President Tinubu Commemorates MKO Abiola on Democracy Day, Pledges to Mitigate Subsidy Removal Impact
President Bola Tinubu paid tribute to Chief MKO Abiola, the iconic winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, describing him as the epitome of democracy. Despite Abiola’s untimely demise following the annulment of his victory by General Sani Abacha, his legacy lives on.
Acknowledging the hardships endured by Nigerians due to the recent fuel subsidy removal, President Tinubu assured that his administration would compensate their sacrifices with substantial investments in transportation infrastructure, education, reliable power supply, healthcare, and other public amenities. These initiatives are aimed at enhancing the citizens’ quality of life.
In his inaugural Democracy Day address to the nation, President Tinubu empathized with the Nigerian people, emphasizing that enduring temporary discomfort was essential to rescue the country from perilous circumstances and liberate its resources from the control of a few individuals lacking patriotism.
“The decision to remove the fuel subsidy burdens us all, but it is indispensable to safeguard our nation and liberate our resources from the grasp of a handful of unpatriotic individuals,” stated President Tinubu.
Elaborating on the rationale behind the subsidy removal, the President highlighted its increasing costs against the backdrop of depleting resources. Consequently, it became imperative to eliminate the subsidy.
Following the President’s announcement, petrol prices surged from N195 to N537 across the country, along with ancillary price hikes.
Addressing the aftermath of this move, President Tinubu clarified, “During my inaugural address on May 29, I implemented my predecessor’s decision to eliminate the burden of fuel subsidy and allocate the much-needed resources, which were previously benefiting a privileged few, for the collective benefit of all.”
Recognizing the additional burden placed upon the masses, the President reassured the people that their sacrifices would not be in vain. His administration would reciprocate their trust and belief through substantial investments in transportation infrastructure, education, consistent power supply, healthcare, and other public amenities, ultimately improving their quality of life.
The President emphasized the importance of the rule of law, vowing not to tolerate conflicting and illegal orders that undermine Nigeria’s democracy. Furthermore, he lauded the recent harmonization of the retirement age for judicial officers as a step toward strengthening the rule of law.
President Tinubu considered the February and March elections a testament to Nigeria’s democratic journey, highlighting the legal disputes surrounding the results as an inherent aspect of democracy.
“By holding the seventh set of elections since 1999, we reaffirmed the vitality of democracy in our nation. The intense competition during these polls demonstrates that democracy is alive and well in Nigeria. Naturally, those who emerged victorious celebrate their triumph, while the disappointed losers have the opportunity to compete and potentially win in future elections,” expressed the President.
He added, “Democracy provides constitutional provisions for those who contest the election results to seek legal recourse. This is one of the reasons why democracy remains the finest form of governance created by humankind.”
Reflecting upon the struggles that led to the restoration of civilian rule in 1999, President Tinubu paid homage to Chief MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, and Maj-Gen Shehu Yar’Adua, who were silenced by the military junta. Their sacrifice paved the way for the liberties enjoyed today.
President Tinubu urged Nigerians to value and safeguard democracy