Being a Commemorative Message Delivered on Friday 12 June, 2020 by the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prof. Tunde Adeniran OFR, to mark ‘JUNE 12’ Anniversary in Nigeria.
Today is DEMOCRACY DAY.
As a true social democrat and committed patriot, it is gratifying for me to be a part of this momentous occasion marking the 27th anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the annals of Nigeria’s political history, and which was overwhelmingly won by the late popular business mogul and uncommon philanthropist, Chief Moshood Olawale Kashimawo Abiola, the flag bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in that historic election.
On behalf of the national leadership and the entire SDP family nationwide, I congratulate all Nigerians for the coming to reality of our long quest for a deserving national recognition and pride of place for JUNE 12 in our national life. It is so fulfilling that Chief MKO Abiola who was the symbol and personification of the struggle has ultimately been officially recognized as the winner of the election. We also want to pay special tribute to the great souls of all our heroes and heroines who were martyred in the course of the struggle. The plant of democracy they watered with their precious blood is gradually taking root in the country, but there is still a lot of work to do to nurture it.
The reality of today is that our country is at an unsettling and critical juncture. We are currently faced with great threats of the evils of pervasive poverty and rising insecurity which are alarmingly assuming the status of intractable national crises. Added to these is the uncertainty and climate of fear engendered by the virulent Covid-19 Pandemic. This has complicated the social tension that we were contending with, occasioned by deprivations, low opportunities for productive economic engagement and general disenchantment of the citizenry with the weakening of national institutions. The major worry is that, without strong and vibrant institutions, democratic culture and the rising expectations of the people will be shattered, the rule of law will be suppressed and democratic dividends denied.
To achieve national retrieval from the suffocating grips of our multifaceted challenges, we must continue to promote and uphold the ideals which June 12 represents by getting all of us to commit to the building and pushing of the frontiers of a good society. By this we mean a nation where no one goes to bed hungry; where no child of school-age is out of school; where no one is discriminated against or deprived of his or her rights, freedom and basic entitlements on grounds of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background, gender or political views or opinions. Justice and equity for all is a condition for national integration and harmonious co-existence.
We have a duty to develop a set of well-reasoned socio-political reforms and national development-driven response to the current social disorder that is spreading across the nation. At the local, state and national levels, Nigeria is in need of creative, imaginative and hope-inspiring leadership. Our governments must, in particular, be alive to the germane issues of poverty and the lack of security that stare us in the face which constitute long-term threats to our national stability. To effectively address the security challenge, we must, of necessity, shift our focus from transactional and divisive politics, nepotism, religious and ethnic bigotry that have stifled our growth and work to robustly unite the people of this great country and build a nation that works for all and secures all.
All of us, both the government and the governed, have crucial roles to play in moving our country away from the life of horror, poverty, continual fear and dangers of violent death into a life of dignity, peace and prosperity. Mindful that poverty is said to be the mother of crime, we must in ally with the spirit of June 12 which centres around the promotion of justice, democracy, fundamental rights and human dignity as well as the general well-being of the people, strive to lift our people from the present degrading poverty and take them to a life that is meaningful and dignifying. In this regard, there is need for an enabling environment for the Nigerian people to play their parts.
I wish to stress, once again, the need for all to appreciate that insecurity is a major threat to the unity, peace and stability of our country today. And, without it, there can’t be peace and development.
Finally, as a party on whose platform the late Chief MKO Abiola ran and won the presidency, we remain committed to upholding the noble ideals for which he fought and died. We will continue to work for the promotion of the greatness of Nigeria and the well-being of all Nigerians in line with our people-oriented ideology and popular Manifesto. We will also remain committed to the essence of June 12 by working to ensure that the death of the heroes of our democracy will not be in vain and that democracy will continue to take root and be deepened firmly in Nigeria and be made beneficial to all Nigerians. It is the strong belief of the SDP that, in line with this, President Muhammadu Buhari should assent to the Electoral Reform Bill dutifully passed by the National Assembly. The success of any democracy depends both on the orientation of citizens as well as the legal framework. Nigeria has already climbed two decades on the ladder of the 21st Century. Without the implementation of the Electoral reforms already overdue, democratic consolidation would be a mirage.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Prof. Tunde Adeniran, OFR,
Social Democratic Party (SDP)