June 12: Nigerians want democracy rebirth
By Bukola Olamona, Mary Agidi & Adekola Afolabi
Eminent Nigerians have called for the rebirth of Nigeria democracy through the production of a new constitution, improvement on the welfare of the citizens and putting in place measures at checking security challenges in the country.
The calls were made in commemoration of today’s June 12 anniversary. The day was officially recognised through the act of parliament which was signed into law by President Mohammadu Buhari.
The act declared June 12 of every year as public holiday and democracy day as against May 29.
Eminent personalities such as the elder statesman and the National Leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, former Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Pa Femi Aluko and a human rights activist, Prof. Peter Aborisade, in separate interviews with The Hope submitted that the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s new democracy day must usher in new democratic principles that can develop the nation’s democracy and good governance.
They equally condemned the increasing rate of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities across the country and advised leaders to address the ugly trend in the interest of peace and security of the citizens.
Chief Fasoranti lamented that the annulment of June 12 election truncated the nation’s democracy.
He described what was done to the acclaimed winner of the June 12 election as a great injustice and must be condemned.
Chief Fasoranti noted that many things are still wrong and needed to be put right by the leaders of the country in the interest of the masses.
Prof. Peter Aborisade in his reaction noted that replacing June 12 with May 29 as the nation’s democracy day did not justify the 1993 annulment and the death of Abiola but only acknowledged that the election remains the fairest and most credible one ever witnessed in Nigeria.
According to him, the current constitution does not allow Nigerians to build the democracy of their dreams which Chief M. K. O Abiola died for, while describing the election as a landmark and watershed in Nigeria’s journey to democracy.
He suggested the adoption of the minority report of the Constitution Drafting Committee, set up by the regime of Gen. Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo, affirming that the report encapsulates what a democratic society must look like.
The university don, who observed that the benefits that Nigerian lawmakers derive from the current constitution wouldn’t allow them to support a new constitution, therefore called on civil rights and community based organisations to rise up and challenge the National Assembly.
Pa Femi Aluko said the election which brought in the winner of the June 12 election was still the best so far in the history of Nigeria, saying that all others are mockery of election.
According to him, “Abiola was a President that was never sworn- in”.
He said it was unfortunate that those who fought for the struggle of June 12, are not ruling but were relegated to the background.
“It was NADECO activists that fought for what led to how we brought Abiola which was later annulled by the evil genius, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, “he stated.
He therefore called on government at all levels to toe the line of true democracy, saying future elections should give room for one man one vote, and should also reduce political monetization to zero percent possible and also allow for press freedom.