NCCE leads tree planting exercise in schools at Wassa Amenfi Central

The Wassa Amenfi Central District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in the Western Region has led a tree planting exercise in more than 20 basic and senior high schools within the district. The theme for the 2024 edition is: 'Growing for a Greener Tomorrow.' Mr Anthony Kelvin Amoo, the Wassa Amenfi Central District Director of the NCCE, speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, said the exercise was also part of the Commission's Citizenship Week celebration to educate the students to adopt positive attitudes towards the growth and development of the country. He said one of the NCCE's mandates was to ensure citizens' participation in nation building, thus, the tree planting exercise was to inculcate a sense of civic responsibility in the students towards protecting the environment for national development. 'The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, health ier communities, and endless natural beauty for a better tomorrow,' he said. Mr Amoo advised the students to ensure they nurtured the trees to grow and provide serene learning environment for improved academic performance. Source: Ghana News Agency

Democracy Day: INC urges FG to restore confidence in Nigerians

Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to restore the confidence and genuine hope of Nigerians in the country. Okaba made the call in his democracy day message made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday. He noted that June 12 was worth celebrating considering the relative human rights and freedom Nigerians are enjoying under civilian administrations and the need to consciously immortalise the Iconic democrat, Chief M.K.O Abiola. According to him, the return to democratic rule has at least given Nigerians some level of opportunity to choose their political leaders and to some extent, advance the exercise of citizen's right. 'No doubt, the worst democratic government is far better than any military regime, at least judging from our past experiences as a nation. 'However the current Federal Government should take urgent steps to overcome the hardship facing Nigerians. 'The federal government should a lso take steps to restore confidence in the masses who are battling with various livelihood and life threatening challenges such as insecurity, inflation, unemployment and criminality. 'Nigerians are becoming increasingly hopeless and helpless with each passing day,' he said. The INC president also noted that Nigeria's 25th Democracy Day celebration was a significant milestone which had raised a number of expectations from the government at all levels. This, he said included dealing with issues of peace and peaceful coexistence, mutual tolerance, economic growth and stability, improved security of lives and properties, advancement of educational and healthcare services. See also Church cautions politicians on utterances during campaigns Other areas of expectations he said included economic empowerment, job creation, good governance, strategic anti-corruption efforts and an all inclusive decision-making processes. 'The Nigerian citizens are in dare need for tangible progress that would translate into pos itive change for all, irrespective of class, gender, creed and ethnic differences. 'The oil and gas rich Niger Delta region, which is a critical component of Nigeria's economy, expects the current administration to without any further delay, address the multifaceted challenges facing it. 'This is in terms of infrastructure development, environmental remediation, economic empowerment, good governance and security,' he said. Okaba also said that the Ijaw people who were one of the four largest ethnic nationalities and major producers of oil and gas resources in the country expected greater commitment from President Tinubu's administration. According to him, this is to deal with her peculiar and persistent problems and concerns of resource injustice, lack of political inclusion, and representation in key political positions and decision-making processes as well as environmental degradation. 'The Ijaw quest for true federalism is rooted in their desire for greater autonomy, resource control and self-determin ation that would enable them to manage their affairs more effectively and promote their overall well-being. 'We wish to express our satisfaction with President Tinubu's stance on restructuring. 'While we appreciate the need for more efficient management of our local government councils, which are the 3rd tier of government, we wish to caution those seeking local government council autonomy to first and foremost tackle a more fundamental injustice. 'This injustice is the one created by the wide disparity in the number of local government areas per state, where Kano for instance has 44 and Bayelsa at the other extreme has only 8. See also We'll take Ijaw struggle beyond Nigeria - INC 'It is on this note that I implore the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu to take critical steps that will restore confidence and genuine hope in Nigerians.' He reiterated that citizens also have pivotal roles to play in taking the country out of the conundrum. 'Moving forward, let us make a commitment to remain patriotic and united as one people, as well as be good ambassadors of Nigeria,' he added. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Democracy Day: Forum demands bold policies for revolutionary youth development

