Democracy day in Nigeria - June 12

Democracy day in Nigeria - June 12

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Published on: June 9, 2023

Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day on the 12th of June every year. The Nigerian democracy day marks the anniversary of Nigeria's transition to democracy in 1999. On democracy day, Nigerians celebrate the progress made since the end of military rule and the establishment of a democratic government.

The democracy day in Nigeria is marked with significant events such as parades, speeches, and festivities. It is a time to reflect on the essence of democracy and the need to protect it.

Significance of June 12 in Nigeria's history and democracy

June 12 is a significant day in Nigeria’s history as it was the day when a democratic election was held in Nigeria.

The June 12 1993 election was held after a long era of military regimes which began with a military coup in 1983. A transitional process to civilian rule was spearheaded by the then military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. This process culminated in the June 12 election in which Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) seemingly won.

Nigerian presidents

Right to left - Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and General Sani Abacha

However, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) never declared the result of the election due to Babangida's (IBB) annulment of the elections citing electoral irregularities. This annulment sparked protests and political unrest, leading to the resignation of IBB and an interim government was put in place. Eventually, the military rule was continued with General Sani Abacha taking power via a bloodless coup later in the year.

The 1999 election

On the 27th of February 1999, Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo was elected President of Nigeria in a democratic election. Obasanjo's victory was seen as a major milestone in Nigeria's transition back to democracy after a long era of military regimes.

Author: Michael Akerele