Carrington: Jonathan Must Honour June 12 Heroes
LAGOS, June 01, (THEWILL) - Twelve days to the seventeenth anniversary of the annulment of June 12 presidential elections, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington today stressed the need to celebrate, honour and recognize all the fallen heroes of June 12.
At the same forum, former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade flawed the process through which the Grand Commander Order of the Niger (GCON) was conferred on Vice President Namadi Sambo, wondering what impact he has made on the country, to merit the award.
Also, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) advocated right values as requirements for taking up leadership positions in the country, attributing attainment of rapid development, constitutional and democratic government to instilling good and right values.
These views were expressed today at a symposium in Lagos, which focused on Values and Social Changes.
Carrington, who served as the US ambassador to Nigeria during the regime of the late tyrant, General Sani Abacha, said there "cannot be May 29, now Nigeria’s Democracy Day, without June 12."
Speaking on "The Values that Brought Obama to Office," the diplomat mentioned the winner of June 12 election, late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, leaders of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Pa Abraham Adesanya, Pa Alfred Afred Rewane and Chief Gani Fawehinmi as those to be honoured. Carrington also named Dr. Ransome Kuti, Chief Ajibola Ige, Dr. Tai Solarin, Alhaji Shehu Yar’Adua, Dr. Ken Sarowiwa and nine Ogoni leaders whom he said, offered their lives in the fight for the country’s democratic and constitutional government.
Carrington, who turns 80 July 24, asked President Jonathan to "celebrate, honour and recognize the fallen heroes of June 12," adding that Jonathan did what his predecessor failed to do by recognizing the winner of the June 12 election.
According to him, Nigeria can take a fortnight to celebrate all its pro-democracy activists, and leaders who died in the course of fighting for the attainment of democracy like the way the US Government set a day aside to celebrate black Americans who fought racism and lost their lives in the course.
Carrington explained that it was unfortunate that several political and business leaders in Nigeria were succeeding through corrupt and fraudulent dealings and practices, a development he said was inimical to good governance and rapid development.
According to the octogenarian envoy, Nigeria needs people of integrity and sound values to take up the country’s political leverage. Corrupt practices will only take Nigeria backward.
Also at the forum, Kolade, who made a presentation on Promoting Values-Based Governance, questioned the conferment of GCON on the Vice President on the day he was sworn in, saying Sambo had not done anything to deserve that kind of award.
In his words: "Before an award is conferred on a public officer, the person must definitely have met certain criteria to deserve the award. In the case of the Vice President, he just assumed office. He has not done anything to merit GCON. I was surprised that GCON was added to his name immediately after he was sworn-in."
In the same vein with Carrington, Kolade called on Jonathan to reward leaders "who show good examples." He called for a culture whereby political office holders would vacate offices when being investigated for wrongdoing in public offices or any strategic positions.
He said: "Openly celebrate leaders who show good examples. Severely curtail the access of position to inflate remunerations and benefits of public offices. There is no reason for security votes because the leaders are not going to give account of how the security votes are spent."
Speaking earlier, Fashola commended the role of Ambassador Carrington in the fight for the country’s democracy, saying his (Carrington) efforts and those who collaborated with him earned Nigeria democratic and constitutional governance, though imperfect.
He said values "truly make a man. It is true values that determine what premium will be on human lives. It is the right values that diminish crime, violence and corrupt practices. The right values help us instill hard work and culture of best practice."