The Nigerian Young Professional Forum (NYPF) has put forward a series of detailed recommendations for the National Youth Policy to pave the way for a more prosperous and inclusive future for Nigerian youth. The forum in a communique issued after its meeting and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, noted the crucial role a comprehensive policy reform can play in shaping a brighter future reform were call to action for lasting positive change. The proposed changes were carefully reviewed by some NYPF executive members, Chairperson Zaliha Lawal, Barrister Mayor Ndukaku, Dr Ekemini Udo and Media Consultant, Ere-ebi Agedah Imisi. The forum stated that the policy recommendations have been forwarded to the Ministry of Youth as the recommendations include 'Education and Talent Development, STEM Education Enhancement and Early STEM Education'. Others recommendations were for Health and Well-being as well as Ensuring Participation and Inclusiveness. Highlighting the critical role of educat ion and skills, the NYPF suggested a multipronged approach involving vocational training and education, aimed at elevating the status of vocational education to eliminate existing stigmas. The forum said that the approach would increase the number of highly skilled workers, transforming Nigeria from a consumer-driven nation to a manufacturing hub and innovation-led economy. 'It will tackle youth unemployment by fostering entrepreneurship and providing incentives for businesses that hire young people. 'It will emulate successful aspects of the Chinese economic model to build a robust manufacturing sector.' For the STEM Education Enhancement, it said it would position Nigeria as a global leader in innovation and technology through scholarships and Incentives. See also Democracy Day: CSO salutes Tinubu, Wike 'Early STEM education will encourage activities at secondary school levels and foster early interest and proficiency in STEM subjects to develop essential skills and passion from a young age. 'It will also help implement successful strategies from China and Singapore to build a strong STEM foundation, while the health and Well-being emphasises the importance of health and well-being among young Nigerians, proposing. 'It will enhance Physical and Mental Health and address the rising rates of drug and substance abuse among the youth. 'It will enhance access to comprehensive healthcare services to ensure a supportive environment for overall well-being. 'To ensure participation and inclusiveness, governments must promote participation, inclusiveness, and equitable opportunities for all youth. 'Furthermore, the National Youth Policy should guide leaders to consciously address barriers to meaningful youth engagement in civil and political affairs,' This, the forum said would also enhance opportunities for the constructive involvement of all youth in community and social development, political processes and governance. The NYPF is a leading organisation dedicated to empowering young professionals across Nig eria through advocacy, policy recommendations, and capacity-building initiatives. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Democracy Day: Expert tasks govts on skilled workforce

Dr Ifeanyi Nwafor, Nigerian business man has urged government at all levels to invest more in training programmes in order to build a skilled workforce that would add value to global economies. Nwafor gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the celebration of the nation's Democracy Day slated for June 12. He said building a highly skilled and educated workforce was very important in a global community and would enable Nigeria compete favourably. He noted that companies in advanced countries such as the United States, Canada and Britain among others , outsource some of the Information Technology (IT) jobs in countries like Malaysia and India. 'The reason they are going there is because these countries have a highly educated workforce, which can be easily trained to do some of the tasks that would had been done in their countries. 'So, we want the government to look into how to improve our educational systems and training programmes to enable us co mpete with all these countries. 'Many companies channel money into these countries to hire their workers, to set up infrastructure to do all these in these places,' he said. Nwafor, who is the Managing Director, Metrodigital Ltd., said Nigeria needed to make more investments in terms of improving the educational sector. He said that if Nigeria had a highly trained workforce, companies like Microsoft would come and carry out their software development. According to him, companies like Apple and others can also come to invest in the country as a result of the trained and skillful workforce. See also Accessible road network, infrastructure will curb security challenges in FCT -Expert The Metrodigital boss also lauded Nigeria's hard earned democracy in the last 25 years, saying democracy had indeed brought dividends to Nigerians. He said with democracy, government was able to revolutionalise the telecom industry which led to massive investment in telecom infrastructure in the country. According to him, th e telecom giants like MTN, Globacom, 9mobile, Airtel among others have dominated the Nigerian telecom market. He said that they brought affordable telecommunication services to almost every part of Nigeria. 'There has been tremendous progress made in the financial services sector, as new companies such as PayPal, Flutterwave, Opay, Moniepoint among others, have also emerged in the last few years. 'These have really revolutionalised financial services in a way, making e-commerce possible and with the advent of Fintech, people can now sit back in their homes and make orders in Jumia or Konga. 'Every market woman or man can have his/her Point of Sales(POS) and be able to accept credit card payments. 'These are all improvements in technology that emerged over the last several years as a result of democracy in the country,' Nwafor said. He urged governments to continue to make more progress by creating more enabling environment for more companies to thrive. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Group cautions against NASS intervention in Plateau Assembly affairs

