PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has promised to invest massively in transportation, power, health, education and other sectors of the Nigerian economy to cushion the pains Nigerians are experiencing over the removal of subsidy on petrol.
In his inaugural Democracy Day address on Monday, June 12, the president also promised a more effective judiciary and a sustained nurturing of the nation’s democracy.
Besides, he spoke glowingly of the winner of the June 12, 1999 presidential election, Moshood Abiola, for his courage, patriotism, and faith in democratic ideals.
Tinubu described Abiola, who died mysteriously in detention where the military junta which annulled his victory had kept him, as the symbol of democracy and a custodian of a sacred mandate of Nigerians.
He said the 1993 poll was the freest and fairest in the country and described its annulment by the military as unjust.
The democracy that Abiola died for is the one that promotes the welfare of the people above personal interest, Tinubu stressed.
The reports that the 1993 presidential election took place exactly 30 years ago, today. In 2018, former president, Muhammadu Buhari, declared June 12 the Democracy Day in honour of Abiola.
In his address today, Tinubu also lauded Abiola’s wife, Kudirat, who was assassinated while defending her husband’s mandate, as well as Pa Alfred Rewane and Shehu Yar’Adua, a retired military general. “They gave their yesterday for the liberty that is ours today. We must never take this democracy for granted,” he said.
While acknowledging Nigerians’ pains because of the subsidy removal, the President said, “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.”
“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 an extra burden on the masses of our people. 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.”
Speaking on the 2023 general elections, he urged those who did not win to accept defeat in good faith because they could win in future elections, while those who won at the poll could lose.
He described the lawsuits trailing the election in many states, including his own, as the beauty of democracy.
“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.”
He also said his signing of a bill harmonising judges’ retirement age to 70 years would further enhance justice in the country. He vowed that multiple rulings on cases would not occur under his watch.
He also said the reforms in the judiciary had just started.
He pledged a commitment to his electoral promises, to the rule of law, and to uphold the dignity of Nigerians.