Nigeria is celebrating 21 years of uninterrupted democratic rule which began in 1999 after many years of military rule.
The Federal Government had earlier declared Friday a public holiday to enable Nigerians join in the celebration of two decades of democracy.
Until June 12, date of an election that late Chief MKO Abiola was on the verge of winning a historic victory was adopted by this administration, June 29 set out by the Obasanjo administration was celebrated as Democracy Day across the country.
Addressing Nigerians on the occasion of Democracy Day, President Muhammadu Buhari said there was reason to celebrate Nigeria’s democratic emancipation despite current challenges posed the affliction of the Coronavirus.
“It is a day to honour our founding fathers who toiled to establish our republic and every Nigerian who has worked tirelessly to sustain it.
“We are celebrating this year’s Democracy Day despite the COVID-19 pandemic which afflicts our nation and the whole world.”
The President acknowledged that these are difficult times for families that have lost loved ones and all those whose businesses have been affected by policies introduced to fight the pandemic.
He praised health workers who are on the frontlines for their sacrifices and dedication, saying their resolve in combating the virus, “is a testament of our courage and resilience as a people and as a great nation”
The President itemized the successes of his government, noting it has remained focused on the nine-point which was promised the Nigerian people at its inception.
He observed that after coming out of recession, the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and the nation’s foreign reserves have improved considerably.
“We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession”, President Buhari remarked.
“The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, he explained.
Highlighting the policy direction of the administration on the economic front, the nation’s number one citizen revealed, “our objectives have remained to stabilize the macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.”
Nigeria emerged as an independent nation on 1960, but a series of military coups led to the demise of the First Republic and truncated further attempts to return to democracy in the years that followed.
On the nation’s return to civilian rule, the PDP through President Olusegun Obasanjo snatched power.
His administration completed two tenures and handed over power to President Umaru Yar Adua also of the PDP.
Yar Ardua died within the first two years of his administration, paving way President Goodluck Jonathan to take up the mantle of leadership.
In 2015, after 16 years of unbroken political dominance, the APC led by President Muhammadu Buhari defeated the incumbent PDP government in an election which is still seen as free and fair to this day.
There may be mixed reactions as the national government touts its achievements in office, but many Nigerians agree that after 21 years of undiluted democracy, there is reason to celebrate; reason to look forward to the future with hope.
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