I salute My Learned Silks, seniors and Colleagues on this Democracy Day, June 12, 2020, marking 21 years of uninterrupted civil rule in our country.
In the face of life’s hard knocks, thorns and snares that have ambushed us so greatly as a nation, we all deserve commendation for making it thus far.
The right for all citizens to enjoy equal participation in the democratic process was achieved after considerable struggles and sufferings. We remember and celebrate all those who sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy today.
A great number of our compatriots put their lives on the line, with personal losses, struggles and sufferings. They confronted the tyrants fearlessly, driven by the passion for common good and the quest to ensure our return to civil rule.
As we move on the path of this democracy, let us reflect on where we are coming from and at the same time, uphold the common and beautiful democratic principle that allows dissenting voices to be heard, through which we could consolidate and deepen our democracy.
Corruption seems not to be abating; electoral processes are losing credibility by every election. Those in authority must live by example in this fight against corruption.
Our legislators must live above primordial political sentiments, and make laws that would strengthen our electoral processes and democratic institutions.
Our electoral umpires must be patriotic enough to allow for free expression of the will of the people, through transparent, credible and fair electoral process. At the same time politicians on their part should learn to always play by the rules.
Terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, insecurity and recently rape cases all over the country is taking a heavy toll on our collective psyche as a nation. While we struggle to defeat these common enemies, I urge us all to be united in our resolve to overcome, so we can have a prosperous nation we so much desire.
Without doubt, the emergence of coronavirus has widened the gap between the poor and the rich. There are now job losses, pay cuts and temporary layoffs. What this means is that the coming days would be very challenging and difficult for our citizenry, except something drastic is urgently done to revive the economy that is racing towards recession.
On this note, I call on our president to kindly fulfil his democracy day speech of June 12, 2019, when he promised to lay the enduring foundations for taking a hundred million Nigerians out of mass poverty.
The government must sit up and bring to an end the endless medical tourism that has plunged the health sector into precipice.
I also want to charge the executive to be circumspect in its dealing with other arms of government, taking note of the doctrine of separation of powers and not to forget the rule of law. The labour of our heroes past would be denigrated if we continue to trample on our symbols of democracy by arbitrarily invading courts, arresting judicial officers and disobeying orders or judgments of courts of competent jurisdictions.
Our Constitution is founded on the rule of law, the primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to law. Therefore, condemning those facing trial and making them look guilty in the court of public opinion is not good for our system.
Once more, we should continue to play safe in the face of the novel global pandemic- Coronavirus, by abiding by all prescribed rules by health experts to enable us flatten the curve.
In achieving enduring and sustainable democracy, we must refuse to be defeated by all those challenges. This is because champions only emerge by defeating their foes.
Long live the NBA!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
NBA [LAGOS] BRANCH