- PUNCH LINE
Beloved compatriots, We welcome you all once again to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the widely acclaimed freest, fairest and most peaceful election in Nigeria’s history, the June 12 1993 Presidential election won by the late business mogul, philanthropist and pan Africanist, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, which was treasonably annulled by the self-styled “evil genius” Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd.) military junta.
On that historic and unforgettable day, Nigerians across all divides jettisoned their ethnic, religious and primordial sentiments to speak with one voice in their votes and elected Bashorun MKO Abiola as President.
Unfortunately, the June 12 election was annulled! Then began a long and tortuous journey of struggles to reclaim the peoples mandate by the flag bearer and the Nigerian people for over five years. In the struggles, thousands of lives were lost including among several others, Chief Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Katho and MKO Abiola, who died in controversial circumstances in after four years of incarceration in the hands of General Abdusalami Abubakar’s military regime on July 7, 1998, for insisting on his mandate. His wife Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was gruesomely assassinated; people were hauled into detention, driven into exile or disappeared, careers terminated, limbs were maimed, properties worth millions of naira and businesses were bombed and destroyed, etc. It was ridiculous that in one fell swoop, more than 200 students and other youths were mauled down on Ikorodu Road, Lagos! Most painful to any discerning mind and patriotic Nigerian today is the simple fact that irresponsible and unpatriotic politicians and elites in Nigeria have misled our people into trivializing the great sacrifice made by late Bashorun MKO Abiola, his Amazon of a wife Alhaja Kudirat, Chief Alfred Rewane and many others (may their souls rest in peace!) for the Liberty and abolishing of poverty in the country as a mere jingoism! Let us call almighty God, who it pleased to give us June 12, 1993, to grant Nigeria the will and courage for the successful resolution of our teeming challenges!
Late Bashorun MKO Abiola and the Nigeria people insisted on actualizing the June 12, 1993 mandate inspite of the state sponsored violence, intimidations and inducements which culminated in the military quitting power in 1999 by handing over power to the civilian administration of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd), who emerged victorious from the 1999 General elections.
We must thank God today that the masses’ desire of insistence on the restoration of the peoples mandate has been respected by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday 6th June 2018, declared JUNE 12 as the authentic DEMOCRACY DAY in Nigeria and no more May 29, which was a mere date of handing over of power! Also, he honoured late Bashorun MKO Abiola with the highest national Honour in Nigeria, (GCFR) reserved for Presidents, past and present! He further extended the honours of (GCON) to Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, MKO Abiola’s running mate and our own icon and greatest Social Critic, advocate of good governance and Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM), High Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi!
Compatriots, let us praise our Change President for this positive step in the right direction! We salute his courage, temerity and sagacity for this singular reconciliatory effort! Having began a good, positive and patriotic move to reconcile Nigerians to Nigeria, we urge him to take another step further. He should without further delay ask INEC to complete the announcement of the June 1993 Presidental election results and declare Bashorun MKO Abiola as the winner! He should be pronounced posthumously as a former President of Nigeria and accorded posthumously all the paraphernalia of the highest office of our land! We also must add that, compensation should be paid to his family for his unfortunate and controversial death in the custody of the Federal Military government of Nigeria! This reconciliation efforts must not be halfway!
Great Nigerian people, reminiscing on the eighteen (18) years of civilian rule, elections come and elections go, but of what impact on the lives of the masses of our citizens? Worse still, whenever and wherever the military overthrew a civilian government, their immediate task would be to terminate the people’s constitution and replace it with decrees! One finds it very embarrassing, ironical, astonishing and disgraceful that 18 years after the dictators in Nigeria handed over power to civilians, the Nigeria political and elite class cannot find the WILL to give Nigerians, the PEOPLES’ CONSTITUTION! The people over the years have been clamouring for Restructuring of the polity to return to or evolve a FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT to no avail! Unfortunately, what the country is relying on as the so-called 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, remains a Decree 24 of 1998 issued by General Abdulsalam Abubakar (Rtd).
Let us ask ourselves a question, what lessons have we learnt from the June 12, 1993 Presidential election episode? To be realistic, the answer is capital NOTHING!! So far, the country today is more divided and unsafe than ever before as we are confronted daily with all sorts of agitations of marginalization and for independence, fear of domination, weak economy, crimes of all sorts and insurgencies, that make the Thomas Hobbes hypothetical state of nature, stare us in the face as a result of poor and irresponsible leadership. Imagine the level of insecurity of lives and properties all over the country. Most affected being the North-East and North-Central zones of the country! We must state emphatically that the issue of security in Nigeria is now on the front burner and must be given the urgent attention it deserves! Enough of lip services! In our view, there is need for the reappraisal of our security architecture. I hereby call on the change President Muhammadu Buhari, to do well to demonstrate justice and equity! Any security chief who have performed below par, must be shown the way out, if his or her conscience cannot tell him or her to resign honourably. Fortunately, such positions are not anyone’s birth-right!
June 12 represents unity and brotherliness of the Nigerian people to live happily together in a truly democratic and federal state where justice and equity is assured to all citizens irrespective of ethnic or religious leanings, to actualize their individual dreams, aspirations and potentials. But it is not too late in the day for our political leadership and elites, at all levels, to do a rethink and do the needful, which is delivering the dividend of democracy to the masses of Nigeria people in a truly federal system and provide the necessary leadership that the African continent urgently requires to get out of the woods.
Thus, we reiterate our demand that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should look into the various reports of constitutional conferences and the PRONACO draft constitution as a road map to produce a CONSTITUTION that will guarantee true federalism in a democratic Nigeria. The President should summon courage and demonstrate patriotism and ignore all unpatriotic individuals, groups and nationalities standing against restructuring and true federal system of government! Genuine Federalism is the most ideal political system in all multi-ethnic nationality countries throughout the world! The fruits are peace, equity, unity, development and progress and it will engender competitiveness and creativity among the federating units, which will foster growth! Indeed, all the proponents of Restructuring are more patriotic citizens as I must confess that it is the most ideal initiative that will cure the many challenges of Nigeria!
We greatly appreciate the Lagos State government for its contributions and support to the June 12 democratic struggle over the years, since 1999, especially the incumbent governor, His Excellency, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for supporting this year’s event. We give big kudos to the big masquerade of our struggle, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban of Borgu! Once again, we salute President Buhari for the great initiative he has demonstrated and urge all the States government to embrace his action!
Your Excellency, the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations reiterates and congratulates you on your giant strides in governance which has placed Lagos State on the pedestal and as a model of good governance within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Your Excellency Sir, we must state without fear or favour that the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations is the most authentic and consistent group and remains the torchbearer in partnership with the Lagos State government for the commemoration of the watershed in our political history and are thus demanding that you open your doors wider for a more fruitful collaborative venture that will deepen democracy. Sir, please our leadership will greatly appreciate to have an audience with you soonest!
Once again, we congratulate and felicitate with all Nigerians on this auspicious occasion and wish us all a fruitful deliberations and discourse. Enough is Enough! Nigerians, let us stand up boldly for our freedom, rights and liberty!
LINUS E. OKOROJI NELSON EKUJUMI
Acting Chairman General Secretary