As Nigerians observe Democracy Day today, the Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) urged all citizens to assert their democratic rights by actively participating in electoral and governance processes.
CHRICED Executive Director, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi gave the charge in a statement commemorating the annulment of the historic June 12, 1993 Presidential election, won by Chief MKO Abiola and described as the freest and fairest ever conducted in the history of Nigeria.
He stated, “Despite the challenges that have plagued our electoral and governance processes, the historic occasion of June 12, should remind all Nigerians of their responsibility to participate actively in shaping the country’s future.
In 1993, Nigerians from all over the country demonstrated it was possible to act collectively to challenge military rule through the ballot box. This level of collective action through the ballot has left an indelible mark on the history of our nation, despite the fact that it was criminally annulled by the military in collusion with conscienceless civilian collaborators, who still hold sway over our political space.”
The CHRICED helmsman also noted the importance of the fight against corruption in ensuring accountable democracy and the delivery of social goods to the people.
His words: “At CHRICED, we are firmly of the position that democracy and all its tenets will not take firm roots in Nigeria if the process fails to deliver good governance, in terms of meeting social and economic needs of the teeming populace of our country. In this regard, the Nigerian people must exert the necessary pressure on government and governance actors to ensure significant reduction of corruption and waste in government expenditures at all levels.
“Corruption, in all its ramification undermines public trust and subverts the social contract. Unchecked, corruption alienates citizens from governance. As Nigeria takes further steps towards democratic consolidation, tackling corruption will be critical to the stability of democracy.
CHRICED therefore calls on Nigerians, to show more interest in governance processes by demanding accountability in the use of public funds for projects administered by local, state and federal governments. The constitutional mandate, which directs the State to abolish all forms of corrupt practices will remain a pipedream, if citizens do not get involved,” he said.
Finally, Dr. Zikirullahi advises President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to “repeat the mistake of his predecessor, General Buhari, in populating his government with corrupt individuals, regardless of their contribution to his emergence as President.” This is the only way to ensure good administration and the well-being of Nigerians, as well as to renew their hope in the nation.”