Today,as we celebrate nineteen years of uninterrupted democratic rule in Nigeria, I congratulate our colleagues of the Nigerian Bar Association who played pivotal roles in ensuring that our country is returned back to the path of democracy. It is no doubt an achievement worthy of celebration, taking into consideration the fact that ours has been a chequered history of military intervention, since 1965 when military adventurists derailed our then nascent democratic rule.
It is highly commendable that since May 29, 1999, when we returned down the lane of democracy, we have protected it till date. That we celebrate today, shows that in spite of our cultural diversity, religious differences and political affiliations, we are bound to a common destiny, which is to live in unity, build upon the foundation of our forebears and ensure that the price they paid to gain our independence is not in vain.
Today, we have tasted of military rule and democracy. We as a country can boldly say we prefer our democracy to any other form of government, as such we should guard it jealously. I urge us to remember that for the sake of the democracy we enjoy today, many had to sacrifice their lives and freedom and we can only reward these patriots by conducting ourselves in ways that will not endanger our hard earned democracy.
As we approach the election year of 2019, it is fundamental that we realise that no political ambition is worth the disintegration of Nigeria. I call on the political class to realise that the unity of our country is far above any individual and they should be mindful of actions and uterances that are capable of destroying the very foundation of our unity as a country.
It is important the we ensure that our democracy grows and every citizen enjoys its dividends. It is fundamental that those in government realise that by virture of the offices they occupy, they are into a social contract with the people and must ensure the security of their lives and property, while promoting the rule of law, good governance and social justice.
Happy Democracy Day !
Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN, FCIArb, FICMC