June 12: Fayemi Wants MKO’s Picture In Aso Rock As Ex-President

June 13, 2012

L-R: Deputy Governor, Ekiti State, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka; Governor Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; and Guest Lecturer, Dame Priscilla Kuye, during a Public lecture on June 12, tagged , Consolidating Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria: Reminisences on the June 12, 1993 Elections, in Ado-Ekiti... on Tuesday.

Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called on the Federal Government to declare June 12  “Democracy Day”; saying that the day actually marked the struggle that gave birth to the nation’s democracy and that day and its symbol, the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola should be accorded a befitting honour.

He also emphasized that anything short of having Abiola’s picture displayed at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja  as a former elected President of Nigeria is not acceptable.

Speaking in Ado Ekiti at a lecture marking the 19th  anniversary of the June 12 election in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, the Governor urged the Presidency to declare June 12 a national public holiday since it was glaring that Chief  Abiola did not just win the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, but also because his efforts earned the nation the democracy that it now enjoys.

Fayemi spoke just as renowned legal luminary and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dame Priscilla Kuye, argued in support of  declaration June 12 as a national holiday.

The Governor said  “On June 12, 1993, Nigeria had her first globally accepted freest and most credible election. By all available facts, Chief MKO Abiola won the election clearly and squarely and should be regarded today as an elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” He added that renaming a University or a national stadium after the winner of the freest and fairest election in the history of the country was not enough honour for a man who had contributed so much to the growth and sustenance of the nation.

Kuye in  her lecture titled : “Tools for Consolidating Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria: Reminiscences on June 12, 1993 Presidential Election”, said that the late Chief  Abiola did not only win the 1993 but also paid the supreme sacrifice for democracy with his life and should be given a national recognition for the sacrifice he made to set the foot of Nigeria on the path of democracy.

Kuye decried the failure of previous governments in Nigeria to acknowledge Abiola as a national hero and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for renaming the University of Lagos after the late  politician, saying though this was not enough honour for Abiola.

According to the former NBA President, “June 12th should really be declared “Democracy Day” in Nigeria. Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola won the June 12, 1993 Presidential election but was denied victory by the Military Government of General Ibrahim Babangida.

“The death of Abiola forced the Military to return to their barracks as the NBA and many NGOs organized pro-democracy activities. The NBA issued press releases and urged the Military Government to relinquish power to a democratic government.

“It was June 12 1993 that led to democratic rule – the Fourth Republic. Democratic governments since 1999 refused to acknowledge Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola who paid the supreme sacrifice for Democracy with his life. We thank President Jonathan for acknowledging Abiola’s role in enthroning Democracy in Nigeria by renaming the University of Lagos as Moshood Abiola University”, she said.

On sustainable democracy and good governance, the former NBA boss called for a review of the 1999 constitution; saying that the constitution was a mere product of the military “designed to aid him in his rule as a life president” and said that only a peiople’s constitution can really address the yearnings of Nigeria said democracy would thrive  when poverty, bribery and corruption and greed are eliminated or drastically reduced.

She suggested  the convening of a national conference in order to promote peace and stability in Nigeria; saying that dialogue is ineviatble if Nigeria would remain one indivisible entity.

“I would wish that the 1999 constitution should be abrogated because it is an imposition by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. I am of the view that the numerous defects cannot be cured by an amendment . A new constitution made by all Nigerians is preferable – a people oriented constitution.I wish to also suggest the convening of a national conference in order to promote peace and stability in Nigeria.

“The various ethnic nationalities should meet and enact and give to all Nigerians a true federal constitution. Only a constitution that is produced by Nigerians will guarantee the required solid foundation for us to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign Nation”, she submitted.

Earlier, the Governor had participated in a Democracy Walk which was part of activities organised to mark the June 12 remembrance.

Market women, Trade Union members, Artisans and Technicians Associations, students as well as other citizens from various walks of life trooped out en masse to particpate in the walk which started from Fajuyi park through to Okeyinmi, Ojumose and back to Fajuyi.

Speaking at the popular Okeyinmi junction, Dr. Fayemi said June 12 was not about a day but about a cause that would forever be remembered in the anals of Nigeria’s history as it witnessed Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections when Nigerians set aside their political, religious and ethnic affiliation to vote for change as represented by the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Moshood Abiola.

He added that if there was no June 12, 1993, the nation would not have had May 29, 1999 which marked the nation’s transition from military rule to civil rule; stressing that the efforts of nationalists who refused to be cowed by then military dictators, especially the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, gave rise to the Democracy which the country enjoys today.

The Governor lamented that the Nigerian democracy has not address the problems of citizens but urged all stakeholders in the Nigerian project to water the nascent democracy so that it might be consolidated to fulfil the aspirations of Nigerians and prevent the return of the military.

“The battle is not over yet. The antidote to less democracy is more democracy. We are against a return to military rule but we must ensure that the votes of our people water this democracy. Democracy is not just about popularity but about a conscience that we are doing the right thing. We must ensure that this democracy works; it is not working yet because people are not getting the appropriate attention that they need. We must not give up on honouring democracy, honouring Abiola, Kudirat and a host of others who died for the cause”, he said.

Last modified: June 13, 2012

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