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One of the greatest highlights of the past 21 years in our current democratic journey is the recognition of June 12 as democracy day. The day not only epitomizes our collective ability as a people to rise above primordial sentiments but also the capacity to unite towards a common struggle if our collective will becomes threatened.
Ironically, the beneficiaries of this collective struggle in the same period under review have not been the Nigerian people but those who either mocked or antagonized the struggle. No wonder our current democratic experiment has resulted in further impoverishment rather than improvement in the quality of life of Nigerians. The sad reminder of being the poverty capital of the world is a summation of cumulative visionless leadership by these accidental beneficiaries of our painful struggle.
The operators of our democracy rather than democracy itself have been the reason for our socio-economic and political stagnation and until there is a better alternative, it is incumbent on us all as citizens to not only protect our democracy but also aggressively demand for the delivery of dividends that comes with it. The gains of democracy will continue to remain elusive except we as citizens galvanize ourselves through political participation and take ownership of our democracy.
As we reflect on the lessons of June 12, it is instructive to note that the practice of democracy is no guarantee for development except citizens are ready to take ownership by constantly supporting visionary leadership and simultaneously demanding transparency and accountability from same.
Conclusively, while appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising June 12 as democracy day, we enjoin him to go a step further by embarking on a radical electoral reform and complete restructuring of the country as anything aside the aforementioned will continue to make the gains of democracy elusive.
Happy democracy day to all Nigerians!
Comrade Egbeola Wale Martins
National Publicity Secretary.