Democracy Day celebration in Nigeria was declared an annual celebration to commemorate our emancipation from the jackboot of military dictatorship. It was usually celebrated on the 29th of May, until 2018 when the date was changed to the 12th of June.
This new date has always been epochal in itself before it was adopted as Democracy Day, and properly so. 12th June is etched in the country’s memory as the day the freest and fairest election was conducted in this country. The result of that election was not allowed to stand. It was annulled. The wishes of our people were crushed by military jackboot and swept under military camouflage.
However, Nigerians don’t know how to stay down when struck down. We fought the dictators in every nook and cranny of this land. Our voices were heard far across the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of our finest hours. The Nigerian spirit shone like a diamond in the sky. But it wasn’t without sacrifices.
Nigerians sacrificed everything they had, some shed their blood and paid the ultimate price for democracy to be born again in 1999. Nigerians are still giving everything they have to sustain this present democracy.
We are not where we use to be, but we are certainly not where we ought to be. For instance, Nigerians shouldn’t be dying during elections any more. No Nigerian should spill a drop of blood, let alone be killed, for another Nigerian to fulfil his political ambition. The blood spilled today attempt to make mockery of the sacrifices of our heroes past.
As we remember our heroes past today, I also remember those who died untimely, cut down in their prime, recently. I remember Charles Onwe from Ukelle, who was killed in 2020 during the PDP Primary Election to elect the candidate for the Cross River North, Senatorial District By-election. Many were maimed. Today, those who killed this young man are still chameleoning politically.
Charles did not deserve to die like that. Today, as we remember him and many others, let’s make sure Charles didn’t die in vain. Today shouldn’t just be a day to remember our heroes past and the sacrifices they make, but it should also be a day to count our blessings of democracy and ask those entrusted with the distribution of these blessings to give account of their stewardship.
This is the last Democracy Day before the next General Elections, so the ball is now in your court. By the next Democracy Day, make sure that only those who have improved your lives are at the helm of affairs. Go and get your PVC and get ready for the greatest civic duty of your life.
As for me, it is an honour of a life time to be your Senator; and June 12 reinforces my commitment to continue serving you and delivering the dividends of democracy. Our hand is on the plough and we shall not look back.
Distinguished Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe,
Representing the Good People of Cross River North Senatorial District.