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Ambode, Oyebode, Falana Want June 12 Declared Democracy Day

By Ayo Balogun, Lagos – Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Femi Falana and others have made case for June 12 to be declared Democracy Day in honour of the late MKO Abiola.

On Friday prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the June 12, 1993 elections annulment at the Lagos Television Ground in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, with thousands of others present.

Ambode, who spoke at the rally organized by the State Political and Legislative Powers Bureau in collaboration with the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations, said June 12 should be the real democracy day and not May 29.

He said that the State would continue to expand the frontiers of democratic governance and freedom.

“The Centre of Excellence has always been the hub for democratic ideas and we would continue to expand the frontiers of democratic governance and freedom of our people. The indomitable spirit of Nigerians spoke loud and clear on that day, reverberating across the land”

“June 12 stands as the real Democracy Day which was sanctioned by the blood of martyrs who laid down their lives for this democracy. We shall not forget them; they will always be with us. As we continue to march on and sustain democratic governance, we would enhance and empower the well being of our people,” he said.

Ambode also said June 12 symbolized the patriotic and nationalistic spirit in all Nigerians because on that day Nigerians showed that irrespective of class or political sympathy, they would always join hands to respect national values.

“On June 12, we showed that irrespective of class or political sympathy, we would always join hands to respect our national values. The general elections of 1993, fired up hope in the heart of Nigerians through the candidature of an unrepentant philanthropist and nationalist, Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola”, he said.

The Governor also said that Nigerians have become more enlightened while the younger generation have become conversant with tales and exploits‎ of selfless heroes who laid down their lives to ensure that the growth and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria comes to stay.

“This younger generation has become the driving force and momentum for sustaining our democratic gains through the deployment of new social media‎ to reach out and stand out as defendants of our people’s fundamental rights”, he said.

Ambode said the outcome of the 2015 General elections also proved that the lessons of June 12, 1993 have been fruitful just as he urged Nigerians to take some time and ‎reflect on the democratic journey that the nation has commenced for the benefit of everyone.

“Should we abdicate our responsibilities and allow personal interest and agenda to truncate our journey? We owe it as a duty to immortalize the memories of our fallen compatriots and deepen our democracy to sustain us as a people of destiny”, he said.

Speaking at the event, Prof Akin Oyebode who was the chairman of the occassion described Abiola as a titanic hero who must be immortalised, saying that June 12 showed that nobody could suppress the wish of the people.

“Abiola was a precursor of the change we are celebrating today. His slogan was farewell to poverty and have we really attain barnishing of poverty? The lessons to be learnt was that those who truncate the progress of the people will never be remembered,” he said.

Oyebode added that. June 12 had been relegated in the country, saying that ethnicisation of June 12 is disservitude to Nigerians.

Also speaking, a former Commissioner for Information, Mr Dele Alake, who delivered a lecture on the theme, “Sustainability of Democratic Values, The Nigerian Experience”, said June 12 should ordinarily be Nigeria’s Democracy Day  because there is nothing significant about May 29 except the fact that there was a change of guard in power but that June 12 signifies totality and principles of true democracy.

He said that until the enthronement of true federalism, Nigeria cannot be said to have full and true democracy.

He appealed to all political office holders to ensure that meetings such as the National Council of States and National Economic Council, should focus on the enthronement of true federalism as the lasting solution to peace in Nigeria.

Prominent lawyer and human rights advocate, Mr Femi Falana who was a co-discussant tasked the present administration in Lagos to work towards ensuring that all the heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle are remembered because there are many ordinary people who played prominent roles during the struggle.

He tasked Lagos State to lead the economic rejuvenation of the South West by propelling the economy of the sub-region, adding that Lagos should be a member of the Oodua Group of Companies.

Falana tasked Governor Ambode to continue in the struggle until Lagos is accorded a special status because according to him, presently all shipping activities goes on at the Lagos ports and that the State deserves compensation from the Federal Government.

Prominent among those who attended the event were the Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule, Chief Funsho Ologunde who represented the National leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Military Governor, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and heroes of the June 12 struggle.




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