All former heads of state of Nigeria are conspicuously absent at the ongoing inaugural June 12 Democracy Day celebration in Abuja on Wednesday.
The former leaders including Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalam Abubakar were absent at the event which held at the Eagles’ Square in Abuja, Premium Times reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier declared June 12 Nigeria’s Democracy Day. The inaugural celebration, which took place Wednesday, had in attendance numerous pro-June 12 supporters.
The government’s decision was in recognition of the place of late Moshood Abiola’s in Nigeria’s democratic history. Mr Abiola is believed to have won the June 12 1993 elections, widely adjudged Nigeria’s freest election in history.
Upon return to democracy in 1999, May 29 was adopted as Nigeria’s Democracy Day as it was the day Mr Obasanjo took over the reins of power from Mr Abubakar.
Between 1999 and 2007 when Mr Obasanjo held sway as president, the Nigerian government did not recognise June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, amidst calls from June 12 supporters and civil society organisations.
Mr Obasanjo was absent at the event on Wednesday. A strong critic of Mr Buhari, the former president had thrown his weight behind Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 general elections