A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, said on Sunday that the historic June 12 election, its annulment and its aftermath remain the cornerstone of Nigeria’s democracy.
Mr. Tinubu, a leader of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, in a statement to mark the 23rd anniversary of June 12 election, said Nigerians should not forget patriots “who lost lives and limbs in that epochal struggle”.
“Because a few courageous ones across the broad spectrum of the Nigerian society formed a coalition and lead from the front, the military was unable to get away with its constitutional impunity.
“Fired on by patriotism, resistant of years of oppressive military dictatorship and willing to do something about the situation Nigerians pushed the limits of civil disobedience against tyranny. By so doing, Nigerians pushed the military out, demanding for democratic governance and since then, there has been no looking back,” Mr. Tinubu said.
The APC leader said Nigeria’s democracy was sown during the June 12 struggle of which, the acclaimed winner, Moshood Abiola, remains “the spirit and the moving force is the fruit we now enjoy”.
Mr. Tinubu said Nigerians sustained the fervour and the patriotic disposition necessary for a new political culture to take root.
“However, 16 years after that struggle ended and the military departed, a new kind of struggle began. With a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the desire for rapid development and a disciplined and accountable leadership became an agenda item,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu said Nigerians ‘ got a raw deal’ during PDP’s 16 year rule, arguing that because of their desire for change, Nigerians were again galvanized into voting the PDP out and voting in the APC with its message and philosophy of change.
“But beyond the historic mandate given to the All Progressives Congress, APC is the urgent need to have every citizen be part of the change we want to see.
“From the streets and crannies, from the classrooms and boardrooms, from the lecture halls and the corridor of power, from the lawmakers, Ministers and leading politicians this is a season that demands our contribution, requires we make sacrifice and seeks that we work together towards building a critical mass that will see to the processes of the change vision now unfolding.
“Nigerians must exact from its leaders performance and accountability.
Just like in the moving spirit of June 12, Nigerians must speak up against any form financial recklessness and corruption in high places, in their States or local administration and wherever this is found.
“Beyond speaking against and exposing corruption, Nigerians must speak for and in support of the on-going concerted efforts being coordinated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The lessons of the June 12 struggle abides. To June 12 we must return to rekindle our love and devotion for democracy and Nigeria.
“We Know that no change comes easy and we must be mindful of the fact that the success of the APC led government is the success of all of us.
“On this occasion, I shout out to all my colleagues from the days of the June 12 struggle encompassing the NADECO foot soldiers still alive today, the pro-democracy activists, the civil society and the professionals who stood up to be soldiers in defense of the democratic rights of Nigerians.
“With the new converts and company that have joined our rank and file, let us again stand guard and be vigilant to ensure that disgruntled elements and the powers of yesterday who we overthrew with our votes do not destroy our democracy,” he said.
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