Former Chairman of Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Dr Sarah Jibrin, has called for the fusion of new Democracy Day and Handing-Over ceremony with Independence Anniversary programme every year.
Nigeria’s Independence anniversary is celebrated on Oct. 1, and May 29, which was the day democratic government was inaugurated in the country’s nascent democracy which began in 1999, had been celebrated as Democracy Day.
But, on June 6, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the recognition of June 12 as new Democracy Day in commemoration of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, believed to have been won by late Chief MKO Abiola.
The election was annulled by the then military government under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, an action that drew the ire of Nigerians and the international community, and set confusion in the country for a long period.
Jibrin told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that June 12 as new democracy day in place of May 29, which had become handing-over day, amounted to proliferation of public holidays.
On whether her political party may reverse the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day if elected in 2019 elections, she said: ‘’First of all, June 12 is another chapter.
‘It was during the military era that they brought about May 29 as Democracy Day.
‘’Did we not say that the labour of our hero past shall not be in vain? What was the significance of May 29 to Nigeria?
“For our elders not to pay attention to the positive initiatives and the observation of the young people is unfortunate.
‘’What is the meaning of Democracy Day? If it is going to be Democracy Day, it should be something around Oct. 1, the handing over of power to this country by the colonial masters.
‘’So, Democracy Day can be celebrated around that period, and Democracy Day conferences, etc, can now be around the Oct. 1. But these days, it is just proliferation of holidays.”
According to her, the increase in holidays is affecting the country’s economy.
Jibrin, who served as Special Adviser on Ethics and Values to former President Goodluck Jonathan, said change of Democracy Day to June 12 was the same way History was removed as a subject from the school curriculum.
She called for consistency in policies and programmes of the government in order to gain the respect of succeeding generations.
‘’They must realise that they are losing respect of incoming generations, because of all these constitutional bottlenecks being created by some of our elders.
“This is why lots of our children do not understand how to belief in Nigeria.
‘’Let’s have the courage to be consistent in all those things that are right for this country, honest history about Nigeria.
‘’Who decided that History should be removed from the curriculum? Was it the legislature? Why should people just take arbitrary decisions because they are in political leadership? What sort of conspiracy is this?
‘’Where are the evidences of compliance with the content of our Holy Books used for taking Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance? Why are our leaders causing confusion for us?
‘’I am also a victim of the June 12. I know the things that went wrong that are being overlooked, but I believe the legislature and the elders there will sit down and work this out amicably,” she said.
On the party’s plan to change Nigeria’s name and build a perimeter fence around the country if elected, Jibrin said the proposal would not be immediate.
She said that JMPP would begin by sorting out the country’s political and administrative problems before tackling the name-change.
‘’We are talking about chronological plans. When we have responsible leadership, then the next things happen in sequence,” she said.