Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) has assured Nigerians that the country will overcome bandits and terrorists killing and kidnapping people for ransom as the citizens survived military dictators like the then-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
He made the assertion at the 2022 Democracy Day interdenominational church service, held at the Abuja Christian Centre on Sunday, where he represented Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“We assure ourselves that the hands of God are never too short to deliver, and that his grace would always prevail for our good. Equally important is that we also assure ourselves that no matter how challenging the situation or moment might be, there is always enough God-given strength within us as a people to surmount them,” declared Mr Mustapha. “Nigerians have always risen to the occasion; when it mattered most, we rose to the occasion when colonial powers subjugated our people and lorded over our resources.”
The SGF added, “We rose to the occasion, following the ravages of a civil war to rebuild a united country, no matter how imperfect, we rose to the occasion.”
Mr Mustapha also mentioned that Nigerians “rose when military dictatorships pushed us to the age of extinction and negotiated our way into a democratic government.”
This, he said, provided a platform for the citizens to build a democratic country.
He extended Mr Buhari’s gratitude to the Church for its stabilising role in the growth of Nigeria’s democracy.
I believe an interdenominational gathering of this sort is an important way to mark this special anniversary of our nation’s democracy. Largely because the values of justice, equality, fairness and inclusion, which underpin democratic governance are also at the heart of our Christian faith,” Mr Mustapha explained. “A day like this set aside to commemorate Nigeria’s transition from military rule to democratic governance gives us an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a people. It invites sobriety and gratitude.”
Mr Mustapha further stated that the day allowed Nigerians to remember the decades characterised by lack of freedom, suspicion, and uncertainty and calls to mind the prayers, faith as well as the courageous actions.
He urged them to see the day as a day for gratitude and hope, and a day to remind “ourselves that what was once thought impossible of Nigeria had been made possible.”
The SGF expressed optimism that with unity, all hands being on deck, there would be light at the end of the tunnel, despite the country’s challenges.
“Today, let us be rest assured in the promise and possibilities of Nigeria, we have the talent and the resources to be a beacon of hope and standard bearer for the rest of Africa and the block grace,” he said.
According to him, Mr Buhari’s regime has shown that it could lift 100 million people out of poverty and guarantee equal access to education and opportunities for our women.
The regime had also brought into fruition the most comprehensive social welfare programme for the poor and vulnerable in our society, he said.
We know the challenges. We live with them. But we also know and we have seen in the words of the apostle that in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” noted Mr Mustapha. “And of course, our nation will continue its long but steady march toward the fulfillment of his goal. I believe you are as persuaded as I am, because we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Mr Mustapha told the gathering that Mr Buhari’s regime was working towards the emergence of a stronger, united, peaceful and economically prosperous Nigeria.
The commemoration of Democracy Day began in 1999. The day marks the end of military rule, and the return of power and control to democratically elected civilians.
In 2018, Mr Buhari moved the commemoration from May 29 to June 12 (the day the election that launched Nigeria into democracy took place).
The June 12, 1993, presidential election was acclaimed the freest in the country’s political history, though the presumed winner, MKO Abiola, and Nigerians were denied their rights and choice of leadership as Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled the poll and Gen. Sani Abacha imprisoned Mr Abiola for demanding his mandate.