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Democracy alive in Nigeria– Aiyedatiwa

By Adedotun Ajayi

Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa has said that democracy is well and alive in Nigeria, affirming that the sacrifices of the patriotic heroes and steadfast martyrs of the June 12 struggles have not been in vain.

Aiyedatiwa stated this on Wednesday while speaking at this year’s June 12 Democracy Day celebration, held at the International Culture and Events Centre (The Dome) in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Pix: Ayodele Suberu

The governor commemorated the 31 anniversary of the June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, adjudged as Nigeria’s freest and fairest, and won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.

“Today is a day of celebration and solemn reflection, It is a time to reminisce on our democratic journey, the challenges we’ve faced, and the way forward. We honour the sacrifices of those who fought for our democratic rights and strive to consolidate this great legacy”, he said.

Aiyedatiwa stressed the importance of June 12 as a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s socio-political history, emphasizing its role in advancing democratic governance, civil liberties, and nationhood. He highlighted the day’s ongoing significance in promoting good governance and recognizing democratic achievements.

The governor assured the people of Ondo State of his administration’s unwavering focus on socio-economic welfare, security, and wealth creation. He detailed plans for infrastructural development, including the ongoing Deep Seaport project and exploration of the state’s substantial bitumen deposits.

Additionally, he emphasized efforts to attract both local and foreign investments, capitalize on tourism and agriculture, and implement evidence-based policies for economic growth.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that Ondo State enjoys the dividends of good governance. We will continue to address security challenges, strengthen the ‘Amotekun Corps’ in collaboration with other security agencies, and pursue transformational strategies that align with our socio-economic realities,” the governor stated

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Reflecting on his tenure, Governor Aiyedatiwa acknowledged the responsibilities he assumed following the passing of his predecessor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON. He pledged to honour this legacy by focusing on impactful service delivery and improving living standards across the state.

The celebration was particularly poignant as it coincided with preparations for the upcoming gubernatorial election on November 16, 2024. The governor called for conscientious participation and decorum from all stakeholders during the electoral process.

He expressed gratitude to party members, government officials, traditional and religious leaders, students, NGOs, and the citizens of Ondo State for their support and cooperation. He expressed optimism that, with continued determination, the state would overcome its challenges and realize its full potential.

The guest speaker, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola, National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, addressed the theme “The State of Democracy in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and the Way Forward.”

He noted that since 1999, democracy in Nigeria has faced challenges such as electoral integrity, judicial efficiency, corruption, and weak institutions.

According to him, despite reforms, issues like vote buying and electoral violence persist, and political interference hinders judicial and governance improvements.

Ajibola called for comprehensive reforms, including deeper electoral reforms with technology, judicial independence, and stronger anti-corruption measures.

He stressed the need for local government autonomy, transparency, and community participation to improve service delivery, adding that trengthening democratic institutions with adequate resources and protection from political interference is crucial for sustainable development and public trust in Nigeria.

Earlier in his welcome address, the event’s chairman, Prof. Olu Aderohunmu, stated that the celebration honours the forefathers who fought for the democracy we enjoy today.

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He expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for restoring the essence of democracy and thanked the governor for his leadership and efforts in making Ondo State a conducive place to live.

Dignitaries who graced the occasion included deputy governor Dr Olayide Adelami, Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Chief Olamide Oladiji, Ondo APC chairman, Ade Adetimehin, the Deji of Akure Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, political gladiators, security chiefs, royal fathers among others.

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