The President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, has said there was nothing worth celebrating as Nigeria marked Democracy Day yesterday.
Buttressing his stance, he cited increasing insecurity, bad economy and undemocratic tendencies among leaders.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Osodeke said the administration of President, Muhammadu Buhari has failed to provide Nigerians with the benefits of democracy.
He lamented that cost of living has hit the roof, with the poor becoming poorer and infrastructure rapidly collapsing.
“With a minimum wage of 30,000, which is less than a bag of rice, Nigerian workers are languishing in abject poverty,” he said, noting that people’s standard of living was even better during military regimes. He added that the education sector was also better funded under the military.
Osodeke, therefore, appealed “to Nigerians to vote out people who think they can buy votes with money, and vote for people with clear-cut plans to move the country forward.”
ON its part, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives decried human rights abuses under the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
The caucus, led by Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement to mark Democracy Day, said disregard for rules, suppression of citizens, nepotism, impositions, barefaced injustice, lawlessness, unbridled corruption, impunity, extreme insensitivity and electoral manipulations have become the order of the day.
It said the Federal Government must use the occasion of Democracy Day to commit to processes that will check electoral manipulations, guarantee the security of voters and ensure that only votes cast by Nigerians count at the end of the elections.
It urged Nigerians “not to despair but remain resolute in the collective determination to entrench the tenets of democracy in our country by fully participating in the current electoral process.”
It added: “The Minority Caucus extols the courage, selflessness and patriotism of Chief M.K.O. Abiola who made immense sacrifices and paid the supreme price for the entrenchment of democracy in our country.
“We, therefore, urge leaders at all levels to uphold this legacy by carrying out their responsibilities in line with the demands of justice, equity, fairness and adherence to rules.”
FORMER Senate President Bukola Saraki called on Nigerians to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ready ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja, Saraki acknowledged the sacrifice of Nigeria’s past heroes, who contributed to the development of the nation’s democracy, and urged citizens of voting age to ensure they exercise their civic duty by voting next year.
The statement reads: “As families across Nigeria settle in to commemorate the significance of #DemocracyDay, we all must remember the immeasurable sacrifice of our heroes, as well as celebrate the courage and persistence of all Nigerians.
“This is because, throughout this oft-imperfect journey to institutionalise stronger democratic values in all aspects of our lives, there have been hiccups, yet, Nigerians have always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to forge a better, stronger, safer, and more prosperous nation.
“In this regard, as we observe today, remembering that the 2023 general elections are just around the corner, I ask all Nigerians of voting age to ensure that they have their PVCs to exercise their civic responsibility by participating in the election of our leaders at state and federal levels.
“It is my deepest prayer that as we work to fix Nigeria by the election of intentional and decisive leaders, next year, our nation and all its people will experience the much-needed prosperity and peace that all Nigerians have been clamouring for.”
SOME resident of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), also bared their minds on the celebration.
Lamenting the current state of insecurity, Mrs. Hadiza lamented: “One would have expected that things would continue to improve in a country practising democracy, in terms of infrastructure, like good roads, security and education. But that is not the case for Nigeria; things only get worse everyday.”
Another resident, Raphael, said: “It is rather unfortunate that the democracy we are celebrating today, which is supposed to make life better is not doing so. Everywhere, in government, all we see is corruption, a very bad economy, and leaders who do nothing but say what they do not even mean.”
But a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), who did not want his name in print, said hope is not lost. He maintained that Nigeria would still become great despite its current challenges.
SENATE President Ahmad Lawan, however, felicitated with Nigerians in a statement he personally signed in Abuja, yesterday.
He said: “For the Nigerian people, June 12 is more than just a date. It represents a milestone in our journey to entrench a democratic polity, as on that day, 29 years ago, Nigerians rose above primordial sentiments and proclaimed the oneness of their nation and the unity of its people.”
He added: “In our efforts to build a better nation, let’s be confident in our ability to turn things around for the good of all of us. Our goal should be to build our nation with the bricks of equity, fairness and justice, so that it can withstand challenges.”