- Timezone: America/New_York
- Date: Jun 12 2023
- Time: All Day
- Jun 12 2023
- All Day
Nigerian Democracy Day
Nigerian Democracy day is a time to celebrate the country’s vibrant democracy. This year, let’s take a closer look at some of the progress that has been made and how we can continue to build on it. Despite some challenges, Nigeria remains one of the most democratic countries in Africa. Let’s take a look at what makes our democracy so special and why we should be proud to call ourselves Nigerians!
On May 29, 1999, the first president-elect, Olusegun Obasanjo, was sworn in, symbolizing the end of military rule in Nigeria and the restoration of a democratic system of government. Though the day is not without controversy, many Nigerians see it as a chance to celebrate democracy and basic human rights.
In a country as varied as Nigeria, it should be no surprise that Nigerian Democracy Day is celebrated in various ways. May 29 is a day to honour the hardships and sacrifices made along the long road to democracy and celebrate the country’s ongoing development.
On Nigerian Democracy Day, the president often delivers a national speech, and major public festivities are held at Eagle Square in Abuja, the capital city. Traditional festivities are frequently organized in smaller towns and villages to honour Nigeria’s many distinct cultures and traditions.
For many Nigerians, Nigerian Democracy Day is also a chance to teach others about the significance of participation in the political process and encourage young people to appreciate the rights many people have worked so hard to achieve.
When is Nigerian Democracy Day observed?
In Nigeria, Nigerian Democracy Day is a national public holiday. It will be held annually on June 12, beginning in 2019. It was first noticed on May 29. The holiday commemorates the annulled general election held on June 12, 1993.
Nigerian Democracy History Day
Nigeria has observed May 29 as Nigerian Democracy Day since 2000. General Olusegun Obasanjo’s election as President on May 29, 1999, was the second time in Nigeria’s history that an elected civilian administration was restored following the control of a military dictatorship. This occurred for the first time on October 21, 1979.
President Buhari declared in June 2018 that Nigerian Democracy Day would be moved to June 12, 2019.
The federal administration believes that the annulled general election of June 12, 1993, is more appropriate for Democracy Day to commemorate than May 1999.
On June 12, 1993, millions of Nigerians voted democratically in a national election. The election was widely assumed to have been won by MKO Abiola, the standard-bearer of the Social Democratic Party, who ran against Maman Tofa of the National Republican Convention.
Even though foreign observers largely described the elections as free and fair, the results were annulled by the then-military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, who cited certain anomalies.
Several jurisdictions have designated June 12 a public holiday in subsequent years to remember the annulled election.
In addition to moving Nigerian Democracy Day, the government has chosen to bestow the highest honour in the nation, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), on late Chief MKO Abiola, the putative winner of the June 12, 1993, elections.
A Checked Past
Nigeria immediately became mired in civil conflict after winning its long-desired independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. This struggle culminated in a military coup that imposed the first of multiple military juntas.
Except for a brief period of democratic administration from 1979 to 1983, Nigeria spent most of its first three decades as an independent nation under some military dictatorship. As a result, there were periodic outbreaks of violence, human rights violations, and the deaths of almost one million people. Political assassinations, ethnic warfare, and violent riots were all widespread.
The Journey to Democracy
In June 1993, Chief Moshood Abiola won the first major attempt to establish democratic governance in Nigeria when he won a presidential election shortly after the first successful elections for a bicameral National Assembly.
The current military administration, however, invalidated the election results and prosecuted Moshood Abiola with treason for proclaiming himself president, a decision that drew intense international criticism. Political turmoil persisted for several years under a succession of military administrations before a plan to organize elections and transfer to civilian power was ultimately executed on May 29, 1999.
The Initial Elections
In early 1999, Nigeria had its first democratic elections in decades. Despite allegations of fraud, intimidation, and other irregularities, Nigeria’s new age of democracy, with a new government composed of elected members.
On May 5, a constitution was developed and enacted, followed by President-elect Olusegun Obasanjo’s inauguration on May 29. Though claims of government wrongdoing and human rights breaches persist to this day, the inaugural Democracy Day is recognized for its role in bringing in advances in civil liberties, a more free press, and improved political representation.
In Nigeria, how do we commemorate Democracy Day?
Democracy Day marked the end of Nigeria’s military regime! It happened on May 29, 1999. Even though this day is associated with different issues, many people observe it as a chance to honour the country’s basic human rights and democracy.
Nigeria is a country with a wide range of cultures! As a result, it’s not unexpected that this holiday is observed in various ways around the country. This occasion is regarded as both a day of joy and suffering. The president’s nationalist speech to the public, which is generally held in Eagle Square in Abuja, is one of the most popular activities on this day.
Smaller cities, towns, and villages have traditional events to honour their distinct culture. For many Nigerians, this day represents an opportunity to teach future generations about democratic ideas. Furthermore, it emphasizes the significance of human rights.
12 Things You Should Know About the New ‘Democracy Day
- The day commemorated an annulled presidential election on June 12, 1993. Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, often known as M. K. O. Abiola, stood for president in 1993 and is largely recognized as the supposed victor of the inconclusive election, even though no final official results have been revealed to date.
- Ibrahim Babangida nullified the election because of supposed proof that it was dishonest and unjust, sparking a political crisis that culminated in General Sani Abacha assuming power later that year.
- In 1994, Abiola declared himself the rightful president of Nigeria in the Epetedo section of Lagos island, an area occupied mostly by Lagos Indigenes, after returning from a tour to seek international backing for his mandate. After proclaiming himself president, he was proclaimed wanted, charged with treason, and arrested on the orders of military President General Sani Abacha, who dispatched 200 police trucks to arrest him.
- Moshood Abiola was imprisoned for four years, mostly in solitary confinement, with just a Bible, Qur’an, and fourteen guards as a company.
- Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua is alleged to have foretold Abiola’s annulment and cautioned him not to run.
- Abiola became involved in politics at an early age. In 1979, he was 19 years old and joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).
- Abiola’s running mate on June 12, 1993, presidential election was Baba Gana Kingibe. He easily defeated his opponent, National Republican Convention candidate Bashir Tofa.
- Abiola died on July 7, 1998, when he was supposed to be freed from prison, under strange circumstances shortly after General Abacha’s death. According to the official autopsy, Abiola died of natural causes, although Abacha’s senior security officer, Al-Mustapha, claimed he was battered to death.
- MKO Abiola employed a ‘Hope’ campaign, as did President Barack Obama.
Many people may have noticed the word ‘Hope’ used to express a message of possibilities during Obama’s 2008 victory in America. Still, MKO Abiola became a rallying figure for many Nigerians 15 years before that with his ‘Hope’ campaign.
- MKO Abiola died for the June 12 mandate, but he was not the first June 12 victim; General Sani Abacha died on June 8, 1998, under unknown circumstances.
- Chief MKO Abiola’s memory is honoured throughout Nigeria and worldwide. June 12 remains a public holiday in Lagos, Ogun, and other All Progressive Congress party states. MKO Abiola Stadium was named after him.
- National and foreign observers proclaimed the election to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest, with Abiola even winning in his Northern opponent’s home state.
Gifts that can be given to celebrate Nigerian Democracy Day
Do you want to send a friend, colleague, or close family member a Nigerian Democracy day gift but are unsure how to go along with selecting it? While it may look like a time-consuming effort to write greetings, it’s a joyful and patriotic activity, to begin with.
Regardless, the gift option will do just fine, having the same effect you desire. These gifts include customized drinking cups, Democracy coasters, vote pins, Democracy pins, customized shirts, socks, books, pens, e.t.c. They will add something special to the celebration.