June 12 Democracy Day: Live updates as Nigeria hosts world leaders
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, announced that June 12 will be celebrated as the new Democracy Day.
About a year after, the president on Monday, June 10, signed the Public Holiday Amendment Bill into law.
The new law, according to the president's senior special assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, allows public holiday to be declared on June 12 every year, while May 29 is to be a handing-over date and working day.
“By the act amended and signed by Mr President, May 29 is no more a public holiday. June 12 is now a public holiday and the country’s Democracy Day,” Enang said.
Since 1999, May 29 has been observed as public holiday and Democracy Day.
Today will be the first time that Democracy Day will be observed on June 12.
In signing of the bill into law, the federal government also declared today as public holiday to commemorate the maiden National Democracy Day.
READ ALSO: FLASHBACK: Full results of June 12, 1993 election that gave Abiola victory
The federal government has invited world leaders for the maiden June 12 Democracy Day celebration instead of the May 29 inauguration ceremony to save cost.
The May 29 handing over was low-key as a number of the events slated for the occasion were moved to June 12 Democracy Day.
The event marking the June 12 Democracy Day celebration kicked off on June 7 with a Historical Exhibition in Arts, Pictures and Immersive Environment.
The historical exhibition was on June 9 followed by a Youth Concert, Creative Industry and Entertainment Night at the International Conference Centre.
On June 11, there was a Secondary Schools Exhibition/Panel Discussion which featured three events, the PMB Oratorical Contest, an Anti-corruption Summit and First Lady’s Commissioning Programme in Yola.
The maiden June 12 will start off this morning, Wednesday, June 12, with a parade at the Eagle Square and the Democracy Day programme will be wrapped up with a Dinner and Gala Night at the State House.
Legit.ng will be providing live updates of the historical June 12 celebration as the celebration kicks off at the Eagle Square.
Democracy Day: When Should We Celebrate It? | Legit TV
DSS announces no arm policy inside Eagles Square, bars Armed security personnel
The Department of State Service (DSS) has announced no arm policy inside Eagles Square and barred armed security personnel.
Long queues, thorough search at all entrances leading to Eagles Square
The security operatives are conducting thorough searches as Nigerians form long queues at all entrances leading to Eagles Square.
Buhari, Osinbajo, world leaders arrive Eagles Square for Democracy Day celebration
President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have arrived the Eagles Square in Abuja where the June 12 Democracy Day celebrations are holding for the first time.
World leaders in attendance include the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz; President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; President of Liberia, George Weah; President of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Others are: President of Senegal, Macky Sall; Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda; President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow; President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou; President of Guinea-Bissau, José Mário Gómes Vaz and President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, among others.
President Buhari inspects the Guards Brigade at Eagles Square
President Buhari inspecting the Guards Brigade at Eagles Square.
We are victims of June 12 - Third Republic senators
A group of third republic legislators said that they are the true victims of June 12.
The group of legislators made this claim at the Eagles Square as the Democracy Day activities are ongoing.
They argue that they have not been compensated and have lost about 145 of their members over the years.
Recall that in 1992, both the bicameral legislative elections and the presidential election were annulled by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Babangida went on to postpone the polls, however, the military leader annulled the results again, claiming that there was a high level of irregularity within the electoral process.
Third Republic senators lament, say they are victims of June 12 - Credit: Channels TV
Dignitaries in attendance at Eagles Square
Dignitaries are already present at Eagle Square as the Democracy Day celebrations continue. The security chiefs including; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, have also arrived.
The state governors and ministers also in attendance.
Business moguls, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola have also arrived. The leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has arrived too.
Traditional rulers are also in attendance.
Children of the late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election are at the venue. They are Hafsat Abiola-Costello and her brother, Jamiu Abiola.
All former heads of state are absent at Eagle Square
All former heads of state of Nigeria are reportedly absent at Eagle Square where the maiden June 12 Democracy Day celebration is taking place.
