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June 12 : Let’s de-emphasise razzmatazz and focus on the lessons — Doyin Abiola

By Our Reporters

WIDOW of late Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential poll, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, 74, has urged Nigerians to ensure that the unfortunate incident did not recur in the country by building strong institutions.

Dr. Abiola, who was delighted by the recognition and declaration of June 12 as democracy day by the Federal Government, said the celebrations were razzmatazz that should not be the focus of the historic event.

According the septuagenarian and former managing director and editor-in-chief of National Concord, it would be unfortunate if Nigerians did not learn lessons from June 12 and allow it to happen again.

Asked her view  in a 21-minute phone chat with Vanguard  on June 12, which for the first time would be celebrated in Abuja, the nation’s capital with foreign heads of states in attendance, she said: ‘’All that is razzmatazz, that is not what we should focus on, we need to learn a lesson, every experience should be turned into a lesson so that we will improve on whatever we do in the future for the younger generation.

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‘’I thank God that this is happening in my life time, there is nothing like a wrong done being corrected, what has happened has happened but we need to learn certain lessons from it and it would be terrible if we don’t learn the correct lessons from it. What happened on June 12,  so many years back, should never happen again in this country and if it happened again then we haven’t learnt anything.

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‘’There should also be forgiveness; what has happened has happened, we need to move on, we need to safeguard our democracy above anything else. Democracy, so far is still the best system of government; we need to enhance it, we need to show the world, for all that we have gone through we are still standing as a country.

Democracy is still the best form of government, for me it is how do we enhance institutions because institutions are the guardrails of any society, something that we all subscribe to. You must conduct free and fair elections, the loser must be willing to say congratulations to the winner and the winner must be magnanimous enough to govern with a large heart.

‘’Our concern is how to take care of our people, not just ourselves. You are not going there to enrich yourself; you are going there to do good, and show the world that we come from a rich tradition and heritage.

‘’The only remedy for me is that I can see a road map for a better Nigeria and how do we get the better Nigeria, we need strong institutions and institutions are the guardrails of any society. The nullification of an election is not only a sin against the contestants, it is a sin against the whole country, it should never happen again. We must learn that lesson.

‘’Some of us travel abroad and studied abroad. What have you learned from those experiences except to be selfish? We put ourselves away from the people, the same people we are governing. If you do not experience what ordinary people are experiencing where are you going to start? You need to have empathy based on reality.

‘’If you have never been a subordinate, you can never be a good leader. You govern from experience, you remember when you were down there and you were praying to God to lift you up.

‘’We don’t have institutions and even in so called developed countries, you can see what is happening all over the world. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, we make mistakes but the important thing is to correct it, the important thing is to look for the greatest good for the greatest number, not to be the only wealthy man in town.

‘’We must empathize, you must invest in people and in investing in people you give them good healthcare, education, those are the basics and when I say institutions, the home can help to teach what is right and what is wrong and don’t tell your children not to steal when they know you are the greatest thief. You should not have big appetite because if you eat more than three times a day, you will get ill, it is not healthy, how much can you eat that you must have all these accumulation of wealth and the rest of it?”

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