Democracy Day: Tinubu Hails MKO Abiola, Promises To Ease Subsidy Removal Pains
Written by Teniola Akerele on June 12, 2023
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu today again spoke in defence of the decision to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol.
The president bared his mind during the Democracy Day National Broadcast on June 12, 2023.
He restated that the decision taken by his predecessor-in-office to remove fuel subsidy was to free up much-needed resources which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich for the collective use of all.
Tinubu, who admitted that the decision would impose extra burden on the masses, urged citizens to bear it to save the country from going under and “take resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.”
He assured citizens that their sacrifice shall not be in vain, stressing that his government would repay them “through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.”
Tinubu said, “It is for this reason that, in my inauguration address on May 29, I gave effect to the decision taken by my predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich.
“I admit that the decision will impose extra burden on the masses of our people. I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.
“Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain.
“The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.
“The democracy MKO Abiola died for is one that promotes the welfare of the people over the personal interests of the ruling class and one where the governed can find personal fulfilment and happiness. That is the hope MKO Abiola ignited throughout our country in 1993.”
On his part and that of his administration, Tinubu renewed commitment to fulfilling every component of his electoral pact with the people, particularly the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
“We shall be faithful to truth. Faithful to equity and faithful to justice. We shall exercise our authority and mandate to govern with fairness, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to always uphold the dignity of all our people,” he added.
The president paid glowing tributes to Abiola and others like retired Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua who participated in the struggle to de-annul the June 12 election.
He said, “We can easily recall the sacrifice and martyrdom of Chief MKO Abiola, the custodian of the sacred mandate that was so cruelly annulled. He sacrificed his life in unyielding, patriotic defense of the ideals of democracy as symbolised in his choice, by his fellow countrymen and women, as their duly-elected president.
“There was an easier choice for him. It was to forgo the justice of his cause and opt for the path of ease and capitulation in the face of the tyranny of power. To his eternal credit and immortal glory, Abiola said no. He demonstrated the time-tested eternal truth that there are certain ideals and principles that are far more valuable than life itself.
“Every day, on this day, down the ages we will recall the several other heroes of democracy such as Kudirat Abiola, wife of Chief Abiola, who was brutally murdered while in the trenches fighting on the side of the people. We remember Pa Alfred Rewane, one of the heroes of our independence struggle and Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (retired) who were silenced by the military junta while in pursuit of democracy. They gave their yesterday for the liberty that is ours today.
“The point is that we must never take this democracy for granted. We must forever jealously guard and protect it like a precious jewel. For, a people can never truly appreciate the freedoms and rights democracy guarantees them until they lose it.”
Tinubu, who advised politicians on the need to accept the outcomes of elections, said “The unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.”
The president said: “True, rancorous debates, interminable wrangling, ceaseless quarrels, bitter electoral contestations may be perceived by some as unattractive features of democracy but they also testify to its merit and value.
He said, “This year, we held the seventh in the cycle of elections that have become sacred rituals of our democratic practice in this dispensation since 1999.
“That the polls were intensely contested is in itself positive evidence that democracy is well and alive in our land. It is only natural that even as those who won and experienced victory in the various elections are elated and fulfilled, those who lost are disenchanted and disappointed.
“But the beauty of democracy is that those who win today can lose tomorrow and those who lose today will have an opportunity to compete and win in the next round of elections.
“Those who cannot endure and accept the pain of defeat in elections do not deserve the joy of victory when it is their turn to triumph. Above all, those who disagree with the outcome of the elections are taking full advantage of the constitutional provisions to seek redress in court and that is one of the reasons why democracy is still the best form of government invented by man.”
He added, “For Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of this day, in whose memory June 12 became a national holiday, democracy is eternal.
“It is about rule of law and vibrant judiciary that can be trusted to deliver justice and strengthen institutions. It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.
“The recent harmonization of the retirement age for judicial officers is meant to strengthen the rule of law, which is a critical pillar of democracy. The reform has just started.”