Exciting videos you should not miss from the Democracy Day celebration
Watch the Nigerian National Troupe as they entertain guests at Eagle Square
Key quotes from President Buhari's Democracy Day speech
President Buhari giving his Democracy day Speech.
"Peace and Unity will be our collective legacy"-PMB
"This administration will consolidate on the successes of the last four years" - President Buhari
"Nigeria’s wealth lies in agriculture" -PMB
"According to the UN, our population will rise by 400million by 2020" - PMB
"Nigerians should be proud of their history" - PMB
"We must continue to be good neighbours and good citizens" - PMB
"In the last four years, we have made tremendous progress in addressing challenges in the country" - PMB
"We can afford to be proud Nigerians" - President Buhari
"Our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7% this year" - PMB
"We will work with the private sector to accelerate economic growth"- PMB
"Nigerian government will continue to reduce social inequalities through the Social Investment Programmes" - PMB
"Over 2000km roads across the country will be completed"- PMB
"We will ensure electricity is available and affordable for all Nigerians" - PMB
"Today I propose the renaming of the National Stadium to the Moshood Abiola stadium" - PMB
"My optimism for a better Nigeria is unshakeable" -PMB
"Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria" -Buhari
"All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful." -Buhari
Buhari renames National Stadium after MKO Abiola
"Today I propose the renaming of the National Stadium to the Moshood Abiola stadium" - PMB
Buhari immortalizes himself with June 12 - MURIC
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has immortalized himself with the official recognition and declaration of June 12.
MURIC said this in a statement received by Legit.ng and signed by its head, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement applauded the president for making the recognition of June 12 a fait accompli.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is the hero of the moment. He deserves accolades for coming out boldly to do what several regimes lacked the guts to do. Buhari is a genuine democrat, a patriot nulli secundus and a statesman primus inter pareil.
“As for May 29, it is good riddance to the bad rubbish that was fraudulently contrived as democracy day. That date had never truly reflected the spirit of nationalism in this country and it had never been accepted by true democrats and June 12 activists north and south of Nigeria.
“June 12, 1993 election which was won by Chief Moshood Kashimowo Abiola (MKO) was by far the fairest, most peaceful and most democratic election held in Nigeria to date. Its annulment by the Babangida regime was criminal, myopic and counter-productive while the incarceration of MKO and his eventual assassination were the heights of tyranny. But the military dictator, Gen. Sanni Abacha (rtd), out-heroded Herod by masterminding the killing of MKO’s wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, while the husband was still in captivity,” MURIC said.
According to MURIC, it is these acts of totalitarian tyranny and extreme inhumanity which make Buhari’s act of benevolence stand out and characterize his administration with a real human face and an embodiment of good governance.
The group said it must be noted that successive administrations have ignored all appeals to recognize this momentous day, including those who benefited most from the June 12 struggle.
In Nasarawa, no democracy day celebration
In Nasarawa state, there was no democracy day celebration in honour of the late Moshood Abiola as the governor, Abdullahi Sule, did not line up any activity for an event.
NAN reports that it was supposed to be the first democracy day with Sule as the governor of the state, and no reason was given for the development.
However, Lafia and some towns in the state were quiet. Most of the highways were also largely deserted due to the public holiday declared by the federal government.
It was learnt that some private schools in Akwanga and Lafia did not observe the public holiday as students and pupils were seen receiving lessons in classes.
Some residents of the state commended President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring Abiola more than two decades after he was denied his mandate.
June 12: Buhari has confirmed he is a man of his words - APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to correct past injustices and celebrate heroes and heroines that paid the supreme sacrifice for the country’s democratic freedom.
In a statement to mark the June 12 celebration, the APC, through its national publicity secretary, Mallam Issa-Onilu, said the day was very important to the history of the country.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government has once again demonstrated its avowed commitment to correct past injustices and celebrate heroes and heroines that paid the supreme sacrifice for the democratic freedom that we all cherish and enjoy today,” the party said.
