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JUNE 12: Democracy Day And Nigeria’s Dance Of Death — Femi Fani-Kayode |RN

Late MKO Abiola and Femi Fani-Kayode

By Femi Fani-Kayode

Today is June 12th, our nation’s Democracy Day and I have some home truths to tell. The struggle for June 12th was indeed a noble, worthy, cataclysmic and monumental one. It was also something of a nightmare which littered our fields with many corpses and soaked the very foundation of our nation with blood, sweat and tears.

I can confirm that because I was deeply involved in it and for many years I, along with many others, fought for it’s actualisation.

Many were martyred, many were jailed, many were tortured and many were compelled to flee into exile.

Great essayists, keen minds and profound writers and thinkers like Professor Adebayo Williams, Professor Wole Soyinka, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Justice Adewale Thompson and the great Chinwezu kept us going, fuelled our courage, stirred our passion, inspired our spirits and ignited souls with their powerful essays which we read eagerly and voraciously wherever we found ourselves in the world.

This was an intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological conflict and struggle and we threw everything that we had into it.

Chief MKO Abiola was our hero and leader. He was the symbol and rallying point of the struggle and both he and his wife Kudirat sacrificed their lives for it.

I commend the Buhari administration for naming June 12th as our nation’s Democracy Day and I believe that Abiola deserves it. Yet this noble gesture, as commendable as it is, may well be too little and too late.

I say this because the Nigeria of today is the Nigeria of Buhari and not the Nigeria of Abiola. And this presents us with a very different set of challenges which have resulted in a far greater existential threat to our country than the annulment of Abiola’s June 12th presidential mandate and his subsequent murder ever did.

Consider the following. In Buhari’s Nigeria the President is from the core Muslim north. The Senate President is from the core Muslim north. The Chief Justice of the Federation is from the core Muslim north.

Again in Buhari’s Nigeria every single security, intelligence, investigative, military and para-military agency in the country except for the Navy is headed by a northern Muslim.

This begs the question: do the southerners and indeed the Christians have any place or any meaningful stake in Buhari’s Nigeria?

Yet it does not stop there. In Buhari’s Nigeria the core north says “no” when we say stop the genocide. They say “no” when we say restructure. They say “no” when we say establish a federation. They say “no” when we say establish a confederation. They say “no” when we say stop the hegemony.

They say “no” when we say Nigeria is a secular state. They say “no” when we say stop the Fulanisation. They say “no” when we say stop the Islamisation. They say “no” when we say Nigeria belongs to us all.

They say “no” when we say the northern minorities can lead the nation. They say “no” when we say there are many in the south that can govern the country.

They say “no” when we say Nigeria is not an appendage of Saudi Arabia. They say “no” when we say we are equal regardless of tribe or faith.

They say “no” when we say free Leah Sharibu. They say “no” when we say we are not their slaves.

They say “no” when we say we demand a referendum.

They say “no” when we say we want to leave the marriage and break the union.

They say “no” when we say stop playing this dangerous music. They say “no” when we say stop indulging in this dance of death.

They say “no” to everything and to everyone that seeks to resolve our differences in a reasonable and peaceful manner.

And so it has been for the last 59 long and turbulent years of our existence as an independent state and sovereign nation.

Little did we know that in 1960 we had merely replaced our external British colonial masters with a new set of internal ones.

We locked ourselves into a strange and deceitful web and became enmeshed and entangled in a complex catalogue of self-induced and self-inflicted woes.

Today we are a people under occupation and our land has been desecrated by the precence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of extremly violent, dangerous, well-armed, blood-lusting, blood-crazed and blood-frenzied terrorists and killer herdsmen who are just waiting for the signal from their masters before they unleash unimaginable horror, terror and hell on our people.

Must we wait until we are slaughtered like flies and buried in mass graves, like the Biafrans, the Bosnians, the Tutsis, the Jews, the Congolese, the Armenians, the Red Indians of North America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Incas and Aztecs of South America, the Ouigas of Mynmar, the Yazidis of Syria and Iraq and countless others, before our eyes open and we demand to leave this tinderbox?

Can anyone blame Prince Adekunle Odunmorayo when he said,

“The demand for restructuring is cowardly, useless and unachievable. Damn any restructuring. We want out of this charade. We want a new nation: we want Oduduwa”.

The Prince, who is my kinsman and a proud son of Ile-Ife, has spoken the minds of millions.

Yet it does not stop there. Permit me to add the words of one of the greatest, most moderate, most conservative and most respected leaders of our nation who fought to keep Nigeria together during the civil war, who has dedicated his entire life to that cause and who has had the privilage of leading the country on at least two separate occassions.

