Nigeria’s Ex-Rulers Shun June 12 Democracy Day Celebration

All Nigeria’s former Presidents, Heads of including Olusegun Obasanjo, failed to attend the June 12 Democracy Day celebration which held on Wednesday at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

Many Nigerian citizens on social media expressed shock at the development and are already speculating that The former rulers refused to honour President Buhari’s invitation because they believe his second term is illegitimate, having snatched the February 23 presidential elections.

The former Nigerian rulers were scheduled to arrive at the venue of the event at 9:35 a.m., according to a report by NAN, but they were conspicuously absent at about 10:06 when President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the venue.

The event is the first since Buhari approved June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of Chief Moshood Abiola, who is presumed to have won the 1993 presidential election.

May 29, the Inauguration Day had been observed as Democracy Day since the return of democracy in the country in 1999.

Buhari took his oath of office for his second term on May 29, but it appeared major events of the programme were moved to June 12.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as well as Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives were in attendance.

While Yakubu Gowon, former head of state who attended the May 29 event, was conspicuously absent from Eagle Square on June 12.

Aside Gowon, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Ibrahim Babangida, also former heads of state as well as Ernest Shonekan, former interim president, were absent at the celebration.

Ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan also shunned the event. But world leaders majority of whom are from Africa where on hand to celebrate the day with the leadership of the country.

The world leaders in attendance were President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; President George Weah of Liberia; President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo; and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Adama Barrow of Gambia; President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic; President José Mário Gómes Vaz of Guinea-Bissau and President Patrice Talon of Benin Republic were also present at the celebration.