By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – Former Minister of Education and acting national chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Professor Tunde Adeniran has played down the absence of former Heads of State at an event marking the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Abuja last week.
At the gathering in the nation’s capital recently, former Heads of State and Presidents- General Yakubu Gowon, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan were noticeably absent, fuelling insinuations that they may not have been carried along in the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to make the day a public holiday.
Reacting to the development however, Professor Adeniran urged Nigerians not to see the leaders’ absence as unpatriotic, stressing that the event was for Nigerian masses and the nation at large.
He said, “Their absence doesn’t mean much. They have the right to determine their priorities. The relevance of June 12 as Democracy Day is to the Nigerian nation and the Nigerian masses.”
Nigerians will recall that at the May 29 handing over ceremony in Abuja a fortnight ago , only General Gowon out of the aforementioned leaders graced the event.