AS Nigerians from all walks of life celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the historic June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Kehinde Bamigbetan, on Monday, demanded public disclosure of proceedings of the meeting that the acclaimed winner of the election, late Bashorun MKO Abiola, participated and died in the process.
The commissioner made the demand while speaking during this year’s International Archives Day celebration with the theme: ‘Records and Archives Management in Public Service: A Key to Good Governance and Quality Service Delivery,” organised by the State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB) at Alausa, Ikeja.
According to Bamigbetan, public disclosure will help put in proper perspective the activities that led to the death of Abiola thereby confirming or disabusing the claim that he died after taking tea during the meeting, declaring that disclosure of the record was now overripe for public consumption.
“As we get ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the death of late Chief M.K. O Abiola, it is totally remarkable and evolutionary day, and it is very evolutionary to demand that the records of that day when he took that tea; the transcription of his deliberation, it is now overripe for public consumption,” Bamigbetan said.
The state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, in his speech, said records of past events provided useful information necessary for proper understanding and sound decision making for the future.
Represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Oluseye Oladejo, the governor noted that reference to the past through records and archives ensured that mistakes were not repeated: “thereby enriching the quality of governance and service delivery to the people”.
The governor enjoined LASRAB to continue to demonstrate diligence in ensuring that documents and items of historical values were preserved in line with global best practices.
In his own remark, President, Society of Nigerian Archivists, Professor Olutayo Adesina, lamented the use of sensitive papers by sellers of roasted groundnut and booli along streets in the country.
Buttressing his claim, Adesina disclosed that the marriage certificate of the immediate past Alake of Egbaland surfaced as groundnut wrapper a few years ago.
He said this was “unlike during the Colonial service days when documents and their preservation were matters of routine.”
The professor expressed the fear that if records were not well taken and archived, the country would continue to make mistakes and would soon lose a substantial part of its heritage.
Director General, LASRAB, Mr Biodun Onayele, stated that the topic was deliberately picked to address the lapses in the recording and archiving of information in the state in order to profer solutions.
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