Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Monday gave his first Democracy Day Speech as President.
In the broadcast which was about fifteen minutes long, the president spoke briefly about June 12 and its importance of the day.
He went on to also speak about the challenges faced by citizens at this moment in the nation’s history, noting that his administration is committed to diligently fulfilling every component of his electoral pact with the people as enshrined within the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
The president also urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to strengthening the government of free peoples that has been the nation’s guiding light within the past 24 years.
There were several other key things said by the president and below 11 major statements the president made in commemoration of the 2023 Democracy Day.
1. Never take democracy for granted
The president urged Nigerians never to take democracy for granted.
We must forever jealously guard and protect it like a precious jewel. For, a people can never truly appreciate the freedoms and rights democracy guarantees them until they lose it.
We have traversed the dark, thorny path of dictatorship before and those who experienced it can readily testify to the unbridgeable gap between the dignity of freedom and the humiliation and degradation of tyranny. True, rancorous debates, interminable wrangling, ceaseless quarrels, bitter electoral contestations may be perceived by some as unattractive features of democracy. But they also testify to its merit and value.
2. Democracy well and alive
While stating that this year, Nigeria held her seventh in the cycle of elections that have become sacred rituals to her democratic practice in the dispensation since 1999, the president opined that the nation’s democracy is well and alive.
That the polls were intensely contested is in itself positive evidence that democracy is well and alive in our land. It is only natural that even as those who won and experienced victory in the various elections are elated and fulfilled, those who lost are disenchanted and disappointed.
But the beauty of democracy is that those who win today can lose tomorrow and those who lose today will have an opportunity to compete and win in the next round of elections.
3. Illegal orders used to truncate democracy will no longer be tolerated
Speaking about the election that brought him into power, the president said a level of sportsmanship is expected to be seen in all who seek elective position, in that they may win or lose, but must do so in good spirit.
According to him:
Those who cannot endure and accept the pain of defeat in elections do not deserve the joy of victory when it is their turn to triumph. Above all, those who disagree with the outcome of the elections are taking full advantage of the constitutional provisions to seek redress in court and that is one of the reasons why democracy is still the best form of government invented by man.
For Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of this day, in whose memory June 12 became a national holiday, democracy is eternal.
It is about rule of law and vibrant judiciary that can be trusted to deliver justice and strengthen institutions. It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.
4. The reform has just begun
For President Tinubu, the recent harmonization of the retirement age for judicial officers is meant to strengthen the rule of law, which is a critical pillar of democracy.
“The reform has just started,” he buttresses.
The democracy that will yield right dividends to the people who are the shareholders means more than just freedom of choice and right to get people into elective offices.
It means social and economic justice for our people. To the winner of June 12, democracy offers the best chance to fight and eliminate poverty.
Thirty years ago, he christened his campaign manifesto, ‘Farewell to Poverty’ because he was convinced that there is nothing divine about poverty. It is a man-made problem that can be eliminated with clearly thought out social and economic policies.
5. I admit subsidy removal will impose extra burden
According to the president, the free the nation from the shackles of poverty, he had to in his inauguration address on May 29, give effect to the decision taken by his predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich.
I admit that the decision will impose extra burden on the masses of our people. I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.
Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain.
The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.
6. Rededicate yourselves
President Tinubu said that the democracy MKO Abiola died for is one that promotes the welfare of the people over personal interests of the ruling class, and one where the governed can find personal fulfillment and happiness.
He said this is the hope which MKO Abiola ignited throughout the country in 1993, a course to which all Nigerians must remain dedicated.
On this year’s Democracy Day, I enjoin us all to rededicate ourselves to strengthening this form of government of free peoples that has been our guiding light these past 24 years.
In particular, those of us who have been privileged to be elected into public offices at various levels in both the executive and legislative arms of government must recommit ourselves to offering selfless service to the people, and delivering concrete democracy dividends in accordance with our electoral promises.
7. We will be faithful to truth, equity and justice
On his part and that of his administration, Tinubu pledged anew his administration’s commitment to diligently fulfilling every component of its electoral pact with the people – the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
We shall be faithful to truth. Faithful to equity. And faithful to justice.
We shall exercise our authority and mandate to govern with fairness, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to always uphold the dignity of all our people.
The president while whishing all Nigerians a happy Democracy Day celebration, prayed that the light of liberty will never be extinguished in the land.