On 11th June 2019 former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the following to Premium Times:

“Now you have a situation where three top officials of Government will be from only two northern zones. Ahmed Lawan (who has been pencilled down as Senate President) is from the North-East, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria is from the north-east and the President of the country is from the north-west. They are all from what we call the core north. How can you have that kind of arrangement and then be absolutely insensitive to it?”

For a modeate and conservative man like Obasanjo to express his legitimate concerns in this way and for him, at an earlier date, to have confirmed the existence of the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda, is noteworthy, significant and telling.

Given this only a compound fool, a village idiot or a delusional simpleton will dispute the fact that Nigeria is in trouble and that we are sitting on a time-bomb.

Frankly in my view the time for long debates and discussions about our sorry plight and deep afflictions are long over. And neither do I believe that our debilitating problems can still be fixed or rectified.

To those that still share the erroneous belief that we ought to remain in Nigeria I urge and challenge you to consider the following and reflect on our trying predicament.

Those that believe that they own this nation and that they were born to rule it have been insensitive, savage and unrelenting in their quest to conquer our space and they have boxed us in a suffocating and murderous corner.

Every attempt to build bridges with them and reach out to them in love and friendship has failed due to their insufferable arrogance, rappacious thirst for power and unquenchable desire to dominate every sphere of our existence and aspect of our lives. And this applies to every single ethnic nationality in Nigeria who they believe must bow and tremble before them.

What more do we need to see? What more do we need to hear? What more do we need to say?

From a great nation that was once blessed with so much potential, hope and promise we are now nothing but a blood-soaked and demon-infested enclave of sociopaths, meglomaniacs, power-crazed savages, godless barbarians, callous cow-worshippers and bestial cow-lovers. It is only in Nigeria that the life of a cow is more important than the life of a human being!

This begs the question: are we under some strange, inexplicable, mysterious, ancient and binding Luciferean spell?

Is this the work of satan? Have the conjurers of the dark path been at work? Has the Queen of the Coast done her worse? Have they tsken us to the forest in the dark caves of the village?

Are voodoo and magic at play here? Have we been enchanted by the Army of the Dead? Have we been bound by the Whitewalkers that reside beyond the great icy northern wall?

Have we been cursed by the wizards, witches, goblins and orcs of Mordor? Have we been jinxed and hexed by the dark winter forces of the evil Nightking?

Yet spell or no spell, what exactly are we still waiting for in this land of blood, carnage and shattered dreams that is known as Nigeria?

Will inspirational words of faith and hope about a better tomorrow and the gentle expression of lofty ideals about the beauty and power of national unity stop the southern march of the terrorists, herdsmen and hegemonists?

They have already conquered, occupied, pacified and enslaved the entire Middle Belt and the rest of the north. They are now well on their way to “dipping the Koran in the Atlantic ocean” whist flying the flag of their great patriach and forefather Usman Dan Fodio and galloping with fury on his ancient white war horse. Must we wait for them to arrive before taking our leave?

The solution to our problem is to chart one of two courses: to either roll over in submission and let them sodomise and enslave us until kingdom come or to dig deep, find our courage, stand up boldly, hold our heads up high, say “no more” and break out of this godforsaken gilded golden cage.

There is absolutely nothing sacrosanct about this godless and inequitable union and entity. The truth is that time is running out for Nigeria and there may no longer be any alternative to a break up.

They say where there is no justice, there can be no peace. How can there be peace and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria when there is no justice or equity?

What we have is the peace of the graveyard where everyone speaks in whispered tones or is too scared to speak at all.

What we have is the silence of two mighty armies facing and sizing up one another in the field of battle minutes before the onslaught begins and the chaos, turmoil, carnage, madness, savagery, butchery and barbarity unfolds.

What we have is the awkward and eerie silence, fuelled by years of latent hate and resentment, that reigns when brother is about to slaughter brother. These are indeed truly dangerous times as the clock silently ticks and d-day approaches.

Unless there is a divine intervention, at some point the break up that everybody fears is inevitable. And sadly, because no-one is ready to be reasonable and to talk, it is likely to be a very bloody one indeed. May God grant us peace and may He guide and help us all.

Happy Democracy Day!

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June 12: Dare Not To Declare MKO Abiola President, Bode George Warns Buhari |RN

Chief Bode George

Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised those calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the late Chief MKO Abiola as a President posthumously.

According to him, the move may result in a constitutional crisis.
Despite giving the late Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election the highest title in the country, Grand Commander of Federal Republic (GCFR), and declaring June 12 as replacement for May 29 as Democracy day, there has been sustained call on President Buhari to declare Abiola as president.

