The national president of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Mallam Yerima Shettima told Charles Adingupu that the battle for the realization of June 12 only stoke the fire of Nigeria’s ambiguous adventure to democracy. He declared in clear terms that until the convocation of a sovereign national conference, Nigeria is still far from reaching her democratic destination.
Is June 12 still relevant?

June 12 is still relevant because it is the collective struggle of the Nigerian people. It remains the sacrifice Nigerians have made to bring about democracy.

This wasn’t the dream of Nigerians when we all fought against the dark days of the military, when we suffered detentions and threats to our lives and our families. We never envisaged that this is what  democracy will be. We fought until we chased the military away.

Mallam Yerima Shettima

We fought and never know that the fire was dropping until some rascals came behind and took over the power. Hence, some of those in power today were never part of the democracy struggle. That explains what we are currently experiencing in Nigeria today.

The leaders of today did not make any sacrifice and were never involved in the struggle for the enthronement of true democracy. Hence, they are abusing the power.

On the other hand, we will continue to celebrate June 12. June 12 is not just all about Chief MKO Abiola. That’s where people are making mistakes. It’s about Nigerians.

It was a day when all Nigerians came out en-mass irrespective of our ethnic differences, irrespective of our religious differences and cast our votes without any iota of doubt in our minds because we asked for change. At the end of it all, some group of  persons killed that dream for Nigerians. June 12 however, symbolises a lot of things for Nigeria. Abiola was one side of it.

He was a factor but that date remains  the symbol of unity. June 12 also created the opportunity for us to  think about the past, the present and our yearnings for the future in order to get the Nigeria of our dream some day.

We have achieved civilian rule but not democracy. This is not democracy but democrazy, crazy in the sense that the entire spectrum of the society is riddled with corruption. We have a situation where there is insecurity in the land so high than it was in the past.

Things are generally getting worse day by day. Nobody can guarantee safety anymore. Sometimes, people are attacked. At another instance, people are killed by the road side by one tanker burning. You know the air transport is no more safe. You’re sleeping in your house, somebody will come and kill you.

You run to the village, somebody will come and kidnap you, because they believe that since you’re from Lagos, you have money. Nobody is safe anywhere anymore. Do we abandon our country and go to another man’s country to claim right? No way. Our homes still remain our homes. It therefore means that something is wrong with Nigeria. It means we are not in democracy. This was not our dreams. Hence, some of us have returned to the trenches agitating that this was not what we asked for. We shall continue to agitate until we have the Nigeria of our dream.

Way out of June 12 saga?

The only solution is for Nigerians to sit down and have a Sovereign National Conference. This will create an opportunity for us to address our fundamental issues. The Constitution we have today is a false document. There is difference between legal document and legitimate document. Therefore, we are asking for legitimate document but not legal. The 1999 Constitution was not made by the Nigerian people.

Though, some people may argue that it was made by the Nigerian people ,it was not a collective decision of the Nigerian people. There is no place in the constitution where it was stated that the National Assembly has the power to make the constitution. There is difference between making constitution and law. Though, I’m a layman but I do know that the National Assembly can make law but not constitution.

There is no place in the world where the National Assembly makes constitution for the people. The people make constitution and hand over to the National Assembly or better still to those that represent them.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.