Democracy Day is observed annually on May 29. This holiday commemorates the restoration of democracy, when the newly elected Olusegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in May 1999 ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966.
Democracy was briefly restored from 1979 to 1983. The last major military ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha, died in 1998 and his successor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar promised a transition to democracy. A new constitution was adopted on May 5th, 1999, elections were carried out and retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who had previously governed Nigeria as a military ruler, was elected the new president.With the democratic government came an end to arbitrary arrests and torture to era of elections, return of civil liberties, free press.
Since the restoration of democratic rule in the country, change of government has been orderly with periodic elections. From 1999 to 2015 four civilian administrations have emerged and we have had four successive transitions from one civilian government to another. They are
- Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, 1999-2007,
- MusaYar’adua/Jonathan Goodluck Administration, 2007-2011,
- Goodluck Jonathan Administration, 2011-2015 and an ongoing
- Muhammadu Buhari Administration, 2015-2019.
7 Must Reads For Democracy Day
Democracy And Civil Society In Nigeria by Kukah, Matthew Hassan
Democratic Practice In Nigeria by Ohale, Francis Uche
Before You Cast Your Vote byNwokedi, Joe
Abraham Adesanya : The Unbowed Democrat at 77 bySodimu, S A
Abiola, Democracy And Rule Of Law byAkinnola, Richard
President And Power In Nigeria by Williams, David
The Nigerian Military and the Crisis of Democratic Transition by Momoh, Abubakar and Adejumobi, Said
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