June 12: Buhari Has Written His Name in Gold – Ambode
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has described the recognition of June 12 as the authentic ‘Democracy Day’ as a victory for democracy.
Speaking at a symposium in Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election, he said with this declaration, President Muhammadu Buhari has written his name in gold in the democratic history of Nigeria.
He said: “It was a day that Nigerians put aside their ethnic and religious biases and spoke with one voice. But sadly the mandate that was given to Abiola on that day by Nigerians was thwarted by the military.”
The symposium, which took place under the theme, “Restructuring: An Antidote for Effective and Efficient Polity”, was organised by the Office of Civic Engagement of the Lagos State Government in conjunction with the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations.
It was put together to honour the widely acknowledged winner of the election, the late M.K.O. Abiola and his contribution to the country’s democratic dispensation.
The Lagos State governor also paid glowing tributes to other heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle, including Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr. Wale Oshun, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and other activists who participated actively in the struggle for the restoration of the mandate.
He added: “We also pay glowing tribute to the beautiful memories of patriots such as Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Michael Enahoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, General Adeyinka Adebayo and several others, including innocent ordinary Nigerians, young and old who were murdered in cold blood on the streets of Lagos and in other major cities of Nigeria. Today, we declare that their sacrifice has not been in vain,” he said.
Ambode also commended Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who governed the state between 1999 and 2007, for being the pioneer governor to declare public holiday on June 12 throughout his tenure in office, as well as his predecessor in office, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for his steadfastness in upholding the tradition.
He said the occasion attests to their visionary leadership.
He said Nigeria cannot do without restructuring, because fiscal federalism is the only way to achieve true federalism. Alluding to the late Abiola’s campaign slogan, ‘Hope ‘93’, the governor said hope is now renewed for Nigerians.
Speaking on the theme of the symposium, the guest lecturer, Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos (UNILAG), called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to ensure removal of provisions which inhibit successful running of functional system, especially revenue sharing formula which he said must be by derivation, among others.
Ashiru said Nigeria is at a crossroads at the moment and that the country must face the challenges squarely or it will pay dearly for it later.
The guest lecturer said June 12 exposed the structural deficiencies the British colonial masters bequeathed to Nigeria, following the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and the Northern Protectorates of Nigeria. He said: “A situation where one person sits in Abuja to share the money that accrues to the various arms of government is an anathema to federalism.”
He blamed the structural deficiencies for most of Nigeria’s current woes, including agitation by minorities, poverty, corruption, armed robbery, kidnappings and the lack of unity among the various nationalities that make up the country.
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