Senator Shehu Sani, NADECO chieftain Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Are Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba Gani Adams, and other Pro-democracy activists on Tuesday restated their demand for restructuring of the polity.
They said the gains of the democratic struggle in Nigeria would be incomplete until the nation is restructured to allow all component parts of the country be in full control of its resources.
They also demanded the full declaration of the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, to remove the cloud of uncertainty over the actual winner, as well as turning Abiola’s residence into a national monument and a presidential library.
Leading the call, Sen. Shehu Sani, said restructuring would allow the crystallisation of the gains of the June 12, which according to him was the watershed in the nation’s political struggle.
Sani who had earlier expressed his profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his courage in recognising June 12 as “the authentic democracy day” and honouring Chief MKO Abiola with the highest honour of GCFR.
“By that singular honour President Buhari has unofficially recognised Abiola as the winner of that election, what remains is for him to give an executive order directing the then National Electoral Commission Chairman Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, to officially declare the rest of the suspended result and declare the late Abiola winner of the election so that we can move on as a nation.”
He said while the movement acknowledged the courage behind the preside it’s gesture, they however reject in its entirety any attempt to use it to score any cheap political point ahead of next year poll.
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“Mr President, we accept the gift which is coming 25 years after that election, but reject any intended political motive it especially if it is a solicitation for votes.”
He said in his attempt to correct the errors of the past, the President inadvertently has recognised traitors of the June 12 struggle, adding that the real heroes of democracy would resist any attempt by such men to rewrite history.
Speaking on the symbolism of the June 12, Sani said though its annulment prevented Nigerians from benefitting from the genuine intention to correct its errors, by calling on the President to put an end to senseless politically motivated killings across the country and be more dogged in his anti-corruption crusade.
The National Coordinator of the Oodu People’s Congress Are Gani Adams said the recognition of June 12 and posthumous awards bequeathed to Abiola is as a result of the dogged struggle of pro-democratic activists, especially men of the OPC who resisted the injustice that the annulment represented.
He said: “Today, through the awards bequeathed to heroes of our Democratic struggle, we have silenced the voices of evil and their machinations on the country.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists Lagos State Chapter, Dr Quasim Akinreti lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his courageous deed, and urged him to declare the late hero as the authentic winner of the June 12 election.
Rear Admiral Ndubusi Kanu described the declaration last Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari as the game changer adding that those who are criticising the declaration are the real enemies of the nation’s tortuous democratic struggle.
Hr called for an end to the mindless killings going on in the country as well as restructuring that would give full autonomy to component units of the country.
Convener of Women Arise Dr Joe Okei Odumakin said though she got her invitation to be at the villa, she had decided to cancel her appearance to be at this year’s event.
She however lauded the recognition of June 12 as Nigerias democracy day and the recent signing of the Not too young to run bill by the president as a step in the right direction.
The guest lecturer, Prof Derin Ologbenla said since the intervention of the military in Nigeria’s democratic journey, there has been a deliberate play up of ethnicity and religion to divide the country.
He charged all politicians to learn how Abiola won massively in 1993 and adopt his mandate to pull the nation away from the slide to poverty.
The highpoint of the event was present station of award to 21 pro-democracy activists who have contributed immensely to the sustenance of the struggle over the last 18 years.
Among those who were presented awards for their dedication to the struggle are; Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum leader Alhaji Yerima Shetima, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, (Rtd) Comrade Joseph Evah Comrade Ayodele Akele, Prof Sophie Oluwole and Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Yinka Odumakin.
Others are; Kudirat Abiola Initiative for Democracy (KIND), OPC Secretary General Barr Segun Babajide, Dr Jide Rotilu, Prof Charles Alade, Dr Tony Uranta, Dr Amos Akingba, Prof Tunde Babawale, Prof Derin Ologbenla, and Prof Bayo Lawal.
Others are Prof Orimogunje, Prof Chidozie Okoro, Prof Wale Ogundowole, Send Shuhu Sani, and the NUJ Lagos Chairman Dr Quasim Akinreti.