June 12 Should Inspire Patriotic Rejection Of The Unacceptable - Fashola
…As Tinubu, Akande, Balarabe Musa, others converge at 19th anniversary of June 12 elections annulment
Jun 12, 2012 - The historic elections of June 12, 1993 should inspire all Nigerians to be patriotic to change things they do not accept, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, declared on Tuesday as he was joined by several notables at the 19th anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections.
With former Governors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Balarabe Musa of Kaduna State and Action Congress of Nigeria National Chairman, Chief Akande in attendance, Governor Fashola who spoke at a lecture organised by the Political and Legislative Powers Bureau with the theme: "Challenges and Prospects of True Federalism, Political Legitimacy and National Security" held at the Blue Roof Hall of the Lagos Television, Agidingbi noted that on June 12, 1993, Nigerians resolved to support a team that they think could take them out of poverty.
The Governor explained that for the State Government, organizing the gathering is the minimum it can do to enable all champions of democratic values be reminded that on June 12, the nation stood as one without tribe, religious or sectional considerations to choose freedom, align with prosperity, fight poverty and defeat hunger.
He said he differed from people who believed that no hope lies ahead for Nigeria, adding that he would use the occasion to remind those who said Nigeria cannot stand together due to ethnic differences that on June 12, Nigerians stood together.
Governor Fashola also reminded all those who have always said religion was a major factor that decides elections that on June 12, 1993 Nigerians were resolute in saying religion was not a dividing factor.
Governor Fashola stated that despite the fact that late Chief M.K.O Abiola had no standing army, he stood up with courage against the military which annulled his freely given mandate.
He said today, inspite of the imperfections of other elections, the country has moved from that date, adding that Nigerians cannot afford to be less patriotic than Chief Abiola was when he stood up.
"Be reminded that at the time, our laws were full of decrees, with ouster clauses that you could not even go to court. But, Chief Abiola stood up in those difficult times. We cannot afford to do less today", he added.
Also speaking, former Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for immortalizing the symbol of the June 12, 1993 elections, but said the recognition with renaming of University of Lagos amounts to a tokenism which is not unique.
He added that the naming of the University of Lagos after Chief M.K.O. Abiola is a move that reduces the national mandate to a sectional mandate, adding that what should be done is for the Federal Government to post humously recognize Chief Abiola as the winner and President elect of the 1993 elections.
Asiwaju Tinubu said in addition, the government at the centre should declare June 12 every year or the occasion of Chief Abiola's birthday as a national holiday to honour him just as has been done for Martin Luther-King in the United States.
The former Governor also spoke on the amendments to the Nigerian Constitution which limits all hearings for election petitions to 180 days noting that it was one law which limits the inalienable right of every citizen to fair hearing.
He described it as one bad law which creates room for rigging of elections to go unabated, adding that it is one law which was smuggled into the Nigerian constitution from the back door by those who have sinister intention about free and fair elections.
He expressed his readiness to lead the crusade to ensure that the right to free hearing of every Nigerian which has been taken away by the National Assembly will be restored to the people.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa said Nigerians will continue to remember and commemorate the June 12, 1993 elections because it was an election that cannot be wished away.
He said the pronouncement by the umpire at the 1993 general elections that Chief M.K.O. Abiola indeed won the election is a clear reason why the late winner who was denied his mandate should be immortalized.
He also called for the setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the annulment of the 1993 election, adding that all those found guilty of having contributed should be punished.
In a lecture titled: "Challenges and Prospects of True Federalism, Political Legitimacy and National Security", Professor Adigun Agbaje, the Director -General of the Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government and Public Policy, Lekki, Lagos said part of the conditions required for lasting democracy is for the people to begin to invest more in infrastructure, institutions, processes and values for democracy, development, inclusive governance, social justice and peace.
He added that there is also the need to seek to further democratize the institutions of civil society themselves to purge them of the accretions of undemocratic values, including intolerance, lack of internal democracy and transparency, arising from many years of military and civil dictatorial rule.
Founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) Dr Fredrick Fasehun in his brief remark suggested that the planned N2000 new denomination by the Federal Government should bear the portrait of late MKO Abiola while the Abuja National Stadium should also be named after him.
The ceremony which attracted members of various groups under the Coalition for June 12 groups also attracted dignitaries like the members of the State Executive Council, Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Kolawole Taiwo, State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Otunba Henry Ajomale, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, several civil society and students groups as well as several other dignitaries.