By Akeeb Alarape, Osogbo
Osun State Governor , Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has described June 12, 1993Â as the most suitable and proper day to mark democracy day in Nigeria.In his address marking the 23rd anniversary of June 12, he said it wasÂ the date Nigerians freely expressed their choice on whom to be theirÂ leader and a day of unequivocal affirmation of the unity of theÂ country by Nigerians across divides.
He said Nigerians and lovers of democracy will remain committed toÂ June 12 as a political watershed in the annals of the nation, sayingÂ May 29 only symbolises the day the military handed over the affairs of
the country to a democratically elected government.
According to him, June 12, in 1993 was a day Nigerians united to voteÂ the acclaimed winner of the presidential election, late MKO AbiolaÂ without recourse to religion, ethnicity or ideology.
He stated that the unity with which the multi-ethnic groups spoke andÂ acted was what is being celebrated till today.
He however noted that since the annulment of that election 23 yearsÂ ago, Nigerians waited another 16 years for a leader that would takeÂ them to the Promised Land until the emergence of President MuhammadÂ Buhari in 2015.
“We will never drop our commitment to June 12. Nigerians, in theirÂ heterogeneity, on June 12, 1993, voted for Chief Abiola in a patternÂ that defied ethnicity, religion, ideology and locality.
“It was a pattern that made mockery of the fabled fault-lines andÂ fissiparous tendencies of the Nigerian federation and projected aÂ nation united behind a popular leader.
“May 29, in 1999, was the date the military handed over power toÂ civilian administration and will remain symbolic for the transition toÂ civil rule and the opportunity it presents for realising a truly
democratic government that approximates the yearnings and aspirationsÂ of the people for a leader that will lead them to the Promised Land ofÂ security and life more abundant.
“We waited for 16 years for that leadership to emerge and we thank GodÂ for the election and coming to power of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A government with a human face is here at last. He represents theÂ aspirations and symbolism of June 12 in that he also got aÂ pan-Nigerian mandate that once again defied the divisions in our Â country.
“He represents hope for change and national rebirth. He is on thatÂ path. God willing, he will lead us to the Promised Land,”AregbesolaÂ said.
According to him, May 29 is an offshoot 12 because it was in theÂ relentless struggle to revalidate the annulled June 12 election thatÂ led to the abrupt termination of military rule in 1999.
He saluted all patriots, living and dead, who fought tooth and nailÂ for the actualisation of June 12, saying they deserved to beÂ celebrated till eternity.
He continued: “May 29, however, is a child of June 12 being that itÂ was the unrelenting pursuit of the actualisation of June 12 with theÂ sweat and blood of our patriots that led to military disengagement and
civilian rule on May 29.
“We salute and commend the courage of our patriots, living and dead,Â who sacrificed everything, including their lives, in the cause of JuneÂ 12 and birth of democracy in our land. You are our heroes andÂ heroines.
“You will never be forgotten, but will live in our hearts forever.Â Your wish has been largely fulfilled, though we acknowledge thatÂ democracy anywhere is an unfinished business.
“We must keep nurturing it with the nutrients of peace, love and hardÂ work and protect it with mutual respect, tolerance and unboundedÂ patriotism.”
Aregbesola averred that democracy remains the best form of governmentÂ anywhere in the world despite any imperfections.
He held that it is the form of government that allows the people toÂ choose whoever they want to lead them.
He stated that one of its safety catches is the opportunity to correctÂ any mistake through the ballots.Â The governor disclosed that because democracy if human-centred systemÂ of government, his administration has made people of the state theÂ fulcrum around which all his programmes and projects revolved since heÂ came to power.