By Wilson Adekumola
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has said what Nigeria is celebrating today is a return to civil rule, saying it was time reflect on the journey of becoming democratic society.
Atiku made this disclosure in his Democracy Day message to Nigerians, noting that for Nigeria’s democracy to be fully achieved, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the political leaders determines the outcome of elections, adding democracy in Nigeria is still in bondage and it will need a collective efforts of all to rescue it.
While noting that what is celebrated today is a return to civil rule in Nigeria, The former Vice President said this year’s Democracy Day celebration was a “time for us to reflect as a people and a country on our journey to becoming a democratic society.”
He then said that it was important to commend the successes achieved in making democracy the norm of politics in Nigeria, considering the experience of Nigerians, who were around during the dark days of military dictatorships.
“But democracy without a corresponding commitment to the principles of fairness and fidelity to the rule of play by stakeholders in the processes of conducting elections still leaves the people prostrate to tendencies of dictatorship.
“For our democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections.
“Many times, when I take stock of the activism that birthed the current democratic dispensation, I am even more convinced that a lot of work still lies ahead.
“Democracy and the process of democratization is a constant work in progress. While what we celebrate today is a return to civil rule in Nigeria, the desire to make our democracy self-sustaining and independent of anti-democratic elements is the new frontier of participation by all democrats,” he stated.
He added that as it requires collective energy and commitment to attain civil rule, it will require a concomitant commitment to advance the cause of democracy and our democratization process.
Atiku said the challenge ahead of the country and the future of its democracy will rely heavily on what Nigerians do or fail to do today.
“To achieve this noble goal, our commitment to the cause of democracy must be eternal. Folks on the other side, enemies of democracy, whom we are up against, are not resting. To defeat them, we must do more!
“As I congratulate Nigerians on this day, in celebration of the return to civil rule, I also call our consciousness to the reality that democracy in Nigeria remains in bondage and it will need the energy of all of us to rescue it,” Atiku said.