The party said the government would continue to commit itself to the finest ideals of democratic values and ethos by its progressive actions and programmes for the people and the country.
According to the APC, in correcting past injustices, the APC-led government is also committed to equitable administration of the commonwealth for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Upgrading your living standard is best way I will celebrate June 12 - Bauchi governor
The governor of Bauchi, Bala Mohammed, said on Wednesday, June 12, that the best way his administration would celebrate democracy day is to upgrade the living standard of citizens of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) says Mohammed stated this in Bauchi in a message to the people to commemorate 2019 Democracy day in the state.
The governor said lifting the standards of the people will be done through the provision of critical infrastructure, ensuring sound education, stimulating agricultural growth and qualitative healthcare for Bauchi state citizens.
He described the day as “unique and significant in a special way in recognition of M.K.O. Abiola, the democratically elected president in 1993 general elections.”
Mohammed praised the late MKO Abiola fir his heroism and dynamism as well as his examplary contribution to the evolution of democracy in Nigeria.
He promised that Bauchi, being the ‘incubation centre’ of politics in the country, would provide exemplary leadership anchored on the finest democratic principles and practices of good governance, transparency and delivery.
He also urged the people to be vigilant and ensure that maximum cooperation was given to security services in their quest to maintain law and order which “are sine qua non for political development.”
While urging the people to be law-abiding, he appealed to religious leaders to pray for the country, its leaders and peace and transquility to reign in the land.
Why today calls for celebration - Governor Udom Emmanuel
The governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel, saud on Wednesday, June 12, that the Nigeria deserves to celebrate this year's democracy day.
The governor said Nigerians need a pat on the back for sustaining democracy in the last 20 years.
"Our democracy has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, and Nigerians deserve a pat on the back.
"Today, calls for re- dedication of ourselves to pursuing those issues that promote national unity and peaceful co- existence," the governor said.
Today is a proud day for Abiola's family and for those who fought for democracy - Aregbesola
Immediate past governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for meeting his promise concerning June 12.
Aregbesola described the democracy day as one the family of the late MKO Abiola and all those who fought for the country's democracy should be proud of.
Democracy day fails in Niger as governor, deputy jets out of state
The democracy day celebration reportedly failed to hold in Niger as the governor, Sani Bello, and his deputy, Ahmed Ketso, were said to be out of the state.
It was learnt that no activity was lined up or even held to commemorate the day in the state.
Reports, however, said the holiday was observed as workers and students stayed at home.
However, a statement by the permanent secretary in the state’s information and strategy ministry, Alhaji Isah Bala Ibrahim, on behalf of the governor, congratulated the people of the country.
According to the statement, democracy has helped to restore the fundamental rights and liberties enjoyed by the people and brought development closer to them.
The governor argued that democracy had brought comparative improvements in various sectors of the economy.
He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for changing the date of the democracy day to June 12 in the interest of peace and national reconciliation.
Democracy day celebration stopped in Ibadan, DSS arrests 3 activists
A supposed protest by the Oodua Coalition Against Insurgency and Kidnapping in Yorubaland in Ibadan, Oyo was dispersed as the Department of State Security Service (DSS).
The security operatives also reportedly arrested three activists including
It was learnt that at the venue of the rally, a lot of people had gathered before the operatives stormed the place.
Some members of the coalition, which planned to protest the level of insecurity in the south west, scampered as the security operatives in about five buses and clad in black uniforms, arrived.
It was learnt that a public affairs analyst and state coordinator of the coalition as well as another lady activist simply identified as Princess Oyeronke were also arrested.
Comrade Adesina Akinpelu, confirmed the arrest saying: “We got all the necessary approval but we were surprised to see men of the DSS arriving much earlier, even before the coalition members, with the intent to stop the rally.”
According to Akinpelu the ‘O to Ge’ rally was called “to address the issue of insecurity in the land and safeguard Yoruba people who are becoming endangered in the land through incessant kidnappings and wanton attacks on their farmlands.
