Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), expressed his belief that democracy in Nigeria is still under oppression and that it will require the collective efforts of everyone to liberate it. In his Democracy Day message to Nigerians, he emphasized the importance of making Nigeria’s democracy self-sustaining and free from any influences that undermine democratic principles.
He also highlighted that the current celebration of Democracy Day marks the progress made towards establishing a democratic society, urging the nation to reflect on its journey. At the same time, Atiku acknowledged the achievements in transitioning from military dictatorships to a political landscape where democracy has become the norm, particularly recognizing the experiences of Nigerians who lived through darker times in the country’s history.
He said, “But democracy without a corresponding commitment to the principles of fairness and fidelity to the rule of play by stakeholders in the processes of conducting elections still leaves the people prostrate to tendencies of dictatorship.
“For our democracy to be fully fledged, it must constantly evolve away from the current practice where the governing elite determines the outcome of elections.
“Many times, when I take stock of the activism that birthed the current democratic dispensation, I am even more convinced that a lot of work still lies ahead.
“Democracy and the process of democratization is a constant work in progress. While what we celebrate today is a return to civil rule in Nigeria, the desire to make our democracy self-sustaining and independent of anti-democratic elements is the new frontier of participation by all democrats,”.
He further emphasized that achieving civil rule necessitates the joint effort and dedication of individuals, just as advancing democracy and the process of democratization requires a corresponding level of commitment. Atiku highlighted that the future of Nigeria’s democracy and the challenges it faces largely depend on the actions taken by Nigerians in the present moment.
“To achieve this noble goal, our commitment to the cause of democracy must be eternal. Folks on the other side, enemies of democracy, whom we are up against, are not resting. To defeat them, we must do more!
“As I congratulate Nigerians on this day, in celebration of the return to civil rule, I also call our consciousness to the reality that democracy in Nigeria remains in bondage and it will need the energy of all of us to rescue it,” Atiku said.