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.
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.
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.
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.