A socio-political group, the Plateau Patriotic Front, has cautioned against call for the intervention of the National Assembly in the affairs of the Plateau State House of Assembly. The group gave the warning on Tuesday, in Abuja in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Mani Imman. He said the call for the leadership of the National Assembly to intervene in the affairs of the Plateau State House of Assembly was an invitation to stoke violence and disrupt governance in the state. Imman said those calling for the intervention of NASS as lover of crisis. He said that the development at the floor of the House of Representatives had come to the group's notice as reported in the media that a motion was raised during Plenary. 'The motion has called on the leadership of the National Assembly to intervene in the crisis surrounding the swearing-in of new members of the Plateau State House of Assembly. 'We view this alarm as an attempt to stoke problems and disrupt governance and the peaceful atmosphere under the guise of crisis in the State House of Assembly,' he said. He said those behind the call had been quoted as saying, 'The Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly has refused to swear in all the new members.' Imman said those behind the call had accused the speaker of demanding that they submit letters of resignation with accompanying court affidavits as a condition for swearing-in. He said that instead of calling for the National Assembly's intervention in the matter it should be resolved to avoid crisis in the state. See also Stakeholders want NASS to adopt Auditor-General's report for good governance 'Failure to address the delays and biases in the swearing-in of the new members poses a threat to security in the state and undermines the principles of justice, fairness, and democracy. 'The Court of Appeal, hearing appeals arising from judgments of the Plateau State Election Tribunal made decisions that resulted in the nullification of Certificates of Return of 16 sitting members of the State Assembly. 'The court has ordered the issuance of new Certificates of Return to the new members by the Independent National Electoral Commission,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We’ve steadied the course of democracy, says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria has steadied the course of democracy since exiting the yoke of military rule in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil. He also said Nigeria had become the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world. Tinubu made the remarks in his national broadcast on the 25th anniversary of unbroken democracy in Nigeria on June 12, Democracy Day. 'This change stands as a pivotal moment in human history. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the annals of mankind's progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment. 'Today, 25 years later, we celebrate the silver anniversary of our journey in democracy. 'Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimalise it to being nothing but the mere holding of periodic elections where one candidate and party outdo another,' he said. According to the President, whil e elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of democracy. 'Democracy is a way of life that encompasses a broad outlook of which elections are but a part. As such, a nation can have elections without being democratic. But a nation cannot be truly democratic without holding elections. 'That we have established a tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair elections gives credence to our democratic bearing. That we have experienced peaceful transitions of government affirms our democratic temperament,' he said. According to him, true democracy shines its light into the daily lives of the people who live under its nurturing wings. 'It affords us the freedom and liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us. 'Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, democracy assumes that conflicting ideas and differing opinions shall be the order of the day. 'Given the diversity and variety of the human experi ence, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints. See also Boys particularly vulnerable, insecure during violent conflicts - NGO 'What democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences through force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own,' the President appealed to Nigerians. He said no matter how complicated democracy may be, it is the best form of governance in the long run. 'We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this democracy for which so much has already been given. 'These people do this not to make things better but to subject all other people and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their elite, then your life will be small and no longer owned by you,' he said. Tinubu honoured those who laid down their lives and sacrificed everything to pave the way for the nation. 'We lost great heroes and he roines along the way. In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives. 'They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one. 'Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu,' he said. Others he said are Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm. Tinubu added that the sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. 'For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of life in exile. See also Author challenges gender disparities with new book titled 'Ichabod' 'While the exiled pro-democracy activists kept the fire burning, their comrades at home sustained the pressure on the military brass hats. 'Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun. 'The sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can never be repaid. Neither shall it be forgotten,' said Tinubu. He said the nation could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. 'We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military aut horities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties,' he said. 'I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts. 'As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance. I vow to do my utmost best to protect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria. 'Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life,' he said. He said although the challenges were steep and multiple, he was grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her history and point in her democratic journey. 'I come before you also to declare that our most important work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of dictators hip. 'The real test is whether we shall lower our guards as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade. See also Nigeria-Saudi Agreement: Strengthening Nigeria's economic horizon 'I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our political democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realisation of our economic democracy,' he said. The President acknowledged the economic difficulties Nigerians face at this point in time. He said the economy had been in desperate need of reform for decades and had been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil. He said the reforms initiated by his government were intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. 'There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportun ity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour. 'As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. 'In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organised labour on a new national minimum wage. 'We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,' he said. The President said he was committed building a Nigeria where no man is oppressed. 'In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one. 'The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true: 'There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still!' 'We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair,' he charged Nigerians. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Democracy Day: Labour insists on N250, 000 minimum wage

