June 12, 2009

Fashola, Tinubu others seek posthumous honoured for Abiola

By Okey Ndiribe, Olasunkanmi,  Akoni,  James Ezema, Gbenga Oke and Vivian Enebeli
Governor of Lagos State Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola ( SAN) has proposed that the  winner of the  June 12 1993 presidential election Bashorun MKO Abiola should be honoured posthumously since the umpire of the election has already confirmed that the late politician won the polls whose result was later annulled.

Governor Fashola made the proposal yesterday while speaking at an event organised by the State Government to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the election.

Fashola also declared that there cannot be regular power supply nor any other meaningful development without entrenchment of democracy in the country. He  added  that instead the ruling class would always be grappling with the issue of leadership succession.

He described the annulment of the 1993 election as total injustice
Said he: “If the truth must be told, the annulment of June 12, 1993 was a total injustice because the person’s whose election was annulled was not an umpire or a judge in the process.

At this point, I think that some truths have come out. One of the truths that has come out was that there was injustice in annulling an election by somebody who was not the umpire of that election, who was not the custodian of that election.”

In his own remarks at the occasion the former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presented before the audience  for adoption Fashola’s motion. Tinubu also requested  that the late Abiola should be declared the third President of Nigeria and his birthday declared a national holiday.

Other motions  presented by Tinubu and adopted as resolutions by the audience were a proposal that the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) should be appointed by the National Judicial Council. He also presented another motion for the formation of a Coalition of Democrats on Electoral Reforms ( CODER).

In his lecture at the occasion the guest lecturer Prof. Adebayo Williams who spoke on  the topic “variants of annulments” compared the rigging of the 2007 general elections to the annulment of the 1993 polls both of which he described as “abrogations of  the will of the people.”

He also said the Federal Government’s rejection of certain aspects of the recommendations of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais Electoral Reforms Committee ( ERC) was another way of annulling the will of the people since the committee consulted widely within the country before arriving at its submission.

In her own speech at a similar event organised by the Mega Summit Movement, a member of the ERC and former Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin,  Prof  Grace Alele-Williams said that the committee’s analysis of past elections in the nation’s history showed that the 2007 general elections were the worst adding that both Nigerians and the international community were not happy with the outcome of the polls.

She further stated that the recommendations of the committee were based on the eagerness of members to see the emergence of  free and fair elections  that would be well accepted by Nigerians.

She further stated that the ERC recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) should consist of a board as well as a professional/ technical management team which will handle actual conduct of elections adding the committee also recommended that members of INEC Board should be people of unquestionable integrity who should not belong to any political party.

In his own speech at the occasion, the Chairman of the event and former chieftain of National Democratic Coalition ( NADECO) Chief Olu Falae  gave an insight into the agenda of the defunct pro-democracy  body adding that its two cardinal objectives were: Halting of military dictatorship and establishment of democratic governance in Nigeria.

However, he expressed regret that Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo who was the nation’s  post- 1999 President was in his words ”a military ruler in civilian clothes”.
June 12 Coalition – a conglomeration of civil society groups in the country  which organised another  event to mark the day in Lagos also adopted a resolution stating that the presidential system of government currently being practised in Nigeria is unworkable.

The group’s position was made known by the Chairman of the occasion Chief Ayo Opadokun, a former scribe of NADECO.

Said he: “The presidential system which the soldiers unilaterally introduced to supplant the parliamentary system is unworkable for a heterogenous society like Nigeria.

The result  is the chaos the nation has witnessed since 1979.  Our opinion is unanimous in the support for a return to the parliamentary system as it is far less expensive and provides better checks and balances against bad governance and corruption”.