Reacting, George urged those making the calls not to plunge the nation into crisis, saying President Buhari had done enough by immortalising the late Abiola.

He told Daily Independent yesterday: “Why are people talking like this? Is President Buhari the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)? So, President Buhari will now declare Abiola as a former President of Nigeria because he is President? We are throwing so many things into this issue.

“There are many bigger problems in this country. We are going to use that as a red letter day. Have we learnt any lessons from the fall-out of June 12? Those are things we should celebrate. What has happened has happened, can we reverse anything by saying they should declare Abiola as a former president? (Thickmatch)

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Jubliation As National Assembly Makes June 12 Democracy Day, Public Holiday |RN

RN file photo: National Asssembly Complex

**NASS passes Bill making it Democracy Day, public holiday

Magnus Eze, Enugu, Fred Itua, Abuja and Chinelo  Obogo

The Federal Government has received kudos as the Bill recognising June 12 as Democracy Day scales the National Assembly hurdles.The Senate, yesterday, concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of a bill to legalise June 12 as Democracy Day.

Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that the House bill which sought the concurrence of the Senate be read the second and third reading. The motion was unanimously carried and the bill passed.

 If President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Bill, May 29 that had been held as Democracy Day since 2000 will cease to be.

It equally means June 12 of every year will replace May 29 as Democracy Day if the bill is signed by President Buhari

In separate reactions, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Afenifere lauded the ratification of June 12 as a healthy development for the nation’s polity.

The apex-Igbo group said  the election held in 1993 and annulled by the military government marked a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic experience.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Chuks Ibegbu told Daily Sun that without June 12, there would not have been any further democratic milestone in the country.

He, therefore, urged the ruling class and all Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of June 12, even as he said what was currently going on in the country was political drama.

“Nobody can discountenance that June 12 was a watershed in this country. Without it, all these subsequent democratic journey wouldn’t have been possible. Anything done to make that day sacrosanct is laudable. The significance of June 12 should not be lost on the ruling class and all Nigerians.”

While the Afenifere also expressed happy that the date has got national recognition, it said until the tenets of democracy were upheld by the Federal Government, such recognition will be futile.

Spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin told Daily Sun that the Federal Government has not embraced the principles of June 12, which is free and fair election.

“We welcome the decision of the Senate to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day and we are happy that the date has got official recognition. However, we are worried that if we are not careful, all that we are doing will amount to a mockery of June 12, if we do not embrace the spirit of June 12, which is free and fair elections. We just had elections in March; did that election reflect what June 12 stands for? All that June 12 stands for has been watered down, we are living with the spirit of annulment on the one hand, while we celebrate the date (June 12) on the other hand. So, until we live with the spirit of what June 12 stands for, it would appear that we are just playing games.

“If the president genuinely believes in June 12, we would not have gone into an election without amending the Electoral law. We did not sign the Electoral Bill and went into election only to ratify June 12 in order to validate the election. For us, it is not just about celebrating the symbolism of that date, it is about the nation accepting the spirit of June 12. That’s when we can clap our hands,” Odumakin said.

Reacting, Anthony Sani, Secretary General of the ACF said: “When President Muhammadu Buhari recognised  June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of Chief MKO Abiola, we applauded the action and prayed that the gesture would go a long way to bring about healing of the wound inflicted by annulment of the election in 1993. And if the NASS has passed the decision into law, then it is heartening. Democracy Day is now legally on June 12 of every year”

President Buhari, had in June 2018, as a way to immortalise the late M.K.O Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day.

To give the Presidential declaration necessary legal backing, Edward Pwajok and Kayode Oladele sponsored a Bill in the House of Representatives last year.

The bill passed by the House in March, sought for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria in view of current realities and exigencies of the modern time.

Pwajok who led debate on the bill, noted that before 1979, there were separate Acts regulating public holidays in the country.

The Plateau State lawmaker recalled that in 1975, a law was enacted to repeal all state laws on public holidays and to streamline the process of declaring holidays for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that by law, the president may declare any day as a public holiday by public notice or Act through the Minister of Internal Affairs.

 He added that by the schedule of the Act, some days such as New Year Day, National Day like October 1 and religious festivals were set aside for public holidays.

The lawmaker said in 2000, the National Assembly amended the schedule to declare May 29 as Democracy Day.

He noted that in May 2018, President Buhari announced June 12 as the new Democracy day.

Pwajok posited that for the pronouncement of President Buhari to become effective, there has to be an amendment of the Public Holidays Act.

