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Buhari’s June 12 Declaration: Why I’m not excited – Jimi Disu

Veteran journalist and social commentator Jimi Disu bared his mind on President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day in Nigeria. He spoke on Classic FM Front Page News Analysis, a morning newspaper review programme.

Veteran journalist and social commentator Jimi Disu bared his mind on President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day in Nigeria. He spoke on Classic FM Front Page News Analysis, a morning newspaper review programme.

Jimi Disu

Jimi Disu: Let me first of all state clearly that you really can’t do an analysis on this issue. What you can do is to give your own opinion and there would never be an agreement of opinions on an issue like this. People will see it from various sides of the divide, so what I’m going to do is not to do an analysis, but to give my own opinion. I’m going to be extremely honest, so critics should realise that this time around it’s not an analysis, but my personal opinion.

Buhari has the right to do so, that is established, so there’s no debate about it. When I heard about it, for some reasons, I wasn’t excited. I think it was belated and I tried to work out the relevance in the scheme of things today. It would stir a hornet’s nest again, distract people from the issue at hand and they’ll spend time arguing on whether he should or shouldn’t have don so. Some questions came to mind – During the June 12 crisis, Buhari was a retired general, a former Head of State and member of the Council of States…

Now there were some ex-military men who stood out at that time namely General Akinrinade, General Kanu. As a former Head of State, elder statesman and military person, at that time, Buhari said absolutely nothing. At a time the country needed the opinion and support of people of that calibre, he said absolutely nothing.

Now in an election year, when he needs all the votes that he can gather, he declares June 12 Democracy Day and honours Abiola with a GCFR . I think maybe that is one of the reasons I wasn’t excited. Let me also state clearly that I’m not against it, it has been long overdue. The other issue that came to mind are the various reactions of people, Afenifere and various groups. It brought a slight tear to my eyes that some of the people who are reacting today and saying that this is the best thing that happened, some of the people who have been credited with being in the June 12 struggle, one day, God will expose all of them and what they actually did and that day will come.

A lot of people that are grandstanding today, saying they like it, including those who bring Obasanjo into the picture because Obasanjo didn’t do it, one day, God will, in his infinite mercy, expose everybody and the role that they played. I have a very strong feeling that of all the various tribes, it was the Yorubas that betrayed Abiola the most, but most people don’t know that. I hope that someday, someone would actually document what happened, including those who went to join Abacha’s government on the premise that Abiola told them to join the government so they could actualise June 12 which is the greatest dishonesty I could ever imagine.

How could Abiola have told you to go and be a minister in Abacha’s government when you could hardly see him for days in the military government? All these are a stories for another day. But I congratulate Nigeria for having this June 12. One issue that needs to be resolved is what happens to May 29? Are we now going to have two holidays? If Democracy Day has been transferred to June 12, it then means that the President’s tenure is being extended by two weeks.

This is my personal opinion but let me quickly add that former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Belgore said that the GCFR to Abiola is illegal. Let me read what he said “Meanwhile the award of Nigeria’s highest National honour on Late Moshood Abiola is illegal… Alfa Belgore said the National Honours cannot be awarded post-posthumously, much less the GCFR which is the highest honour in the land. “It is not done.” Belgore said that it is only for people living. The only thing they could do is to name a place after him. Belgore who is the Chairman of the National Honours Committee said he was not consulted by the Buhari administration before the decision was taken.

I’m surprised that he was not consulted, I think that was in bad faith, which shows that it was probably a hurried decision. One thing I quickly want to add is how much will it affect Buhari’s performance in the South-West because that is where it is targeted at? If I’ll vote for Buhari, it’s not going to be because he recognised June 12, that’s not enough reason. You’re voting for your future, this one is in the past. Yes you can acknowledge it, but that shouldn’t be a reason you should vote for him.

 


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