As Nigeria marks Democracy Day, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says its demand for the new National Minimum Wage remains N250,000. The Acting President of NLC, Mr Adewale Adeyanju, said this in a statement, while reacting to President Bola Tinubu Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government had offered N62, 000 as the new national minimum wage, at the end of the tripartite committee meeting, involving the Organised Private Sector (OPS) . According to him, the union appreciates the President's commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups. 'Our demand still remains N250,000 only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process. 'We are, therefore, surprised at the submission of Mr President over a supposed agreement. 'We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. 'There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage,' he said. Adeyanju also noted that the union had not seen a copy of the document submitted to Mr President and it would not accept any doctored document. He, however, reaffirmed the union's belief that the president on whose table the Tripartite Committee's report presently resides would prepare an Executive Bill which content would reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers. 'We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and masses. 'That is by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria. 'Mr President shoul d not allow these individuals and groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian workers out of poverty,' he said. According to him, the president's advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed. 'It is, therefore, important that Mr President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. 'Series of media propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government. 'Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the government,' he alleged. He added the NLC remained assured that the president's democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses. He also noted that NLC never agreed on a five-year duration of the minimum wage Act though acknowledged that the president mentioned five years or less. According to Adeyanju, the union also agreed that inflation should be pegged at a level for certain amount to be agreed as minimum wage. This is to bring clarity to what the report should contain. 'Once again, we reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation wage. 'We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty. 'We seek justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian workers. 'This is an opportunity to show that he listens to Nigerians as he promised,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Free zones remit N11.11trn to FG in 2023

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), says the country's Free Zones have remitted N11.11 trillion to the Federation Account as of October 2023. The Managing Director, NEPZA, Olufemi Ogunyemi, said this during an oversight visit of the members of the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment on Tuesday in Abuja. According to Ogunyemi, this achievement underscores the importance of special economic zones (SEZs) in Nigeria's economic landscape. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian SEZ scheme, governed by the NEPZA Act, allows for public, private, or public-private operations in these zones. The managing director said the zones had facilitated wealth and revenue generation for various states and agencies. 'In 2023 alone, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated N59.38 billion, Immigration Services received N828.7 million, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) garnered N8.738 billion, and states collected N998 million in PAYEE. 'Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs ) and Local Direct Investments (LDIs) from 2019 to 2023 have reached 491.8 million dollars and N1.15 trillion respectively. 'The Free Zones have also significantly contributed to import substitution, with more than N1.62 trillion worth of cargo imported from these zones between 2019 and 2023, saving scarce foreign exchange,' he said. According to Ogunyemi, the direct employment generated by the zones stands at 38,429 jobs, with an additional 172,930 indirect jobs created by the end of 2023. He said the scheme had also fostered skills development, with many semi-trained artisans gaining the expertise to start their ventures. See also FG to close energy gap through Rural Electrification Agency- Minister The NEPZA boss said that in spite of these successes, the authority was being faced with challenges such as an obsolete legal framework. He said they faced regulatory incursions, numerous invitations from the National Assembly, and conflicting legislation, such as the Finance Act and Customs Act. Ogunyemi , therefore, urged the support of the Senate Committee on Industries, Trade and Investment to address these challenges and enhance the SEZ scheme's effectiveness. While reiterating the transformative potential of SEZs, he highlighted the economic successes of nations like China and the UAE, advocating continued and strengthened implementation in Nigeria. The NEPZA boss also restated the authority's commitment to boosting the country's economy. Responding, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Sen. Sadiq Umar, reiterated the NASS's commitment to driving the mandate of NEPZA. On the legal framework, he said, 'if it is brought as an executive bill, I will be happy to sponsor it as my bill, but it has to conform with what I believe a bill should be.' On the numerous invitations, Umar said the national assembly was empowered to invite whomever it desired but urged the authority to ensure it operated according to its set goals. 'What I can help you with is ensuring you are doing the ri ght thing and that your books are clean. 'And if they invite you, you can confidently go there and answer questions,' he said. The chairman decried some zones' inability to meet their set goals and urged NEPZA to ensure this was addressed. The chairman said much more still needed to be done in the agency. See also FG committed to infrastructure development through PPP - ICRC boss 'The committee is going to take it up to ensure that the agency is well positioned to achieve the real reasons why they are established,' Umar said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Pay attention to our generation – Youth leader urges

Dayo Israel, the National Youth Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged Nigerian leaders to pay attention to the youth, as the future leaders of the country. Israel made the call in Abuja, at the youth programme organised by the Federal Government, as part of activities to mark the 25th Democracy Day Anniversary. The theme of the programme is: '25 years of Enduring Democracy: Prospects for the Future'. He described Nigerian youths as resilient, noting that in spite of the difficulties they were experiencing in fulfilling their future aspirations, they were still excelling in their various endeavors. He said that the future of Nigeria's democracy lies in the hands of the youth, who must be engaged in governance. 'The future of our democracy is in our hands (youths), and so the leaders of today must be conscious of the attention they give our generation. 'It is important to know that the Nigerian youths are ripe and ready for leadership, however we have to ensure, it is not by guns,' he s aid. According to him, Nigerian youths have demonstrated a level of decorum by not using guns to force themselves into leadership, as seen in some other African countries. He, however, said that leaders should not be complacent about the situation, but should be driven to providing enabling environment for youths participation in all their activities. Also speaking at the event, Abdulmumuni Abiola, the son of the late MKO Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 elections, said it was an honor for the date to be marked as Nigeria's Democracy Day. See also Sen. Suswam wants incoming govt. to tackle power deficit, insecurity He said that even at a young age, he knew his father was determined to make a difference in Nigeria, as he regarded the country as his special place. In his presentation on the Prospects of the Future, a political consultant, Mr Samuel Martins, said that youth must be patriotic and be advocates of value reorientation to man the leadership of Nigeria. Source: News Agency of Niger ia

