By Okey Ndiribe, Olasunkanmi,Â Akoni,Â James Ezema, Gbenga Oke and Vivian Enebeli
Governor of Lagos State Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola ( SAN) has proposed that theÂ winner of theÂ 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. HeÂ addedÂ 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: â€œIf the truth must be told, the annulment of June 12, 1993 was a total injustice because the personâ€™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.â€
In his own remarks at the occasion the former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Tinubu presented before the audienceÂ for adoption Fasholaâ€™s motion. Tinubu also requestedÂ that the late Abiola should be declared the third President of Nigeria and his birthday declared a national holiday.
Other motionsÂ 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 onÂ the topic â€œvariants of annulmentsâ€ compared the rigging of the 2007 general elections to the annulment of the 1993 polls both of which he described as â€œabrogations ofÂ the will of the people.â€
He also said the Federal Governmentâ€™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,Â ProfÂ Grace Alele-Williams said that the committeeâ€™s analysis of past elections in the nationâ€™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 ofÂ free and fair electionsÂ 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 FalaeÂ gave an insight into the agenda of the defunct pro-democracyÂ 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 nationâ€™sÂ post- 1999 President was in his words â€a military ruler in civilian clothesâ€.
June 12 Coalition – a conglomeration of civil society groups in the countryÂ which organised anotherÂ 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 groupâ€™s position was made known by the Chairman of the occasion Chief Ayo Opadokun, a former scribe of NADECO.
Said he: â€œThe presidential system which the soldiers unilaterally introduced to supplant the parliamentary system is unworkable for a heterogenous society like Nigeria.
The resultÂ is the chaos the nation has witnessed since 1979.Â 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 corruptionâ€.