Since 1999, we have celebrated the 29th of May as Democracy Day.
On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018 had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day.
Our leaders across the nation have seized upon the day as an opportunity to deliver monologues on their ‘achievements.’ This practice, unfortunately, serves to obviate the essence of Democracy Day.
Winston Churchill is credited with having said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those that have been tried from time to time. Beyond the witticism of the British orator lies an indisputable truth. With all its imperfections, democracy remains the best form of government known to mankind.
Democracy entrenches personal and collective liberties and guarantees freedom from oppression and discrimination for all peoples governed within its compass.
Government of the people by the people for the people is the enduring definition laid down in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. The long-form definition of democracy is of a political system where a Constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, equality and even distribution of wealth and opportunities, fair and free elections, rule of law, independent courts and personal freedom of citizens.
Accordingly, the preamble to the Nigerian constitution stated “… AND TO PROVIDE for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government