No matter the inherent justification and philosophy behind the policy shift in respect of ideal democracy day for the nation, what is clear abini tio is that May 29 was controversial and seriously faulted as unideal. Until recently,there has been a continuous agitation that June 12 should rather be adopted by the federal government as the nation’s democracy day. Today, the struggle for policy reversal and redirection has yieded the fruitful results with the signing into law the bill to change the nation’s democracy day from May 29 to June 12 by President Muhammed Buhari. This is indeed a true turning point in the nation’s political history.
Before this moment, the martydom of late MKO Abiola despite the supreme sacrifice he made was largely controverted due to non recognition of June 12 as democracy day. Now that the federal government by executive fiat and legislation has recognized June 12, MKO Abiola has moved from mere symbol of democracy to become an hero and the day the mandate was freely given to him now legally recognized as the nation’s democracy day.
The resurrection of the spirit of June 12; though, displeasing to some sections of the ruling elite,is a clear indication that any acts of injustice could still be revisited and redressed no matter the longevity. Twenty six years after the criminal annulment,the injury healed and the victim’s family adequately recompensed.
It gladdens my heart that the struggle for de-annulment or agitation for either restoration or official recognition of June 12 which was hithato perceived as Yoruba cause is now a national heritage. With the current development in the country, President Muhammed Buhari has justifiably changed the erroneous perception that June 12 is an ethnic issue. In this respect, President Muhammed Buhari deserves accolades.
Genuine and sincere efforts have been made to correct the wrong impression about the status of the sacred mandate and he will be remembered for imaging June 12 as national ethos. With the current twist,the conspiracy orchestrated by some parochial elite and sections of the elite have become destroyed perpetually.
Beyond the conceivables, evil machination of the power elite is now being overcome.To understand this, one must reflect on the social realities and implications of the conflicting court rulingswhich was used to dig the grave of the mandate and of course the mysterious death of the custodian of the mandate has also elongated the timeline for the realization of the feat we have achieved now.
Today serves as a sad reminder of our ugly past and a true reflection of the decadence observable in our judicial process. Obviously, today’s celebration is a memory trace of how some judges and courts played inglorious roles in truncating our past democratization process with the criminal annulment of people’s sacred mandate.
As we mark this year’s democracy day, it is a celebration of triumph of forces of democracy over the reign of anti-democratic elements across the country. Though, the success is delayed but it is eventually not a perpetual denial. The masses are the winners.
This is a moment of joy for those they believe in the sanctity of democracy, a time to groan by the power elite with their captive audience for their evils of past years.
How I wish the the inner minds of the likes of IBB, Nzeribe, Obasanjo etc be revealed to the world as the nation holds today its democracy day.
Today is full of both the sweet and bitter memories. The sweetness of the eventual success we are celebrating today worthy of funfare and jamboree. Whereas the deaths of countless compatriots during the struggle and millions of property lost were bitter pills. Of course, today’s democracy day doesn’t come on a platter of gold. It comes as a product of our collective struggle and reward for our sweats. So, the credit for the success is not only for the Abiolas or Yoruba race, it is for the lovers of democracy and the nation at large.
Onike, a public affairs analyst and author, writes from Oyo, Oyo State.