Nigeria is heading towards anarchy, Says NADECO

By The Citizen

National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) will on Tuesday relive the Epetedo Declaration by the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

The pro-democracy group is bringing back memories of the subject in order to analyse the current state of the Nigerian polity it fears is fast drifting towards anarchy.

The June 12 poll precipitated the June 11, 1994 Epetedo Declaration in which Abiola proclaimed himself President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria based on the mandate given to him by Nigerians.

Unfortunately, the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida on June 23, 19993, annulled that election, which till date is the barometer for measuring free and fair elections in Nigeria.

When all protestations failed to get Babangida's successor, the late General Sani Abacha and his military junta to reverse the cancellation of the election, Abiola, who had gone overseas in the wake of the government action, went to Epetedo, the acclaimed heartland of Lagos, and declared himself President.

He was subsequently arrested and clamped into detention for five years. However, on the eve of a reported plan by the new military regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar to release him, Abiola suddenly died after given a cup of tea to drink.

Many Nigerians, and, indeed, the international community, felt the tea, reportedly served by America's current Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms Susan Rice, in the presence of former American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Thomas Pickering, was poisoned. But the coroner ruled it otherwise as a heart failure.

Nonetheless, to members of the NADECO, a body formed in 1994 by eminent Nigerians to press the government to revalidate the June 12, and convene a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), the issues in the polity that brought them out to confront the military junta 'with brain and biro' are more germane today than in the past.

It is in this regard that the pro-democracy group has scheduled a colloquium and a world press conference 'in review of the Epetedo Declaration of June 11, 1993 made by Bashorun M.K.O Abiola.'

At an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos yesterday, NADECO said the country was headed in the wrong direction, going by events playing out in the polity.

It expressed concerns 'about the apparent drift of the Nigerian ship of state, the despair amongst the populace and the fast descent towards anarchy.'

Accordingly, it will on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 hold a colloquium with the theme, 'Affirming the Sovereignty of the Nigerian Peoples', 'to engage the wider issues thrown-up by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election won by Moshood Abiola, as well as the Declaration in Epetedo on June 11, 1994 by Abiola, that he was the President of Nigeria on account of that election.'

The NADECO leader and a former military governor, retired Real Admiral Godwin Ndubisi Kanu, and its secretary, Chief Ayo Opadokun, flanked two other members, jointly fielded questions for the Tuesday outing.

They said in engaging these issues at this time, NADECO aims at illuminating the issues surrounding the current debate about the state and direction of the Nigerian Union, 'especially the vexed question of who draws up the Charter of Relationships in the Union, and the location and place of sovereignty of the peoples.'

'NADECO also intends to x-ray the many agitations in the land, which now present unsettling instability and galloping insecurity.'

This is with a view to 'distilling the constitutional questions raised by those agitations so that those questions may be resolved non-violently by the process long canvassed as a Sovereign National Conference (SNC).'

They said a template of how to conduct this all-important Sovereign meeting of the peoples of Nigeria 'shall be in review, as well as proposals for a transition designed to take the country through the present turbulence to a more settled future.'

The planned events at the Epetedo Multipurpose Recreation Centre, will also critically examine the forces at play in the period of the June 12 election so as to locate the place of the sovereignty of the people 'amidst contending interests in societal management and for a redirection from the path it now threads.'

'We note that whilst June 12, 1993 has annually been commemorated, this will be the first time the deeper issues surrounding the cataclysmic events that followed the annulment of that election would be focused upon,' they said.

'This would enrich the contents of the entire June 12 narrative, both for prosperity and contemporary guide,' they added.