By Emmanuel Elebeke

ABUJA – Immediate past  minister of Science and Technology and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in South East, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu says by legalising June 12 as democracy day President Muhammadu Buhari has further deepened democracy in Nigeria.

Late MKO Abiola

The former minister made the remark yesterday in Abuja when he received  the Special envoy of the Prime Minister of Japan, Shunsuke Takei at his residence. Shunsuke also attended the June 12 celebration among other world leaders at Eagle Square in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Dr. Onu, affirmed   that President Buhari is making frantic efforts to make sure democratic rule takes root in Nigeria, adding that he is always interested and ready to cooperate with any friendly country such as Japan.

The former minister averred that because of the strategic position of Nigeria in Africa and Japan in Asia, the world earnestly needs Nigeria and Japan friendly relation to attain peace.

He urged Japanese government to continue its relationship with Nigeria, adding that Nigeria requires support to be able to succeed because the hope of African countries depend on Nigeria’s prosperity.

His words, “Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, largest market and strongest economy in Africa. So a happy and prosperous Nigeria is also a happy and prosperous Africa. We believe that Japan and Nigeria are working closely together particularly in economic areas that would be very helpful for the world, make the world very peaceful and more prosperous.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari is very interested in making sure that democracy rules in Nigeria and he is very interested in working on a very improved relationship between nations like Japan and Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s democracy has developed and matured over the years. In the past 20 years, we have had transfer of power from a military government to a civilian government. We have also had transfer of power from a civilian president to another civilian president in the same political party,” Onu stated.

The federal government had on June 12 marked the first celebration as Democracy Day. This was after President Buhari had on Monday June 10, 2019 signed into law, the Public Holiday (Amendment) Bill, making June 12 a public holiday in the country.

This makes the date the country’s official Democracy Day, replacing May 29, which hitherto was a public holiday.

Narrating Nigeria’s democratic experience, Onu said,   “We have also had transfer of power by a civilian president from a political party to a civilian president in another political party that used to be in opposition. We also had continuation of an elected president serving two terms in a party that less than six years ago was an opposition political party.

“This shows clearly that politics and governance in Nigeria is very stable and also that democracy has matured because, for one administration to transfer power from a different political party to another is a sign of maturity of parties.

“Today, though Nigeria has so many political parties,we now have two very strong political parties. One party is controlling 19 states out of 36 states and the other one is controlling 16 out of 36 states. So we now have real competition in the political area and this is something that keeps us and makes us and the rest of the world know that democracy is now very stable and has matured in Nigeria.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Japan, Takei  said his visit to the minister after attending the June 12 celebration was in appreciation and enhancement of the cordial relationship between the two countries, which Onu had strengthen in the last three and half years he was minister of Science and technology.

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He said Japanese government would continue to assist   Nigerian government in the area of innovation, science and technology; stressing that, “Japan is very happy with the leadership style of President Buhari for appointing best brains like Ogbonnaya Onu as minister for one of the critical sectors in the country during his first tenure.”

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He urged the minister to ensure Nigeria maintain the current tempo to drive the economy science, technology and innovation.

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