Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has said that June 12 is significant in Nigeria’s political history as the day true democracy was born in the country.
The Governor noted that his administration has taken June 12 seriously by acknowledging it as ‘Democracy Day’ for the past eight years and also observe the day as public holiday in Osun.
Aregbesola at Osun June 12 Democracy Day Celebration in Osogbo tagged “June 12 Silver Jubilee : The essence of peaceful co-existence in the period of transitional democracy” stated that It is gratifying and commendable that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has recognised June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’.
He also lauded President Buhari for honouring Basorun Abiola, his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, and foremost human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Aregbesola stressed that June 12 has been described as a watershed in Nigeria’s political trajectory, saying Nigeria had been under military rule since the January 15, 1966 military coup with a short break of civilian rule between October 1, 1979 and December 31, 1983.
The Governor admonished President Buhari to de-annul the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and declare Abiola president in order to properly address the injustice done to Nigerians 25 years ago. “We view what he has done as a very good first step in a new beginning which has to be built upon.
“To properly address the injustice of June 12, we demand that the election result be fully declared and Basorun Abiola declared president posthumous.
“He should be recognised as a past Nigerian president and accorded the honour and full privileges attached to that position.
“The greatest honour President Buhari would do to the memory of Basorun Abiola is to ensure that the incident of democratic abortion like the annulment of June 12 election never happen again in Nigeria.
“This will be done through the development of our constitution to deepen federalism, strict observance of the rule of law and strengthening of democratic institutions”.
In his remarks, the guest lecturer at the event and foremost human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana commended President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring the winner of the 1993 Presidential Elections late Chief Moshood Kashimowo Olawale Abiola.
Falana whose paper was presented by Comrade Sina Odugbemi said the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day would put an end to political hypocrisy which Nigeria and Nigerians have suffered from poor leadership.
The human rights activist faulted the litigation threat for honouring MKO Abiola and a foremost human right activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi posthumously, saying such litigation will not be supported by law as no section of the constitution is against the president’s action.
Falana argued that the National Honour Acts empowered Mr President to honour any Nigerian deserving of national honour for his or her contributions to national growth and development, thus vindicating President Buhari for the decision to honour Abiola and Fawehinmi posthumously.
The human rights activist called on Nigerians to see the declaration and commemoration of June 12 as National Democracy day as a sober reflection to strengthen the existing unity for national growth and development.
“The conferment of Grand Commander Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR) is a clear demonstration of true democratic practice by the Federal Government, having summoned the courage to heed to the popular demand for the revalidation of June 12.
“In recognition of June 12, it has become incumbent on Mr President to muster all courage to stimulate the nation’s economy and bid a real farewell to poverty by stopping capital flight and illegal dealing in the nation’s commonwealth”.