Democracy Day Celebration: Atiku Says APC Has Thrown Nigeria into Extreme Poverty

•PDP accuses ruling party of desecrating country’s democratic principles, legacies

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

As Nigeria marks the June 12 Democracy Day, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of throwing the citizens into extreme poverty.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also berated the APC administration for insulting the democratic ideals for which the hero of the Democracy Day celebration, winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which the military annulled, Moshood Abiola, died.   

In a statement, he signed, Atiku said, “The past nine years has thrown up a regime of extreme hardship manifested in excruciating poverty and unprecedented levels of violence and insecurity upon our people.

“Sadly, the ruling APC is to blame for bringing forth this dawn of gloom.”

He added, “But the opposition political parties are even more guilty than the ruling party for the seeming lack of capacity to come together and galvanise a coalition that will retire the ruling party and articulate a plan of good governance that will earn the conviction of Nigerians.”

The former vice president said, “Today, the failings of the opposition parties to uphold the functionality of their existence is the major threat to our democracy.

“The earlier they realise that the fortunes of Nigeria lie in their forging a coalition, the better it will be for our country and the people.”

He explained that the secondary purpose of declaring every June 12 as Democracy Day “in our country is to commemorate the history of the long journey of becoming a stable democratic country”.

According to Atiku, “Truth be told, there’s no substitute to democracy as a form of government.

“Whereas our current democratic dispensation is a quarter of a century old, it will not be out of place to pay tributes to the sacrifices made by many patriots, chiefly among them Basorun MKO Abiola and his beloved wife, Alhaja (Mrs) Kudirat Abiola, Tafida Shehu Yar’Adua, and Alfred Rewane, among many others.

“The historical timeline of the struggle that birthed this democracy is abundant with a series of coalitions and alliances amongst the political leaderships of that era to flush away the vestiges of military and dictatorial governance in order to return power to the people.

“It is commendable that for 25 years we have witnessed an uninterrupted season of electoral politics. It is an unprecedented epoch in our history.

“It is worthy of celebration and commendation must go to the people of our great country. I must also congratulate the political class for having embraced the rectitude of nurturing a democracy, as well as the civil society. It is important that all stakeholders continue to do their bit to ensure the sustainability of our democracy.

“But our democracy is not yet virile if it continually fails to deliver the promises of prosperity and liberty to the people.”

Similarly, PDP criticised the APC federal governments since 2015, for desecrating the democratic principles, legacies and values which the late Abiola laboured and died for.

In a statement, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said, “It is distressing that our nation is observing the Democracy Day under a system that relishes in brazen violation of the constitution, election rigging, stifling and manipulation of opposition, muzzling of dissenting voices; undermining the judicial system and other democracy institutions in desperation to turn Nigeria into a one-party state.

“More disquieting is that all the progress and gains made by successive PDP administrations in entrenching democratic practice in Nigeria have been reversed by the APC administrations.

“Nigerians can recall with nostalgia the glorious days of the PDP at the return of democracy in 1999 to 2015, which period witnessed the expansion of democracy practice and dividend; notably the conduct of free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and principle of separation of powers, economic transformation, resulting in Nigeria becoming a preferred foreign investment destination in the world.”

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