Benue State governor Samuel Ortom said Nigeria should not be celebrating Democracy Day when citizens cannot freely travel from one part of the country to another, adding that children no longer go to school and many of the citizens are languishing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
This is even as the governor advocated for the need to strengthen democratic institutions in the country so that its practice will not be at the dictates or whims and caprices of a few individuals who think they will lord it over the general public, but the wishes of the people.
The governor who stated this in his goodwill message to Nigerians to commemorate the June 12 struggle said, “By deliberate efforts and design, Nigerians opted for the presidential system of democracy because it is participatory and representative enough. It is a way of life that must be held sacrosanct.”
“Nigerians have become slaves in their father’s land, citizens are not free in their homes, schools, worship centres, workplaces and cannot go to their farms or even travel freely on our roads or by train, what a country? We must tackle the issue of insecurity courageously if we must practice and celebrate democracy freely,” he added.
Governor Ortom also urged Nigerians to be on the alert against antidemocratic forces saying “We must guard our democracy jealousy.”
He recalled the tortuous journey to democratic rule and urged Nigerians to rise up to say “Never again shall we allow undemocratic forces take control of our collective destiny.”
Ortom pointed out that the unabating security situation where armed Fulani terrorists are seizing the country’s sovereignty is already a threat to hard earned democracy, a development he lamented has not been given priority attention by the current administration.
“Democracy should be our way of life. It is freedom to exercise our franchise in an uninterrupted environment. But insecurity has forced the majority of our people away from their ancestral lands and made their living conditions less than humans because they are now forced to live in shanties, is a major challenge. This is why the federal government must wake up to its responsibility and tackle the menace headlong,” Ortom added.
“We cannot be celebrating Democracy Day when our citizens are now slaves and not free in their homes, schools, worship centres, workplaces and cannot go to their farms or even travel freely on our roads or by train. We must tackle the issue of insecurity courageously if we are to practice democracy freely,” he said.