June 12 anniversary speech by President Bola Tinubu

TEXT OF PRESIDENT BOLA TINUBU'S NATIONAL BROADCAST ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF UNBROKEN DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA, DEMOCRACY DAY 12TH JUNE 2024. 1. My fellow Nigerians, let me begin by congratulating all of us for witnessing the celebration of another Democracy Day today, the 12th day of June 2024. This year also marks our nation's 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance. 2. On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society. 3. Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator. 4. We lost great heroes and heroines along the way. In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives. 5. T hey bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one. 6. Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm. 7. The sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of life in exile. 8. While the exiled pro-democracy activists kept the fire burning, their comrades at home sustained the pressure on the military brass hats. Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun. 9. The sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can never be repaid. Neither shall it be forgotten. 10. We could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military authorities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties. 11. Despite the lethal might of the military government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer. See also Pulaaku Initiative: Don't allow Tinubu's efforts to waste, lawyer urges northern leaders 12.The power of an idea, the po wer of the people proved more potent than all the guns and munitions, and the threats of the strongmen. 13. The nation exited the yoke of military rule in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil, the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world. 14. This change stands as a pivotal moment in human history. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the annals of mankind's progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment. 15. Today, 25 years later, we celebrate the silver anniversary of our journey in democracy. 16. We have steadied the course. 17. Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimalise it to being nothing but the mere holding of periodic elections where one candidate and party outdo another. 18. While elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of democracy. Democracy is a way of life that encompasse s a broad outlook of which elections are but a part. As such, a nation can have elections without being democratic. But a nation cannot be truly democratic without holding elections. 19.That we have established a tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair elections gives credence to our democratic bearing. That we have experienced peaceful transitions of government affirms our democratic temperament. 20. Fellow Nigerians, true democracy shines its light into the daily lives of the people who live under its nurturing wings. It affords us the freedom and liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us. 21. Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, democracy assumes that conflicting ideas and differing opinions shall be the order of the day. Given the diversity and variety of the human experience, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints. 22. What democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences throu gh force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own. 23. Where other forms of government impose against the will of the people, democracy aims to make leaders sufficiently humble that they conduct themselves as servants of the common good, not as viceroys of the narrow interests of the mighty. 24. My dear compatriots, Nigeria faced a decision of untold gravity twenty-five years ago: Whether to veer toward a better destination or continue aimlessly in the fog of dictatorship. 25. We made the right choice then. We must continue with that choice now. See also Supreme Court dismisses APM's appeal against Tinubu 26. As Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated democracy may be, it is the best form of governance in the long run. We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this democracy for which so much has already been given. 27. These people do this not t o make things better but to subject all other people and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their elite, then your life will be small and no longer owned by you. 28. This is the great battle of our day and the major reason we specially celebrate this Democracy day. 29. Fellow Nigerians, our Democracy is more than a historic fact. It is a living, breathing reality. 30. The true meaning of this day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point. 31. Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation. 32. I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts. 33. As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance. I vow to do my utmost best to p rotect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria. 34. Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life. 35. Although the challenges are steep and multiple, I am grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her history and point in her democratic journey. 36. I come before you also to declare that our most important work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of dictatorship. 37. The real test is whether we shall lower our guards as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade. 38. I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our political democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realisation of our economic democracy. 39. I understand the economic difficulties we face as a nation. 40. Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbala nced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil. See also Tinubu mourns former minister, Ogbonnaya Onu 41. The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour. 42. As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. 43. In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less. 44. In the face of labour's call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict. 45. No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution. 46. Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy. 47. I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed. 48. In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one. 49. The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true: 'There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still'! 50. We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair. 51. We know the proper way forward and we shall take it! 52. The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination. 53. Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward. 54. Let's continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let's keep the torch lit for generations to come. 55. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and preserve our democracy. 56. I wish us all Happy Democracy Day. Source: News Agency of Nigeria