© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigerians express mixed reactions over Democracy Day on social media
TWENTY-SIX years ago, Nigerians took to the polls on June 12, 1993, to participate in what has been described by many as the “freest and fairest” general elections in Nigerian history.
M.K.O Abiola was on the verge of being declared a winner before former Head of State Ibrahim Babangida annulled the elections, and handed over to an Interim National Government, ING.
On the first anniversary of the annulled elections, after he publicly declared himself Nigeria’s lawfully elected president, Moshood Abiola was arrested, and charged with treason by the late General Sani Abacha, the man who took over from ING headed by Earnest Shonekan.
After spending four years in detention, and the subsequent death of his wife Kudirat, Abiola died in mysterious circumstances on the day that he was due to be released.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier on Monday declared June 12, as a public holiday, to commemorate Nigeria’s National Democracy Day after previous leaders failed to immortalise the late MKO.
However, it’s been twenty years of unbroken democratic rule in Nigeria since May 1999. While many Nigerians view the democratic process as a work in progress which can get better, others disagree stating that the nation has failed in terms of democratic gains achieved so far.
The ICIR gleaned opinions of some Nigerians on Twitter about the democratic prospects of the country after 20 years of civil rule.
A Twitter user whose handle is @omoniyi_martins posted this text on his handle: “Happy Democracy day fellow Nigerians. Welcome to Nigeria, Home of corruption. Home of negligence. Grand Home and Bank of Poverty. Ambassador for terrorism and insurgency, with corruptible leaders. Happy Demonstration of craze Crazy Demonstration.”
In contrast, @KadariaAhmed expressed optimism in her tweet with the hopes that more grounds could still be covered.
Happy #DemocracyDay Nigeria. #mko #Kudirat #BagaudaKaltho &all the others didn't die in vain.We will keep working on this democracy that they died for &God willing, one day, we will have a Nigeria that works, that makes us proud to call her home.#NationBuilding #Optimistic
— Kadaria Ahmed (@KadariaAhmed) June 12, 2019
At the time of filing this report, Kadaria’s tweet had been retweeted 118 times.
Below are more reactions from Nigerians on their thoughts on democracy day.
Nigeria is a funny place.
We have a whole holiday to remember one man’s death and a canceled election.
But we have NOTHING to remember the death of millions of Nigerians who died in our civil war so that Nigeria can remain one?
— Pamela Adie (@biwomdz) June 12, 2019
May the soul of our Comrades who made Nigeria's Democracy possible, rest well Thousands of unsung Hero's who gave thier life for Nigeria. Names you never read or hear about. Without them, we won't have a #DemocracyDay
Bagauda Kaltho, Ubani, Ogamkpa, Aturu, Oyerinde & others, RIP
— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) June 12, 2019
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his tweet reflected on what democracy day should mean to Nigerians.
Businesses took advantage of the epochal event to advertise their products.
Find more tweets here.