Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has urged Nigerians to let the spirit of June 12 being celebrated as Democracy Day in Nigeria inspire us to correct the errors of Feb. 25, as the surest root to restoring and deepening our democracy.
Obi in a Democracy Day message to Nigerians said that “ the challenge of June 12 and a dedicated Democracy Day is to inspire us to correct the errors of our recent elections.
“This is the surest way to restore the confidence of our people in the future of our nation and the promise of true democracy,” he said.
He described June 12 as a historic day that deserves to be celebrated.
“On that day in 1993, we the people of Nigeria stated our unreserved preference for true democracy,” he said.
“Though under military rule, we freely chose a transparent voting method. Our votes reflected our true choice as a people. Our choice on that day defied divisions of ethnicity, religion, and region.
Obi said that it’s the qualities of votes reflecting the true choice of our people “that added up to make June 12 special in our search for true democracy.
“Our collective choice of late Chief M. K.O Abiola as a worthy leader for the nation was saluted by Nigerians and governments and peoples across the world.”
The former Anambra state governor who is in court challenging the Presidential election he is perceived to have won remarked “June 12 underpins our long collective journey to nationhood as a true democracy.
He regretted that “the current state of our politics tells a different story. Our democracy is deeply troubled while our nation’s destiny remains uncertain and precarious.
“We remain a nation in search of solutions to too many basic problems. One of these is the search for a credible electoral system that would command the trust, confidence, and belief of all Nigerians just like June 12 did.”
The Presidential flag bearer urged the country to “use the commemoration of June 12 as an occasion to return to the true virtues of a truly democratic nation. We achieved that feat on June 12, 1993.
“In the spirit of June 12, therefore, we need to emplace an electoral system that commands the trust of the people. This is in recognition of the tenets and core values of democracy, which rest on respect for the wishes of the people as expressed in their ballots,” he said.
“Above all, the government must respect and protect the institutions of the democratic state by respecting the social contract with the people by meeting their needs, obeying their wishes, and fulfilling the responsibilities of responsible governance as contained in the constitution. A cardinal responsibility of the government in this regard is respect for the rule of law.”
Obi regretted that Nigerians are now in “an era where these foundational pillars of democracy are undermined by prevalent impunity and pervasive violence and bloodletting.
“The trust deficit between the leaders and Nigerians continues to expand. The deficits of trust and efficiency in our last elections demonstrate this malady quite boldly,” the LP candidate said.
On behalf of himself, his Vice, Datti Baba Ahmad, his party, the Labour Party, and the Obidient Movement worldwide, Obi congratulated Nigerians for the celebration and urged all not to lose faith in the inbuilt design of our democratic system to self-correct.
Finally, he expressed commitment and total conviction that a “New Nigeria is possible and that our aspiration for a nation of equity, justice, security, and peace can hardly be a utopia.
“We are a nation blessed richly with human and natural resources. What we lack are selfless leaders who are committed to national interest, sustainable development, and innovative thinking that offers every Nigerian irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or social strata, the freedom of choice of abode, and protection of lives, property, and ordered liberties.
“These aspirations are real and achievable, and I hereby reiterate my promise to Nigerians that we will not relent in our fight to bring about leadership that will accord them the priority they deserve”.