The build-up to June 12, as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day, was bliss for some; angst for others.
Which is why Hardball understands former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s humbug, the moment he found his voice. The Punch quoted him as saying declaring June 12 as Democracy Day, laudable as that is, was not enough.
True, Atiku’s stance isn’t altogether unreasonable: June 12, democracy and governance should be a means to an end: improving the people’s lives; and delivering wellness, development and prosperity.
But what rankles, in Atiku’s mourning after, is his thick hypocrisy. Wasn’t declaring June 12, as basic and just that was, beyond the ken of Atiku and his principal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in their eight-year presidency?
Atiku’s mentor, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua died in post-June 12 Abacha gulag. Obasanjo himself was canned, and made it from there to be elected president. Yet, none of the two thought it fit to honour the man whose martyrdom fetched them the top-most offices in the land.
The National Stadium, Abuja, just renamed MKO Abiola National Stadium, was always on the cards to do MKO honour. But what did Atiku and boss do? To think these blokes always think Nigerians are fools who always forget!
Anyway, at least Atiku found his voice, in the mourning after, even if riddled with the usual Atiku-lated cant and bad grace. Obasanjo? He simply scrammed! Yet, his darling “international community” were painting Abuja red, for June 12, Obasanjo’s living nemesis, with love from MKO from the grave!
But not Obasanjo alone squirreled out, never to be heard, on a day of national re-birth. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida too, the annuler whose wayward act started the trouble, stayed clear, even if he was invited. So did former President Goodluck Jonathan, an otherwise goodly guy, let down by innate weakness, who nevertheless was smart enough to to give in, when he knew he was licked!
With the mourning after, it would appear a quiet but no less magical rite of passage, from an old, ruinous order, to a new one that beckons, where nobody, no matter how power-drunk, would dare cancel the result of a democratic election.
But from the mourning of Atiku and co, comes another morning of putative bliss.
The National Assembly, unlike the Saraki coup of 2015, just returned to the pair of Ahmed Lawan (Senate President) and Femi Gbajabiamila (Speaker, House of Representatives), legitimate change agents that the people can call to question.
Why, the last Saraki vestige of rank opportunism, in the Ekweremadu challenge for Deputy Senate President, pitiably collapsed, leading to Ovie Omo-Agege’s triumph. But pray: on what basis might a minority senator vie for DSP, a majority “property”?
That just reinforced the June 12 spirit — of majority win and minority loss, in the best spirit of justice and fair play.
Leave the old order to their mourning. God knows they have earned it, many times over, by their rotten conduct.
But let post-June 12 Democracy Day usher in a new era, where the people are well and truly kings and queens.
It is the fitting morning — and mourning — after! [THE NATION]