By Emmanuel Adigwe
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has stated that political leaders have not done enough to make Nigerians happy.
He stated this in a message to celebrate Democracy Day stressing that there are many unsung heroes who have become victims of bad governance.
Atiku said that although many Nigerian leaders have done their best to deliver good governance since 1999, the result of their efforts “clearly shows that our best has not been good enough thus far”.
He said: “The celebration of Democracy Day is an affirmation of our collective struggles towards a system of participatory government and acceptance of the primacy of the rule of law.
“Just like the late Bashorun MKO Abiola continues to be the symbol of the June 12 struggle, there are many others like the late Chief Alfred Rewane; my mentor, Tafida Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and many more too numerous to mention who lost their lives in order for us to have a democracy.
“Yet there are so many other heroes who remain unsung. They are Nigerians who have fallen victims of bad governance.
“While we may have a day dedicated to celebrating democracy, it remains saddening that we have not delivered enough dividends to our people to be happy over.”
Atiku enjoined the government to make the celebration of Democracy Day worthwhile by ensuring integrity in the electoral process and fastening the necessary electoral reforms.
He said: “It is clear that the problem of leadership is at the epicentre of governance issues that have afflicted Nigeria since the restoration of this democratic dispensation.
“To get at this problem would require the voting citizens of the country to undertake a more critical evaluation of national leadership recruitment – a rare gift which democracy guarantees through the instrumentality of periodic elections.
“It is when we do that, that democracy can pass as a self-correcting mechanism and when it is denied, we are left with a pseudo-democracy which is counterproductive to the notion of participatory democracy.
“As we celebrate today our 21st anniversary of unbroken democratic rule, it is necessary that we canonize the memories of our heroes of democracy by expanding the application of democracy as a mechanism of good governance by making sure that ballots cast during an election are sacrosanct in order for leaders who represent the true aspirations of the people to emerge.
“On the occasion of Democracy Day, being marked against the backdrop of the uncertainties of this season, may the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the struggle to enthrone the democratic rule that we are enjoying today never be in vain.”