Prof. Jerry Gana, former Minister of Information and National Orientation, says the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election was a tragic mistake that was not supposed to have happened.
Gana said this when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Nigeria’s democracy; the journey so far.
He said that the former military president, retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, meant well by organizing the election but some powerful forces made him annul it to suit their selfish interests.
“It was a tragic mistake, it should not have happened but since it happened may God help us to get out of it,” he said.
The former minister said that the election was a period Nigerians united against evil forces but along the line, the people that never meant well for Nigeria had their way.
He averred that democracy was better than any other form of government across the globe.
“Therefore, we must stay with democracy in order to better Nigeria because it delivers freedom, human rights, and a good number of other things,” he said.
Gana said that in all, Nigerians needed to thank God for keeping the people and the country together especially, from 1999 to 2023 because the nation’s democracy had had many challenges.
“What happened since all these years destroyed other countries when it happened there but we are still living together as a people,” he said.
He said that many institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others had been put in place to ensure good governance, fairness, justice and equity.
“It is not yet an Uhuru, we are not there yet although a lot of progress has been made.
“Right now the right of people to vote and their votes be counted is there, so our democracy is being refined,” he said.
The former minister said that the country had recorded huge success in its electoral reform from inception to date.
“The recent Electoral Act (reform) is a huge success recorded for democracy in Nigeria.
“Now the elections are free, fair, and accountable,” he said.
Gana said that the country’s economy improved to the extent that it became one of the best economies in Africa.
“If our crude oil, solid minerals, and agricultural potentials are harnessed well Nigeria will rule the world,” he said.
Gana also said that the communication sector had improved tremendously.
“I remember when we came on board in 1999/2000 we had less than half a million lines of telephone across Nigeria.
“But right now we have about 84 million lines, that means that there is a great revolution in the sector,” he said.
He, however, blamed INEC for the current electoral challenges where many election results were being challenged in the court for alleged electoral manipulations.
“Recently, INEC has not been fair to Nigerians in conducting national elections.
“Therefore we have a long way to go in our democracy if we allow this ugly development to continue.
“It is true that we have introduced a lot of modern technology to improve our electoral system but these technologies are not being respected today by INEC.
“To me, it is a major disappointment that INEC was not fair enough to give us the leaders of our choice,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the country would perfect its democracy soon.
“After going through the current democratic process, it is my hope that the next one will be better,” he said.