 The Federal Government had said President Buhari’s inauguration for a second term on May 29 will be low-key.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke to State House correspondents on the activities slated to mark the May 29 inauguration said a number of events slated for the inauguration will be held on June 12.

Mohammaed said the decision to have a low-key inauguration for the presidentwas taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on May 8. He said invitations had been sent to world leaders to attend the ceremonies, marking the observance of Democracy Day on June 12. (The Sun)

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June 12: I’ll Sue Buhari If He Confers National Honours On Abiola, Others – Ardo

Nobody can buy Yoruba race –Lamido • It’s Greek gift –IPOB

Ismail Omipidan; Billy Graham Abel; Yola and Geoffry Anyanwu, Awka

Former adviser to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has described the planned conferment of national honours on the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi as illegal.

He vowed to institute a court action to demand compliance with the provisions of the constitution in the award of the said national honours if the government goes ahead with the investiture ceremony without abiding by the due process of law.

“It is important, however, to state that I have absolutely no objection to the president conferring such national honours on the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and indeed that they richly deserve such awards and much more, but it is only right to do the right thing rightly.  My current call and possible court action are solely motivated by the obligation to enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism in the process of governing this country,” Umar Ardo explained.

Citing from the Constitution, he pointed out that President Muhammdu Buhari has no power to confer national honours on anyone without first seeking for and obtaining the approval of the National Council of State.

Ardo, in statement yesterday, said: “Pursuant to the powers of the Council of State in section 6(a)(iii) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to advise the president on the matter of awarding national honours, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convene a meeting of the National Council of State to deliberate and advise him on his decision to award national honours to the late Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi before performing the planned investiture ceremony on Tuesday. This is simply to comply with due process of law.”

To determine whether the president’s decision to confer the said national awards followed due process of law, Ardo said he telephoned and asked a former president and a serving member of the Council of State whether the issue had at any time been raised in any of the meetings of the Council of State and the advice of the said Council sought and obtained.

“He informed me and I verily believe him, that it was never ever raised nor the advice of the Council ever sought or obtained. Therefore, to go ahead and perform the investiture ceremony as planned is to indulge in flagrant illegality.”
According to him, having campaigned on, sworn-in and is on oath to govern the country in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and due process of law and to defend and protect the said constitution, the president cannot confer national awards on Abiola, Kingibe, Fawehinmi or anyone else without subjecting his decision to the advice of the Council of State as stipulated in the constitution.  To do so is a breach not only of the constitution but also of the oath sworn to by the president and that is unacceptable,” he said.

Meanwhile, former National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform that produced late Chief Abiola as the winner of the June 1993 presidential contest, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has cautioned against making political capital out of the June 12 struggle.

This is even as he said the Yoruba race is a unique one that cannot be easily bought over, “with a pot of porridge,” insisting that there was nothing anyone could do to placate the Yoruba race politically when the issues centre on the late Chief Abiola and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, regardless of what anyone does, the Yoruba race would always remember the role played by the newspaper owned by the late Abiola to “denigrate, demonised and exposed” late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the same vein, he said the Yoruba race is yet to forgive Obasanjo for not handing over to Awolowo in 1979.
“So when you people say ‘Oh, it would placate the Yoruba,’ I asked how? The Yoruba people are too politically sophisticated to be placated with a pot of porridge or something,” Lamido said.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs minister, described June 12 as a story of the high power play, treachery and political civil war.

“Let me, however, add that, if the government declares him the winner of the election, they should pay him all his entitlements, including the N45 billion debts which they owe him. They said the reason they annulled the election was because of the huge debts they owed him,”Lamido said.

However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, yesterday, described President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and conferment of highest national honour on Chief Abiola as a Greek gift.

IPOB said the move of Buhari was cynical, insisting that it was not for good that he had to make such pronouncement a few months to the general elections.

The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, urged  Nigerians, especially the people of South-West, to view the president’s pronouncement with circumspection.
IPOB stressed that Buhari’s move was specifically designed to destroy the glowing handshake across the Niger wherein the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones had made “formidable progress” to change the old order of northern oligarchy.

“It’s  a cynical move designed to truncate any East/West alliance or understanding with regards to a renegotiated Nigeria before 2019.”

“IPOB is the authentic voice of the people of the East, their next best move is to gain the confidence of the West in order to checkmate the rising influence of those that have come to forge an alliance strong enough to rattle the status quo,” the group said,

IPOB expressed confidence that the people of  South-West would be able to “detonate Buhari’s time bomb due to their high level of education.” (The Sun)

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