“We don’t want to take laws into our hands and that’s why we called the meeting to drum it to the hearing of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari that aside declaring June 12 democracy day, he should also tackle the issue of insecurity in our land.”
Forgive Rotimi Amaechi - Ohanaeze begs Ndigbo, praises Buhari over June 12, 2019
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Wednesday, June 12, pleaded with the south east people to forgive Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past minister of transportation.
The group also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the decision to celebrate the June 12 anniversary of the 1993 presidential election said to have been won by the late MKO Abiola.
The organization urged the government to ensure that those responsible for the annulment of the election should be placed in the NIGERIA HALL OF SHAME while those that suffered the effect should be in NIGERIA HALL OF FAME.
Chuks Ibegbu, the spokesperson of Ohanaeze, said in a statement claimed that some people around the late Abiola worked against June 12 by colluding with the Abacha junta to truncate the swearing of the winner.
The Ohanaeze also said it was happy with Amaechi for allegedly repenting and paying penitence over his shocking remarks recently that Ndigbo has no right to insist on the 2023 presidency.
The group said Amaechi showed remorse in his most recent comment.
It also urged the Ndigbo to forgive the former minister and remove his name from the ‘IGBO HALL OF SHAME’.
June 12: Remain patient - Gani Adams begs Nigerians
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of June 12 struggle by being patient concerning the nation’s democracy.
The Yoruba leader said this to mark the June 12 democracy day in honour of Late MKO Abiola. The event was organised by the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Lagos.
"Chief MKO Abiola died for democracy to be sustained in Nigeria and the June 12 struggle has been on for 27 years, but we thank God that our struggle ended in victory.
“One of the lessons of June 12 is that you do not give up on a course or a struggle and I urge Nigerians not give up on our democracy.
"With continued struggle, our needs and yearnings as a people will be met someday, just as June 12 has been eventually declared as Democracy day in Nigeria.
“Nigerians must continue to demand for good governance and social justice. In fact, that I’m an Aare Onakakanfo will not stop me from fighting for the rights of Nigerians.
"This is because I’m an Aare with a conscience," he said.
Security officers during the June 12 celebration at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
Tinubu, one of the fighters for June 12, speaks on Beko, Fawehinmi
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has dedicated the maiden democracy day celebrations to activists including late Dr Beko Ransom-Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and many students that sacrificed their lives for the nation to have history.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tinubu stated this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday, June 12, at the Eagle Square venue of democracy day celebrations in Abuja.
The former governor noted that the victory of MKO Abiola, at the June 12, 1993 presidential election defied tribe, ethnic and religious sentiments and the day marked the beginning of transparent and open democratic system.
“I highly value human commitment to freedom and democracy, we did that and it took 20 years to recognise our efforts,” he said.
How Abiola's death crashed our hopes - Governor Abiodun
The governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, on Wednesday, June 12, noted how the death of MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, affected the country.
Abiodun, who spoke at an event marking the day in Abeokuta, Ogun state, said Abiola’s untimely death scuttled the hope of Nigerians in their own future.
Represented by his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the governor pleaded with Nigerians to emulate Abiola in the area of sacrifice for the good of the country.
“Since that moment and the subsequent events that attended the annulment of the Presidential election, June 12 has taken a life of its own and the date has continued to reverberate, even 26 years after.
“Today, we are gathered here to commemorate that date. Not only that, the date has taken on an added significance as it now doubles as the democracy day in Nigeria.
“The main actor and custodian of the mandate of the good people of Nigeria at the June 12 Presidential polls, late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (affectionately referred to as MKO Abiola), was not only an illustrious son of our dear state but also a successful businessman of international repute.
“The untimely death of the nationally acclaimed father of democracy and the symbol of that election, a son of the soil and our own brother, late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who was incarcerated and imprisoned, cut short our national hope as encapsulated in the Hope ’93 manifesto,” he said adding that Abiola’s demise forced the military rulers to relinquish power and move back to the barracks.