June 12, 2009

June 12: Nigeria’s democratic future bleak —NBA

By  Ola Ajayi, Victor Ahiuma-Young and Olasunkanmi Akoni
President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and a former governor of old Oyo State, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, yesterday brought the memory of June 12 to life in Ibadan as the former said the democratic future of the country was bleak.

Speaking at different fora, Olunloyo, who delivered the first annual memorial lecture in honour of the late top Ibadan politician, Chief Lamidi Adedibu, argued that the former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, did not hand over to the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, because of his close affinity with the military.

Sixteen years after the annulment of 1993 presidential election, the Coalition of Oodua Self-Determination Groups (COSEG), yesterday demanded the release of the remaining results of the election, just as it demanded an edifice to be built in honour of the late democrat.

Speaking on the June 12 election results that are yet to be released by the then National Electoral Commission (NEC), which it was believed is still in the possession of the Federal Government, COSEG helmsman said it should be released and Abiola declared winner post-humously.

According to Olunloyo,  ”How would they have allowed him to come around and be their President? Somebody who was more or less a ‘super SSS,’ who knew every secret in the military and of the military men.

“They knew that if somebody like him became their President, they would have been in the soup because of their secrets,” he stated.

To Akeredolu, “The future is bleak, except people don’t want to be frank. The future appears bleak. But, it looks to me that the need is there for us to make an omelette.  And, if we are desirous of making an omelette, then we must be prepared to break eggs. In essence, therefore, we cannot make omelette without breaking eggs.”

He said it was regrettable that since June 12, 1993, up til now, we are yet to have what we can call a credible election in Nigeria, adding that this implied that ”we have learnt nothing.”

In his view,  “if we are not going to have this electoral fraud in perpetuity, then the need is there for people in a couple of states to put their feet down to say ‘our votes must count.’

“Until we are able to do that, then democracy has no stand in Nigeria. That means it has not taken any footing because the essence of democracy is for you to have the ability to vote, and that your vote would count. That is the point. That is democracy. Democracy is for you to make a choice of who represents you. But if you now have selection and imposition, then that is no democracy.”

June 12 to Akeredolu was “Executive impunity and Arbitrariness” where people just felt that whatever happens, they could do whatever they wanted to do and nothing would happen.

Olunloyo, speaking on the topic, ‘Lamidi Adedibu: The Political Titan and The Man’ said ‘Adedibu to some was a hero, a villain to others and an ordinary man like every mortal. He was not a saint nor a sinner. He was not controversial because there is no human being without a fault. He was loved by his admirers and was an incurable optimist who did not believe in failure.

Similarly, in a statement yesterday, United Action for Democracy (UAD), said as Nigerians  mark another June 12 anniversary , today, it brings to mind that the culture of impunity and executive lawlessness, t, electoral malpractices, economic and social deprivation and increasing waves of insecurity which the election of June 12 were to wish away were the mandate expressed by 14 million Nigerians on 12 June, 1993 presidential elections to be respected, are not yet over in the country.

UAD in statement by its Convener, Comrade Abiodun Aremu posited that “June 12 symbolism brings fresh memories of the conspiracy by the local ruling cabal and the American agents in the July 7, 1998 state-murder of Bashorun MKO Abiola who won the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Equally is the unresolved question of justice in the judicial killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other 8 Ogonis; the assassination of Pa Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola and several other patriots that were either hounded, arbitrarily detained, and murdered.”