The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has congratulated Nigerians for marking 22 years of uninterrupted democracy.
The Speaker said since the return of democratic governance in 1999, Nigeria has witnessed progress and development in terms of physical infrastructure and freedom of choice and expression, which are part of the key pillars of democracy.
Gbajabiamila expressed delight that citizens have been giving their democratic leaders support for the past two decades, calling for more support and cooperation.
The Speaker, who said that every democracy has its peculiarities, Nigeria inclusive, noted that despite the challenges faced, there is no question about the appropriateness of democracy in every society in today’s world.
He noted that dialogue remains key in resolving all democratic bottlenecks, calling for more of such in our body polity and among the citizens.
Gbajabiamila specifically commended the APC-led government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for redefining democracy by bringing its dividends closer to the citizens through various people-oriented programmes and policies.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, said Gbajabiamila equally lauded the President for declaring June 12 Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Speaker Gbajabiamila also paid glowing tributes to Nigeria’s founding fathers, especially the country’s past democratic leaders who struggled day and night to make the country united.
The Speaker also hailed the citizens for their resilience and belief in democracy, urging them to remain united and defend the country.
Akeredolu: Virile opposition, dose for democratic growth, good governance.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has called for a virile opposition within the country’s democracy, stressing that it would enhance good governance.
According to Akeredolu, a one-party system is dangerous in a democratic setting as he emphasised that there must be room for criticism.
The governor stated this on Saturday during the 2021 Democracy Day Celebration held at the Dome, Igbatoro Road, Akure.
During the event, Akeredolu maintained that democracy as a system of government cannot just guarantee good governance stressing that the “institutions of any country which espouse this liberal concept must reflect its principles in practice.”
He added that the current happenings in the country implied that the lessons derivable from the June 12 experience had been cast aside for parochialism which finds expression in “prebendal politics.”
Akeredolu said “I will encourage good opposition. A one-party system is not good. There must be room for critisism.
“The people’s ability to choose is severely limited by their material circumstances. Representative democracy thus casts a doubt on its effectiveness, nay usefulness, when majority of the people wallow in abject privation.
“A beneficial system must take, seriously, the issue of mobilising the mass of the people to create wealth. Deliberative governance, structured for service, must reflect the yearnings and aspirations of the people in its policies. The welfare of the people must be at the centre of all governmental activities.”
Protest paralyses socio-economic activities in Ondo
Youths in Akure, the Ondo State capital took to the streets on Saturday to join their counterparts across the country in the June 12 protest to demand good governance.
Around 7:45 am, the youths converged at the Post Office junction along the popular Oba Adesida road chanting a series of solidarity songs.
According to the youths who coordinated themselves peacefully, the country had never had it so bad since independence, hence their resolve to register their displeasure with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
Armed with placards of various inscriptions, the youths emphasised that the security situation of the country is now at alarming rate as no one is safe in any part of the country anymore.
Some of the placards read “Buhari Must Go”, “Our Voice Must be Heard”, “Enough is a Enough No to Grandpa’s Regime” among others.
Moving from junction to junction before terminating the protest at NEPA roundabout, the protesters lashed at the APC-led government for dashing the hopes of Nigerians.
While monitoring the protest, Sunday Telegraph observed that shops were not opened as residents were skeptical that the protest might be of the same dimension experienced during the End SARS protest where massive violence was recorded.
Also, the major roads within Akure metropolis were deserted as no vehicular movement was seen on the Oba-Ile/Airport road as well as on the Oba Adesida-Oyemekun Road among others.
Shuaib Nasir, one of the protesters said “What we are saying is that Buhari should readdress the situation of this country. We are saying we don’t want killings, kidnappings, banditry anymore. We just want to be safe.
Lalong grants state pardon to 7 prisoners
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on Saturday granted prerogative of mercy and state pardon to seven prisoners in the state to mark Democracy Day and six years in office.
Lalong, in State Broadcast to celebrate the June 12 said all the seven pardons are granted for reasons of good conduct, with effect from the different dates of sentences of the prisoners.
“In the spirit of the 2021 Democracy Day and in thanksgiving to God for guiding us through the last six years, and in exercise of the powers conferred on me as governor in Section 212 of the Constitution of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended), after due consultation with the State Advisory Council On Prerogative of Mercy, I have granted various categories of pardon to seven risoners for their good conduct”
Out of the seven prisoners granted pardon two got absolute pardon while five death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
The concerned persons include Nanfa Gwantur, Timkur Laven; Ponzing Nanshe;
Dauda Joshua and Wasa Zachariah whose death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment, while Davou Dalyop Mancha and Cletus Augustine got absolute pardon.
