Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Friday , described the recognition of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day by the Federal Government as righting the wrongs of the past, saying there would not have been May 29 without June 12.
Fayemi while speaking at an event to commemorate June 12 as Democracy Day in the state said though the late Chief MKO Abiola deserves the honour accorded him by the government but the struggle was not about him but about Nigerians that voted for him.
He described many of those who fought against the annulment of June 12 as committed patriots.
His words: “Some of those saying that June 12 was not worth dying for were poor students of history and not abreast of the war waged by people to restore democracy to the country. Over 70 per cent of our close to 200 million population did not have first hand information about June 12, so those of us who knew what transpired must acknowledge the struggle.
“One thing is clear. There won’t be May 29 without June 12 and that was why President Muhammadu Buhari decided to honour the late Abiola. The honour was not just about the man but also about Nigerians who voted for Chief MKO Abiola.
“The man represented Nigeria in all its ramifications and he understood all the contradictions, so there are lessons to be learnt, especially with the way President Buhari decided to honour this man, who died for democracy. That is why we have to strengthen this democracy. We are not yet where we are supposed to be.”
Also speaking on the occasion, former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd) advised President Muhammadu Buhari to make June 12 the inauguration day for president, governors and other elected office holders in the country
He stated that what Buhari did was not for MKO Abiola, but for the growth of the country’s democracy.
Akinrinade also faulted the ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ allegation levelled by former President Olusegun Obasanjo against Buhari, stressing that the honour bestowed on Abiola, a Yoruba man, negates the position canvassed by the ex-president.
“I have always believed that a criminal is a criminal. Whether you are a Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa, when you commit an offence, you must be treated as a criminal.
“It is not good to link every Fulani man to Buhari.”
Akinrinade appealed to Buhari to cooperate with the governors on the issue of security, saying there cannot be meaningful growth and development when people are being killed or kidnapped.
he keynote speaker and Chairman of The Afenifere Renewal Group, Hon. Olawale Oshun, described June 12, 1993 as precursor to democracy in Nigeria, adding that it was a turning point in the country’s tortuous journey towards enthronement of democratic governance.
Hon. Oshun berated the inherent contradictions in the 1999 Constitution which was bequeathed to Nigerians by the military, urging the federal government to fashion a new people-oriented legal framework that would address various challenges bedevilling the country.
“It is not just a question of devolution in terms of administration but to fashion out a constitution that is acceptable to all.
“We need a constitution that will address our peculiarities and clearly and lucidly state the power each of the federating units should exercise.
“If this is done, the myriad of challenges stunting our growth and development as a country will be absolutely solved,” he said
The event also featured presentation of video documentary produced by Otunba Niyi Babade and entertainment of guest by Ekiti state cultural troupe