The presidential aide was reacting to a statement, issued by the coalition de-recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
According to him, it amounts to a grave mistake for the coalition to dissociate themselves from Democracy Day and, in effect de-recognizing democracy as a chosen system of government.
”Nigeria recognises Democracy Day because for many decades since independence, the fight for the right of Nigerians to choose their own government in their own name was not complete.
”A prominent citizen of the country, Chief MKO Abiola died trying to do just this.
”When independence was won and then swiftly replaced by unelected government, it was not much of a change.
”For the challenges Nigeria faces today, lack of universal suffrage or lack of elected politicians is not one of them.”
Shehu noted that government was doing all it could to address the challenges posed by terrorists and insurgents across the country.
”We are facing severe hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic and we continue to face the challenges posed by Boko Haram insurgents.
”Yet, when groups such as the CNG put out statements claiming that Democracy Day holds no purpose and the government somehow wishes for the northern states to be struggling, it is embarrassing not for the government but for the group, its members and their sponsors.
”For a start, if the group dared to issue such a comment under a non-democratic method they would have met a swift and harsh retribution from a dictatorial government.
”They should thank their stars that we are operating a truly democratic government where the rights of free speech are guaranteed and protected.”
According to the spokesman, the Buhari administration has done more than any other: elected or not elected – to curtail and beat back terrorists.
Shehu argued further that no government had done more to foster democracy and freedom of speech in Nigeria than the current administration.
”The fact that CNG is freely able to transmit garbage to the media in the hope they will be widely reported is a testament to the freedom of expression and media liberty that exists in our country today.
”Equally, the fact that the government is issuing this statement in response to the puerile message is a testament that today Nigeria is a country where disagreements can be aired publicly through the press, not through less-gentlemanly methods used in the past.
”We hope that CNG will consider the facts and reconsider the unhelpful and inaccurate message their statements contain when issuing them in the future,” said Shehu.