JUNE 12: ABIOLA'S BLOOD, A TIME BOMB -BAKARE
Vice-presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Pastor Tunde Bakare, yesterday, warned of time bomb over the blood which the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, shed for the country.
His warning coincided with a call by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for a sober reflection for Nigerians such as Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Abraham Adesanya, Chima Ubani, Gani Fawehinmi and other progressives who lost their lives in pursuit of genuine democracy in the country. Progressives yesterday marked the 18th anniversary of the annulment of June 12 presidential election by the regime of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Speaking at his Latter Rain Assembly in Lagos, yesterday, Bakare said what June 12, 1993 election did to the military was what the forensic analysis of April 16, 2011 presidential election would do to the perpetrators of electoral fraud. While debunking the insinuations that June 12 had crumbled, Bakare alerted that the spirit of ill will that would deal with those drawing the country backward was about to commence to sweep away traitors calling themselves patriots.
'Abiola's blood is a time bomb ready to explode. Just wait. The season of the spirit of ill will is here. They will turn against themselves and destroy themselves and Nigeria will be free from bondage and captivity. When God wants to destroy the wicked, he will hide the instrument in their own house and they will use the weapons to destroy themselves. 'If you have not acted in truth, don't expect anything good to come out of your action. There is system failure in Nigeria and that is why nothing is working. If you bring good people to a crooked system, they will be destroyed. But if you bring a crooked man to a good system, the system will destroy him and good people will evolve to operate a good system.
'God will destroy all the wicked and peace will reign in the country,' Bakare prayed regretting that 'right now, it is not yet Uhuru for the country,' just as he urged good people to be in politics to better the lot of the people.
'Politics is about the welfare of the people and that is why I am in politics. I am challenged with the plight of the common people and I am ready to be an agent of positive change,' Bakare stated, vowing that 'the fight to liberate Nigeria has just begun.'
Fashola affirmed that the day called for a moment of sober reflection for Nigerians to remember Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Abraham Adesanya, Chima Ubani, Gani Fawehinmi and many others who have left the people but without whose sacrifice the country might still be in the trenches. Fashola lamented that despite the sacrifices made by these prominent Nigerians freedoms and choices have not been achieved, pointing out that there remained work yet to be done.
His words: 'The evidence of work yet to be done is manifested in the mindless orgy of violence that followed the recently concluded general elections. 'Those elections exacted a price that was too much for our country. They claimed the lives of 10 known young persons, who were serving their country; and many others who have not been so prominently identified.' Fashola remarked that orgy of violence that trailed the last election was not the kind of freedom, choice and promise that the 1993 elections were supposed to deliver.
Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians, members of civil society groups and progressives yesterday converged on Lagos, yesterday, to honour prominent Nigerians who lost their lives in the June 12 saga, saying their sacrifice enthroned democracy in the country. Notable progressives like Alhaji Balarabe Musa, human rights and civil societies groups trooped out in their thousands as early as possible to honour the hero and heroines at the Lagos television ground, venue of the celebration of the anniversary of the poll that had come to stay as watershed in the nation's political history .
Mr. Wale Oshun, former chief whip of the Federal House of Representatives whose lecture dwelt on the imperatives of the June 12 election, said the June 12 story was a story of an election in which the sovereignty of all Nigerians were traduced, saying the dream and decision that informed the voting pattern in the election must be sustained to eradicate the nation's diversity threatening to break up the polity from time to time.
According to him, 'the Nigerian experience has shown that it is possible to sustain democratic values when leaders are driven to work in the interest of the people. Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola sought to work for the interest of Nigerians but was denied the opportunity when his election was annulled on June 23, 1993.
'We must not forget this and for this we must continue to remember his supreme sacrifice. We should remember also those other fallen heroes and heroines, Chief Alfred Rewane, Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Bola Ige, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Chief Gani Fawehinmi and over 100 youths slaughtered on Ikorodu Road one sunny afternoon in July, 1993 and others still living.'
In his address at the anniversary, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said the event was a commemoration of the Nigerian struggle for freedom and choice, saying the annulled poll was a historic election that promised so much for Nigeria but delivered little. 'June 12, 1993 election has become historic and memorable not because it produced the expected results but because its sabotage produced a reaction that the saboteurs did not contemplate. 'It produced a platform for the expression of the need for change, a better life, true democracy and responsible governance by millions of Nigerians.'
Also, yesterday, activists insisted that only the convocation of Sovereign National Conference (SNC) could right the injustices and imbalances in the national polity. The anniversary took place in several points in Lagos like the Excellent Hotel, Ogba, MKO Abiola's house at Ikeja and Blue Roof at the Lagos Television, Agidingbi, Lagos.
At the Excellent Hotel event organised by the National Coordinator of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, an Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo stated that 'June 12 remains Nigeria's democracy day, regretting that 'many of those who made so much noise about June 12 seized to be consistent in the struggle since 1993.
'May 29 to me is a military democracy day. Without June 12 there can never be May 29 because June 12 engineered and pacified the Yoruba nation in its entirety and I must say that those comparing the June 12 elections to the recent elections we had in April are not being sincere because there is no similarity between both elections,' Adebanjo declared. Speaking at the event, the host, Otunba Gani Adams, said Nigeria had missed a lot from failing to take historic advantage of the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential elections and the gruesome murder of its presumed winner, Bashorun M.K.O Abiola.
His words: 'We are here today to remind ourselves our nation's mistakes and failures of the past and to gather for the appraisal of our past so as to set a vision for our future and the theme of the programme, 'Post Election Violence and the Role of Youths in Electoral Recovery,' was chosen to reflect on the issues that divide us as a nation.' Speaking on the theme of the day, the guest speaker, Dr. Derin Ologbenla of Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said political violence had been a primary threat to democratic consolidation in Nigeria since independence.
'After 14 years of military rule (1983-1999) and return to civil rule, the attitude of politicians have remained largely unchanged. Disagreements have degenerated into violence more than was the case in the first and Second Republic,' he said, adding that 'since political office is perceived to be a means to an end, the urge among politicians is to seek to return to political office through the use of force, election rigging and violence before and after elections.'
Speaking at Abiola's residence, former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), Mallam Shetima Yerima, were of the strong conviction that restructuring of the polity through Sovereign National Conference (SNC) was the panacea to peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
On its part, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of urgent national importance, immortalise Chief MKO Abiola by changing the name of Eagle Square to MKO Abiola Square. The opposition parties' platform said it was making the call because Chief MKO Abiola was undoubtedly the father of Nigeria's Fourth Republic, a republic he paid the supreme sacrifice for and regrettably a republic whose beneficiaries, out of self-denial, deliberately refuse to immortalise him.
'Chief MKO Abiola is the symbol of the freest, fairest and transparent election in the annals of our history, an election where no blood was shed, where a Muslim-Muslim ticket won and an election which defied tribalism and regionalism.
'Permit us with nostalgia to comment briefly on both the intended and unintended consequences of the annulment of June 12 election won by the everlasting MKO Abiola. The tragedy and cruel intended consequence of the annulment of the June 12 election is that the masterminds of the annulment more or less are still controlling the top levers of power in Nigeria, having simulated the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president in 1999.
'The unintended consequence is that as anti-democrats who are naturally opposed to the sanctity of the ballot box, the annulment cabal did not hesitate to corrupt the electoral process as neither the 2003, 2007 sham elections nor the hi-tech rigged 2011 elections can be equated with the June 12 election.
'The June 12 election remains the freest, fairest and credible election in the annals of Nigerian democracy and therefore the subsequent elections could have maintained this sterling quality if the election was not subverted by anti-democratic forces.