Nigeria: Democracy Day - NAS Demands Electoral Reforms, Condemns Suppression of Protests

Nigeria Democracy Day protest in Ogun State.
12 June 2021

The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje in a statement: "22 Years of Unbroken Democracy: Whither Nigeria" also lamented the continued repression of dissenting voices and suppression of protests in the country.

Owoaje while noting that the journey to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day was a tortuous one, expressed regret that Nigeria's democratic experiment since 1999 has been characterised by false starts and a worrisome observance of the rule of law in the breach.

"More importantly, in the last two years remaining on his tenure, President Buhari must devote his energy to bequeath an enduring legacy of democracy through electoral reforms. Central to this, is by ensuring that the Executive and Legislature arms, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), engage in proper discussion to ensure the final delivery to Nigerians, an Electoral Act that would guarantee free, fair and transparent elections in 2023 and beyond," he said.

Owoaje while lamenting divisive tendencies in the country which is threatening the unity of the country, advised President Buhari to change his views about other sections of the country and be a rallying point of unity.

"Worse still, the last six years have been depressing for Nigerians especially due to the divisive attitude and conduct of the political leadership. Never in the history of the country has Nigerians been as divided as we are presently. Across the country, discordant tunes on one hand reverberates demanding justice, equity and equitable distribution of resources to enhance national integration and development. And on the other hand, criminal gangs, killer herdsmen, bandits and insurgents have seized control of several ungoverned spaces terrorising Nigerians and tearing violently at the fabric of national unity holding the country together.

"More worrisome is the repression of dissenting views and suppression of protests by agents of the state working in clear discord and impunity against the laws of the land. Freedom of speech and expression is constantly under threat and Nigerians are subjected to illegal orders from security agents barring them from protests"

He continued: "President Muhammadu Buhari as the incumbent President has a crucial role to play in rekindling the confidence of Nigerians in the democratic system by transforming it into a rallying point of national unity.

"The diversity of Nigeria is not a curse. Indeed it is a blessing, if we have a responsible and responsive leadership that is truly interested in harnessing the diverse nature of the country for accelerated development. President Buhari should refrain from viewing Nigeria from his parochial point of view and realise his responsibility is to every citizen of this country."

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