June 12 symbolises the power and democratic will of the people over dictatorship and authoritarian rule. 27 years after the martyrdom of Chief M.K.O. Abiola, Nigeria is still yet to experience true democracy. The will of Nigerians is yet to find expression in the governance of the country. The rule of law is daily threatened and subjugated; human rights abuse is still rife amongst our security agencies; the independence of the judiciary has come under attack with the various interferences by the Executive and legislative arms of government. Without a virile and courageous judiciary, democracy in Nigeria and the rule of law will remain a mirage.
Nigeria’s democracy is still far away from what the Nigerian people want, and sadly, some of our political leaders are still acting like emperors over a conquered people. In a true democracy, the political class do the bidding of the people, not the other way round.
The National and States’ Houses of Assembly are helpless because of the over bearing and domineering influence of the Executive arm of government. Corruption is still very rife. Nothing has really changed.
The NBA views these disturbing trends as threats in our quest to attain true democracy, hence the NBA has always called on the various governments to ensure that their actions are guided by the rule of law and obedience to orders of courts.
Security agencies must act within the ambits of the law and respect the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of Nigerians. Until the security agencies stop the indiscriminate arrest and detention of Nigerians; until Nigerians are no longer killed or maimed by security agencies; until Nigerians are no longer threatened with arrest and detention just for expressing their constitutional right to freedom of expression; until Nigerians are no longer arraigned in court on bogus criminal charges, the true essence of June 12 will remain elusive.
The NBA will continue to ensure that the guaranteed rights of Nigerians are protected and do all that is necessary to ensure the survival of our democracy. That is the only way we can honour the spirit of June 12.
National Publicity Secretary, NBA