The Secretary-General of the Nigerian Union of Teachers has called for measures to sustain democracy in Africa’s largest democracy as the nation endorses June 12 as Democracy Day.
Dr Mike Ike-Ene made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
He, however, said there was urgent need to tackle problems in key sectors of the economy, especially education and security to make democracy to thrive.
Nigeria’s education sector has been in turbulence over the years, characterized by strikes and shutdowns of tertiary institutions, while security has been at it worst in decades, according to analysts.
Ike-Ene said that the June 12, 1993 election was the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the country, referring to a landmark election won by billionaire Chief Moshood Abiola.
The election was, however, annulled by former veteran military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, throwing Africa’s most populous nation into a pariah status that lasted for years.
“As a Nigerian, recognising June 12 as Democracy Day indicates to all Nigerians, who are of voting age and who voted for M.K.O. Abiola that election should be based on integrity.
“Despite the fact that the contestants were all Muslims, it was one of the most keenly-contested and it was the freest and fairest election we have ever conducted.
“Therefore, recognising it as Democracy Day shows really that Nigerians have come to believe that the June 12 election was the best we have ever had.
“Truly, looking at elections in our country, that is how an election should be. We should do our selections, based on the sanctity and integrity of those contesting no matter the sex, tribe or religion.”
Ike-Ene pointed out that Nigerians should refrain from being sentimental in selecting their leaders but that they should look out for those having integrity and better things to offer.
The scribe advised the three tiers of government to improve infrastructure to make life worth living for Nigerians.