endures but flourishes for generations to come.
“The future of Nigeria lies in our hands, in our ability to dream, innovate, and act with courage and conviction. Let us embrace this moment with a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that the path we tread today will shape the Nigeria of tomorrow. This is an invitation for each of us to participate in building a nation where every voice is heard, where every potential is realised, and where every citizen is empowered to contribute to the collective good.”
President Tinubu observed that for the nation to have sustained democracy for 25 years, the longest in the country’s chequered history, was evidence of “the enduring sacrifices of several generations of patriots.”
Passing his verdict on the democratic journey so far, the President declared that 25 years was time enough to ascertain the effectiveness of any experiment, just as he said, “Our democratic experience, despite the lows and the highs, is a telling referendum on our aspiration to build a nation that serves the interests of all, a federation that has not conspired against any benign group.
“We are here because the alternative is a descent into dystopia. Today is a moment to reflect on our journey so far. The tragedies Nigeria survived to settle for this democracy, the fourth of such experiments, must inspire each of us to play our part to honour the labour of our founding fathers and mothers and remind ourselves of the principles that drove their resolve to build for us a diverse nation that has defied the pessimism of detached agents of anarchy,” he added.
Noting that it is not just a day of remembrance, the President stated that it is a call to action, even as he said young and competent Nigerians, including the patriotic and innovative, must all be engaged in crafting a succession plan that secures the desired future.
Earlier, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, highlighted the sacrifices made by heroes and heroines who fought for democracy, with many paying the ultimate price.
He saluted the courage of Nigerians in upholding democratic values despite challenges. “Our democratic journey is one of optimism as reversal is never contemplated. Today provides an opportunity to salute the resilience of our people in believing in democracy,” Akume stated.
On his part, chairman of the occasion, former President Goodluck Jonathan, noted that the return to civil rule in 1999 marked a new phase for national unity, peace and progress.
He cited modest gains over the past 25 years, including economic growth, infrastructure development, and peaceful political transitions.
Jonathan however maintained that democracy remains a work in progress. “Our democracy, though young, has weathered storms and proven its endurance. We must continue deepening our democratic roots to ensure all Nigerians benefit,” he stated.
In his keynote address, former Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, called on politicians to prioritise citizens’ needs.
“Democracy is about the government of the people, not just politicians. We therefore need to prioritise the needs of the populace ahead of our own needs. We also need to become better democrats. We need to fully imbibe the culture of democracy. We need good winners and good losers,” he added.


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