Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23rd 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has lamented the fact that many Nigerian were languishing in hunger as President Buhari celebrated democracy day on June 12, stating that the President was not living up to the June 12 ideal.
On Wednesday, the country this year celebrated Democracy Day for the first time since the return to civilian rule some 20 years back on June 12. The celebration which had hitherto been held on May 29 of every year was a memorable event.
What made the event more striking was the fact that the focus this year was to honour the late MKO Abiola, who has been widely acclaimed as the winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election described as the freest and fairest election so far in the history of the country.
There was jubilation across the country when Buhari made the announcement in 2018. Buhari had further gone on to recognise Abiola as a former President. Many had commended the move as they said it was long overdue.
However, some have critised the President for his seemingly double standards on the day of the celebration. The Presidential candidate of the PDP in the recently concluded presidential election is a strong voice in this regard.
He pointed out the fact that while setting a date aside to honour the struggles made by the late MKO Abiola who had paid the ultimate price to protect the sanctity of democracy in the country was laudable and not a bad idea in itself, the President had with some of his actions betrayed the ideas and symbol that June 12 was supposed to represent.
He had in particular talked about the plight of Nigerians who were suffering as he said that the declaration of June 12 as a work-free day meant nothing to Nigerian workers as some had no idea where their next meal was going to come from.
“ It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when the ordinary people of Nigeria still don’t have the freedom to find a better life from the suffocating grip of poverty, when Nigeria is now the global headquarters of extreme poverty.
“It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when a disproportionate number of citizens are not sure of where their next meal will come from and when the sanctity of their lives is not guaranteed,” he said.
Atiku was making a reference to the report by the World Poverty Clock which had listed Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world during Buhari’s first term as President.
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