May 29 to June 12,and its Political Implications
By Japhil yila Esq
Like Plato reasoned, at times, I observed and opined too that, Democracy is a charming form of Government, full of variety and disorder and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.
As for Aristotle, he felt that Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects because men are equally free, for they claim to be absolutely equal.
Nigeria is a dynamic country, and to a larger extent, her dynamism has contributed to the state we are now. Policies made from time immemorial are hardly static but fluid and at the end creates nothing short of regression to the detriment of progression.
It has since became a tradition as well as an unhealthy but a well laid down precedence that a sitting Government fights criticizes and make the people see the previous Government as not only failures but the actual course of the country’s underdevelopment.
Most often, as evidenced, however good a policy a past Government designed, the sitting Government may either neglect it, frustrate it or even destroy it.
Among many of that, take for instance, Nigeria Democracy Day; it’s a public holiday to commemorate the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. May 29 was initially the official Democracy Day in Nigeria which was marked by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 29 May 1999, the day of his swearing in.
And for about 18 years, the day was generally celebrated in Nigeria. But on the 6th June, 2018, just eight days after 29th May had been celebrated as democracy day, the President Buhari led government declared 12th June to be democracy Day. As announced, President Muhammadu Buhari has sighed into the law the public Holiday amendment Bill, which legalizes June 12th as Nigeria Democracy Day.
As was confirmed by Senator Ita Enang, the National Assembly Liaison Officer to the president, on Monday 4TH June 2018. The new law accommodate June 12th as a public holiday in Nigeria, replacing May 29th . May 29th will only be marked as a hand over/ inauguration of new Governments in the country. The signing came just days to June 12th, giving legal backing to the day.
FLASH BACKING ON JUNE 12.
Unarguably, June 12 carries a big essence not only for Nigerians but the world at large, it was on this date in the year 1993 that a National Presidential elections were held ten years after the last one was held.
An election, the international communities and Nigerians tagged the most essential post-independence politically history. It was cried, the most competent, coordinated, freest and fairest election in the country’s life.
Interestingly and statistically about 40 million Nigerians put aside ethnic, religious, class and tribal notion and came en masse and voted in a Presidential candidate with the hope of putting an end to years of military dictatorship.
Albert, unfortunately, the result was never released, but unofficial result by civil society group indicated Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of Social Democratic Party had huge tune over.
In spite that, General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election by citing that it was done to safe guard the interest of Nigeria. And that selfish and uncalculated act plunged the nation into anarchy and crisis.
As the crises escalates, Prof. B.O Nwabueze lamented thus ‘ the annulment of the June 12 presidential election plunged into what indisputably is the greatest political crises in its 33 years life as a nation’.
From the aforementioned, we can simply draw the fact that, since 40 million credible Nigerian voters, voted and more than 70 percent voted in favor of Chief M.K.O Abiola.
And international observers as well as Nigerians judged it as the most credible, competent, freest and fairest election ever conducted in the land. Then we can rightly conclude that the A.P.C led government by President M. Buhari was justified by deeming it fit to leave out May 29th and go for June 12th with the honor and declaration of
On the other side of the coin, it was whispered around that President Buhari’s decision to declare 12 June as Democracy Day was an attempt to appease the Yoruba’s who had since set the day as Democracy Day as well as remembering Abiola’s stolen mandate.
In the same brew, the oppositions and some critics hold that, the declaration of June 12 by the President was an attempt to gain favor, trust and votes from the Yoruba people at the 2019 election Whichever, whatever and by however, June 12 has come to stay –at least for now it so appears.
THE POLITICAL IMPLICATION OF JUNE 12 AS DEMOCRACY DAY
As earlier pointed out, the fluidity and consistency in experimenting with government policies by one government to another over the decades had created a vast lacuna in the development of Nigeria.
The country is still limping and still experiencing the effect of the impact of colonial explorations and received foreign mentality and life – every government that comes to power want to make a distinct, uncoordinated and separate policies, different from the previous government
Check this, out of excitement and the joy of freedom from the draconian military dictatorship, Ex President Olusegun obasanjo declared May 29,1999, the day he was sworn in as president, Democracy Day.
That, it was observed, went well with Nigerians. 18 years later, as usual, for reasons best to the presidency, the day was changed to June 12. Critics and very sensitive Nigerians saw and viewed the move with suspicious eyes, while, nonchalant Nigerians saw and viewed it with open minds.
But it is without gainsaying, that Ex president Olusegon Obasanjo and the P.D.P members would forever see that move as an attack and insult to their prestige. But that notwithstanding, irrespective of how Nigerians see and view it, June 12 is now the official Democracy Day.
Whether or not, an emulating precedence is set in motion as it used to be by Nigeria governments shall be determine with time. Yes, time has always been the determining factor in Nigeria.
Now tentatively, without undue influence of the imagination, one can simply envisage a future Nigeria where a subsequent government would declares 12 June annulled and approved 5th March, 1986 as Democracy Day by justifying that General Mamma Jiya Vatsa, a true patriot since he challenged his senior General IBB and defied most of his orders.
Gen. Vatsa was of the opinion that the policies of Gen. Babangida was illegitimate and sees that of Gen. Buhari as legitimate. Hence, his execution on the 5th March, 1986 under the guise and allegation of coup plotting by Gen. Vatsa.
In another twist, what would stop such leader from declaring 1st October 1979 as the true Democracy Day, by justifying it like, after more than a decade of military dictatorship and hardship, 1979 was the first time Nigeria enjoyed presidential system of government.
Therefore, henceforth, June 12 shall be merely a celebrating day of nothing, but 1st October shall be the Democracy Day . Who knows, or declaring 15th January 1966 as the true Democracy Day by complementing the ‘good works’ of Majors E.N kaduna, Emma and Ifeajuna and company.
Well, this is Nigeria for someone stepping in. Hardly do policies live long enough to see the light of another reality. We all know that successful countries today hold unto the principle that the fast development of a country lies in the fact that good policies of previous Government are uphold by subsequent ones and that’s how a country grow.
It’s high time Nigerian leaders stopped passing blames, insults, or frustrating the policies of previous leaders, for by so doing they will only be ridiculing themselves and eventually convincing themselves that they are not setting a bad precedence for the future of the country. God safe Nigeria!
May 29 to June 12,and its Political Implications