Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Nigerians’ll re-enact June 12 in 2015 –NADECO

Nigerians’ll re-enact June 12 in 2015 –NADECO
Twenty years after the historic June 12, 1993 presidential election, chieftains of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, yesterday assured that Nigerians would re-enact the magic again in 2015.

The late Chief M.K.O. Abiola won the election, considered the freest and fairest in the nation’s history on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, but the military regime led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled the poll, for yet-to-be explained reasons Abiola, who later declared himself president, was promptly arrested by the infamous military junta of Gen Sani Abacha and died in custody on July 7, 1998 under unclear circumstances. Former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said in a statement that the “spirit of June 12 is alive and thriving.”

The National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and a major actor in the struggle to restore democratic rule, said the June 12 spirit would propel the process that would produce free and fair elections in 2015. Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, also said that June 12 represents the “human spirit,” describing the day as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

His words: “We need to remind ourselves what June 12, 1993 represents. It is neither mere date nor sentiment. It is simply human spirit. “What a futile undertaking it is then, when some individuals attempt to deny or crush it. Yet it was the power of this very spirit that brought such out of relegation or obscurity, even from the jaws of death, and bestowed upon them relevance and prominence.

“What June 12 possesses is exactly what May 29, or any other day, lacks. The former was a spirit of unified purpose, the latter simply an egotistical appropriation of the gift of the former.

The National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, which had symbolised the opposition to military rule, also reiterated its call for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, which will draw up with a people’s constitution to save Nigeria from a major breakdown in the polity.

This was contained in a text of proclamation by the group yesterday in Lagos at the 19th anniversary of the June 11, 1994 Epetedo Declaration by the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Moshood Abiola.

The Founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, called on the Federal Government to declare June 12 of every year as Nigeria Unity Day just as he insisted that Babangida, who annulled the presidential election must apologise to Nigerians.

Tinubu, while describing June 12 as Nigeria’s beacon in the dark, said the thirst for change is thick in the air and millions of Nigerians desperately want their votes to count in the next round of elections.

“June 12 remains indelibly etched in our memory, though it stands as a ringing indictment to the military and their civilian cotravellers who conspired against the wishes of millions of Nigerians. Because what happened on June 12 is deep rooted and genuine, the spirit behind it has refused to die.”

“This pervading spirit of patriotic zeal,” Tinubu insisted, has reached a critical mass, powerful enough to propel the engines of change and the demand for truly free and fair elections. He said: “The core of the June 12 elections was the transparency and the free and fair nature the election held. Twenty years after, Nigerians deserve no less.

“The quality of our elections in the past few years has not attained the quality and transparency that surrounded the conduct of the June 12, 1993 elections.

“The symbol of June 12 and Nigeria’s icon of democracy, Chief Kashimawo Abiola, gave to Nigeria a truly fine moment in history and taught us the lesson that Nigeria has all it takes to get it right and be great. Tinubu said he is optimistic that harvest time has come for Nigeria and Nigerians, but only “if we imbibe the spirit of June 12 and abide with the lessons of that historic event.”

The NADECO proclamation, titled: “19 years after the Epetedo Declaration: Where is the sovereign power of the people,” was signed by its Chairman, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd). NADECO, which fought tirelessly for enthronement of democracy in Nigeria and championed the campaign for the deannulment of the electoral mandate given to Abiola, also charged Nigerians to take their destiny into their hands by championing the cause for a positive change to install the true democracy that many died for during the June 12 struggle.

On the 2015 general elections, Kanu warned on the dangers ahead; given the violent threats by some people who, prior to the 2011 elections, promised to make Nigeria ungovernable should power not return to them and the response from another bloc, equally threatening catastrophe should power leave them.

His words: “Having identified the unworkable unitary ‘Constitution’ of Nigeria as the source of the many intractable plagues of Nigeria, and now faced with a situation in which, whoever wins a 2015 presidential election, ‘blood will flow,’ NADECO, with a grave sense of responsibility, raises a question as to the wisdom of embarking on such an election without first working out an acceptable constitutional arrangement, moreso since whoever wins that election will govern with the same disputed ‘constitution,’ plunging the country further into the abyss and faster towards anarchy.”

General Secretary of NADECO, Ayo Opadokun charged Nigerians to take their destiny into their hand and challenge the current system, which according to him, cannot be sustained.

His words: “It is high time for the Nigerian people to reclaim their sovereignty that is being trampled upon and taken away for no reason. We must stop every uncharitable character taking the people for granted. Sovereignty belongs to Nigerian people. We must all agree on how to restore our sovereignty.

“NADECO is telling Nigerians to take their destiny in their hands. We should stop grumbling silently and start demanding for our rights. That is the only way Nigerian can take back the system. This current system cannot be sustained.

So it is time for Nigerians, especially the younger people to take their destiny in their own hands so that we can leave a better society for upcoming generations.

“The charge for us today is that we need to do more than what we are doing. Get yourselves organised in your streets, get yourself organised in your wards, get yourselves organised in your local governments, so that what is wrong should be condemned.

“Nigerian people need to take their destiny into their hand by legitimately, constitutionally organising and mobilizing themselves to demand for their rights.”

The daughter of the winner of the June 12 election, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, said the vision of her father on farewell to poverty is not dead. She called on Nigerians to prepare for another democratic journey for the 2015 elections.

“So today is the day when true democrats rise up again, and dust off our shoes. Today is the day when we look at one another and say ‘20 years later, we have come full circle. For on this day, we begin the march for true democracy once again. We begin our second battle for independence.”

Speaking at a news conference in Lagos yesterday, Fasehun said as the Federal Government had declared May 29 as Democracy Day it must also declare June 12 as Unity Day, saying, the election “is the truest mark of Nigerian unity and we cannot afford to lose its significance.”

“June 12 should be Unity Day because on that day, all the constituent units of Nigeria spoke with near-unanimity and elected Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola as their President. June 12 is the truest mark of Nigerian unity and we cannot afford to lose its significance,” he said. He insisted that Babangida must apologise to the generality of Nigerians for annulling June 12.

“The reckless action cost the country colossal loss in human and other resources. IBB must apologise for annulling the election and IBB must apologise for the people killed by agents of his government and those of Gen. Sani Abacha,” Fasehun said.

Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has described the June 12, 1993 presidential election as a watershed in the annals of the country, saying that the supreme price paid by Abiola can never be forgotten. The governor expressed regrets that 20 years after the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, the ideals which Abiola stood for had yet to be realised.

While describing the late politician and business mogul as a symbol of democracy, he praised him for his strong conviction that ordinary Nigerian must be freed from the shackles of oppression, poverty, penury and squalor. Mrs. Modupe Onitiri- Abiola, the wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 election, also tasked government toward reduction of poverty as the best way to immortalise Abiola and all those who died in the struggle for enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.

Speaking with National Mirror yesterday, she said: “One of the best ways to immortalise Abiola is eradication of poverty. If they like, let them named everything in this country after him but the best way to immortalise MKO Abiola is eradication of poverty.

“Abiola contested because he didn’t want poverty in Nigeria again. So, if government wants to truly immortalise Abiola, let them remove poverty.” Meanwhile, Governor Rauf Aregbesola has approved June 12 as a public holiday in Osun State.

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