By Edu Abade and Charles Coffie-Gyamfi
Human right activist, Dr. Joe-Okei Odumakin, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “complete” the post-humous honour he conferred on late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, by declaring him as one of the former presidents of the country.She spoke yesterday after a rally, which began with a street walk from the State Cultural Centre in Abeokuta to Abiola’s Gbagura family house, organised by the Ogun State government to mark the 25th anniversary of the annulment of the election.
Also, one of Abiola’s brothers, Alhaji Muritala Abiola, who lauded the President for his kind gesture at the gathering, regretted that Abiola did not live to witness “his day”.The Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, who represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun, stressed that since the inception of the Amosun’s administration, the state had been celebrating the June 12 anniversary because of the importance it attaches to it.
Meanwhile, civil society organisations have said that with Buhari’s recent recognition of June 12 as the nation’s Democracy Day, there was nothing to celebrate.The Joint Action Front (JAF), in collaboration with 37 other pro-people groups, stated this yesterday at a press conference in Lagos to commemorate June 12.National Co-ordinator of JAF, Dr. Oladipo Fashina, who spoke in company of other activists, said in spite of the Federal Government’s belated declaration, civil society groups had been celebrating June 12 in their various ways.
He said their celebration of the day was in furtherance of the struggle for system change, given the persistent political and socio-economic crises in the country.He said Nigerians had nothing to celebrate because no real progress, freedom or improvement had come their way.
Also, Philip Jakpor of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) noted that the Nigerian government had pursued policies that led to the dispossession of people’s homes and sources of livelihood.
The trend, he further stated, had placed people’s lives in the hands of land grabbers and billionaire property developers, which he said, must be resisted.”Nigerians should shed the illusion that the ruling class will deliver Nigeria. They are all repositories of class exploitation, ethnic tension, religious crisis and everything negative. Any illusion that any section of the ruling class can save Nigeria is bound to end in utter disappointment, Jakpor declared.”