The 1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, a non-governmental organisation, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for finally upholding the sanctity of annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election and replacing May 29 with the date as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The group also applauded the President for conferring the late Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of the June 12, struggle with the highest national honour of Grand Commander of Federal Republic (GCFR), among other beneficiaries including Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate and the late legal Icon, Chief Gani Fanwehinmi who was awarded Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), respectively.
The recognition of the date comes with the 25thanniversary of the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, widely acknowledged as the freest and most fair to be ever conducted in the nation’s history. 1001 + Voices has urged Nigerians to guard jealously on their hard-won democracy, even as it laudsthe electorate for long suffering and for showing faith and tenacity in sustaining the consolidation of democracy in the country since the return to civilian rule 19 years ago.
Obong Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, a representative of the group, in statement noted that June 12 is not about Chief MKO Abiola but about free and fair elections and the democratic process that unified Nigerians to voteacross ethnic lines. ’We should be focusing on harnessing the opportunity to inspire our citizens in line with the essence of what June 12 represents’, he stressed.
1001+ Voices, while urging Nigerians and Akwa Ibom People to be keen on deepening and safeguarding the practice of democracy, however, regretted the looming ominous signs which, if not contained, could spell doom for the nation’s fledgling democracy. The group condemned the recent spate of what it termed, mindless killings in some parts of the country especially attacks on Christians, religious leaders, pastoralists and other innocent Nigerians, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reassure Nigerians that his government is capable of protecting them from these attacks. The group urged the government to take urgent steps to address the problems of insurgency, insecurity, executive impunity and lack of tolerance for criticism that are capable of derailing the nation’s democratic journey.
Owodiong-Idemeko implored the government to consider the plight of the ordinary Nigerian and stop paying lip-service on the urgent need to improve the human development index of the citizens by investing in the economy, upgrading education, health care, agriculture, ensuring job generation and infrastructure development among other needs.
The group while also congratulating the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for aligning with the democratic aspirations of Nigerians to establish and run a government that guarantees and protects the interest of the people; has commended the governor for his ardent vision and unwavering dedication to get the State on the right and sustainable path to economic growth and political stability.
The statement adds that Governor Emmanuel and his team has delivered on some of his key campaign promises, especially in the area of industrialization, agriculture, infrastructure development, improved power delivery and the prompt payment of salaries and pensions among others.
1001+ Voices has enjoin the people of Akwa Ibom to gear up to their constitutional role of voting in conscientious, dedicated and people-focused candidates with visible performance track-record like Governor Emmanuel at all levels during the 2019 general elections.
The statement also calls on the electorate to push for the political class to respect the principle of zoning of electoral offices as established years ago by the political fathers in order to engender and sustain the spirit of inclusiveness, mutual co-existence and collective well-being that has been the hallmark of democratic practicein Akwa Ibom State.