Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has, on the occasion of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration, advocated the commencement of a new conversation that will arouse the citizens’ confidence of a better life and a brighter future.
Fayemi said June 12 holds a significant lesson that a new and better Nigeria having a democracy that instils confidence of the citizenry is possible.
The Ekiti helmsman who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) stated this in a commentary entitled: “Reminiscences on June 12 Struggle and its Imperatives” made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti, on Friday, in commemoration of the this year’s Democracy Day.
Fayemi paid glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving official recognition to June 12 as the nation’s Democracy Day describing it as a symbolic gesture which has provided a psycho-social healing for the people who sacrificed for the enthronement of Democracy.
The Governor noted that Buhari, by the gesture, would be fondly remembered after he might have left office for giving June 12 a significant place in the national diary and acknowledging the symbol of the struggle, Chief Moshood Abiola as the rightful winner of the election and taking a step further to give him the nation’s highest honour.
Buhari’s gesture, Fayemi said, was also made remarkable by the highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) he conferred on the late Abiola who all the previous administrations had refused to recognise as the winner of the June 12,1993 Presidential election.
Speaking on the significance of the date, Fayemi said: “The greatest take away from June 12 is that of the possibility of a new Nigeria where our so-called fault lines would no longer matter as our best lines.
“I therefore urge that we start a new conversation around a democracy that instils confidence in the citizenry, enables unrestrained breathing and holds a promise of a better life for all irrespective of whom they are or where they come from.
“This, for me, was the most significant lesson of June 12 and we must teach it, learn it and keep it etched in our sub-conscious in the certainty that a new Nigeria, a better Nigeria is possible.
“This symbolic gesture has provided a psycho-social healing for the people who sacrificed, including their lives, for the enthronement of democracy.
“Human life is generally ritualized and practised and that is the reason we talk of culture as an established conduct that has gained repeated and entrenched value for some time among a people.
“The declaration of June 12 as our National Democracy Day therefore, means for me, a significant and courageous move to further enculturate accountability even about knotty and unresolved historical issues of national importance.”
According to Fayemi, June 12 was a concept that aggregated the collective resolve of the nation to see the end of military rule in Nigeria without minding threats to their lives and unprecedented brutality unleashed on them by the then ruling junta in demanding its revalidation.
Fayemi also paid tributes to distinguished Nigerians who stood to be counted in the struggle for the revalidation of June 12 and restoration of democracy.
He added: “When we recall the many sacrifices of these individuals, we would appreciate that the journey to our democratic nationhood was not an easy one.
“We must therefore, not only consciously tell the story of the significance of having June 12 as a National Democracy Day, we must also continue to re-engage ourselves in the useful conversations about how to re-enact the spirit of the time at a time of fractured unity.
“One can only look back now and thank God for surviving one of the most horrendous eras in our national history. The return of democracy in 1999 therefore, was a direct consequence of the relentless agitation by a coalition of civil society groups, students, labour movement, politicians, rights activists, journalists, academics and a host of people in the diaspora and diplomatic circles.
“It is one important moment that should never be forgotten because the tree of our democracy was irrigated with the blood of many known and unknown people who died as martyrs of democratic struggle.” he added.