Democracy Day Drama: Nigeria’s Annual June 12 Tragi-Comedy of Falling with Style


Democracy Day in Nigeria, celebrated on June 12, has historically been a mix of tragedy and comedy, and this year was no exception. The event took a comedic turn as President Bola Tinubu stumbled while climbing the steps of a vehicle at Eagle Square in Abuja. Described as a “mild misstep” by his aide, the incident sparked a wave of reactions, with some sympathizing and others seeing it as a reminder of the president’s humanity.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar expressed his sympathy, stating,

“I sincerely sympathize with President Bola Tinubu over this unfortunate incident as he was set to review the parade on Democracy Day. I do hope that all is well with him.”

Popular politician and activist Shehu Sani also weighed in, noting that such mishaps can happen to anyone, including presidents.

President Tinubu, however, took the incident in stride, addressing it humorously at the Democracy Day banquet. He quipped,

“Early this morning, I had a swagger, and it’s on social media. They were confused about whether I was doing Buga or doing babariga, but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘Idobale’ for the day.”

In addition to the light-hearted moment, President Tinubu’s speech also touched on the sacrifices made by individuals like Chief MKO Abiola and others in the struggle for democracy. He emphasized the importance of democracy as a way of life, encompassing freedom, liberty, and the acceptance of diverse opinions.

The history of Democracy Day in Nigeria is deeply rooted in the struggle against military dictatorship. Originally celebrated on May 29 to mark the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was moved to June 12 in 2018 to honor the democratic election of Moshood Abiola on that date in 1993, which was annulled by the government of Ibrahim Babangida.

President Tinubu’s fall, though a moment of light-heartedness, serves as a reminder of the resilience and spirit of Nigeria’s democracy. As the nation reflects on 25 years of democratic governance, it is a testament to the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead.


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