Lalong who is the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum said peace and security has remained the key priority of his “rescue administration” for the simple fact that it is the baseline for attaining development in any society.
CSOs hold rally, condemn harassment of members by police in Osun
The Osun Civil Society Coalition, yesterday, staged a rally in commemoration of June 12 Democracy Day.
They also condemned harassment of some of their members by policemen during a lecture attended after the procession.
The CSOs which had gathered at Okefia junction as early as 8am, carried placards of various inscriptions such as: “Save Nigeria from Sinking,” “We Want Change in Nigeria”, “Resign If You Are Tired Buhari,” “Restructure Nigeria Now’, among others.
The procession was monitored by policemen, Civil Defense Corps, Amotekun cadets, as they chanted various anti-government songs to demand good governance.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the coalition, Comrade Waheed Lawal, alleged that three of its members, Comrades Waheed Saka (Mao), Olowu Emmanuel and Awal Lawal, were harassed and slapped by the policemen at the entrance of Aurora event Centre, where the state government in collaboration with civil CSOs had organized lecture.
Describing the alleged action to the police as “uncalled for”, the CSOs called in the IGP, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, to caution his men against any act that can trigger another massive protest against the police in Osun.
Falana urges FG to respect right of Nigerians to protest
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has advised the Federal Government to respect the rights of Nigerians to protest in conformity with provisions of the 1999 Constitution on rights of citizens to peaceful protests.
Speaking at an event to mark the celebration of June 12 in Lagos on Saturday, Falana urged Nigerians to keep up the struggle for the country’s democracy. He noted in the event organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) that the country is not practicing democracy.
“What we have in Nigeria today is civilian rule and that is why our country is losing in terms of democracy. Rather than arrest the youths for exercising their fundamental human rights, the Federal Government should enter into negotiation with the youths and tell them the reasons they should support the Nigerian project,” he said.
Falana said the June 12 Democracy Day the country is celebrating today is a product of struggle and protests adding that it was a struggle against corruption, bad leadership, insecurity and unemployment.
“Nigerians will always say that the June 12 1993 presidential elections was the most free, fair and peaceful election in the history of the country. But there is one thing they never told you about the election, it was the first election where Nigerians from all religion voted for Abiola and he defeated Today in Kano. Is that kind of election possible in Nigeria of today?”
June 12 symbolises supremacy of people’s power -PDP Reps
Members of the House of Representatives, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus on Saturday called on the Federal Government to respect June 12 as the symbol of democratic freedom and supremacy of the People’s power, giving a four-point demand to move Nigeria from the abyss of total destruction under the Buhari led administration.
The caucus declaring that June 12 is a symbol of democratic freedom and supremacy of the people’s power should be respected by ensuring that all the tenets of democracy are adhered to in all ramifications.
In a statement signed by the caucus leader, Rep Kingsley Chinda the Caucus made a four-point demand to help Nigeria embrace peace.
The demands include: “Improve on our democratic practice by respecting the rule of law and press freedom, immediately reverse the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and set aside the draconian regulation of the media in our country.
“Place greater value on Nigerian lives and take decisive and pragmatic steps to end the avoidable carnages and deaths in our land by adopting mind-set change programs.”
Markets, shops shut as Yoruba nation agitators, others hold protests in Ogun
Agitators for Yoruba nation and youths yesterday joined the June 12 protests in Abeokuta, Ijebu – Ode and other parts of Ogun State, shutting major markets and shops as traders and residents stayed back home for the fear of violence which may erupt from the protest.
Sunday Telegraph spotted a handful of protesters armed with #BuhariMustGo and #YorubaNation placards on the streets of Abeokuta.
Our correspondent who visited the popular pepper market in Olomore, Itoku Adire/Kampala international market, Kuto, Sapon and Lafenwa, all in Abeokuta, observed an empty environment as businesses were grounded.
A joint security team also embarked on a show of force round the state capital to curtail the activities of the protesters.
Our correspondent also sighted a police helicopter hovering the Abeokuta metropolis.
Meanwhile, there was a beehive of activities at MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, where the State government is marking the June 12 Democracy Day.
Speaking with journalists, the Coordinator of Oduduwa Nation agitators, Mrs Sola Kogbodoku said, the protest was meant to inform the world that Yorubas are ready for secession.