Thursday, 13 June 2013

Military Designed June 12 To Fail – Maku

ECHOES of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by the ex-dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, reverberated round the country on Wednesday with government and activists reliving with regrets the event that occurred 20 years ago.
photo ECHOES of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by the ex-dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, reverberated round the country on Wednesday with government and activists reliving with regrets the event that occurred 20 years ago.
While President Goodluck Jonathan described June 12 as a unique day in the history of the country, his information minister, Labaran Maku, said the election won squarely by the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Abiola, was designed to fail by the military government of Babangida.
Maku, who spoke at the 20th anniversary of the annulment of June 12 election organised by the Save Nigeria Group, entitled, ‘Democracy Audit 2013’ in Lagos, said, “June 12, 1993 was a drama foretold. Every politician, every actor that was involved in June 12 knew that the processes leading to the election were propelled to self-destruct. In a week preceding the election, as a political editor in one of the national newspapers, I wrote in my column that the election even if it was held would be nullified.
“Even before the election, there was an alternative transition programme that had been unveiled. In 1993 when we saw that the drama taking place was the drama of the deaf, we decided to form the Campaign for Democracy. The late Gen. Sani Abacha regime was also foretold.”
Maku was sacked as an Assistant Political Editor at the Champion newspapers, Lagos, in 1994 as a result of his reportage of the crisis that followed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
The minister extolled the virtues of the symbol of June 12, Abiola, saying the election embodied the collective aspirations of the country to move forward.
While submitting that the country has made progress in the last 20 years, Maku said, “If we want to change Nigeria, we must hold leaders of every institution responsible for failures in their sectors. Development cannot come from top but from below. The top only makes policies.
“The problem with our country is that our values have turned upside down. A nation is sustained by a set of values by its leaders and the led.”
While speaking shortly after inaugurating the re-constituted Police Service Commission at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan said June 12 had changed the country’s political history despite the fact that the Federal Government had not recognised the day as a public holiday.
He said, “Today is a unique day. June 12, a date that has changed the political history of this country in one way or the other.  In some parts of the country, some state governments have declared public holiday to mark today but at the centre, it has not been formally recognised as a public holiday.
“We appreciate what happened on this day, that you are being inaugurated on this date, I think is a unique date.”
Former American ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, at the Freedom Square, Osogbo, Osun State, also gave an insight into why Babangida annulled the June 12 election.
 Carrington said the election was annulled by military politicians who feared that Abiola would return them to the barracks.
“The mandate the whole country, North and South, had bestowed upon the President-elect was suddenly stolen from him at the behest of military politicians who feared that he would return them to the barracks where they belonged,” he said.
Professor of Molecular Biology, Sola Adeyeye, delivered the former ambassador’s message. Carrington was in Nigeria during the June 12 crisis that paralysed activities and turned Nigeria to a pariah country.
Convener, Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare, urged the Federal Government to honour Abiola with a monument in Abuja such as the National Stadium.
He said 20 years after the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians were dashed, the leaders still lacked the will to develop the country.
He said there was the need to audit the nation’s democracy because things were not moving normally.
President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, demanded posthumous declaration of Abiola as the past President of Nigeria.
“We want MKO Abiola’s portrait to be where the portraits of former presidents are. June 12 remains our Democracy Day, not May 29,” Odumakin said.
Abiola’s son, Kola, said the June 12 election was detribalised and called on Nigerians to promote unity in whatever they do.
He said 20 years after the country was still beset with leadership problems, urging the leaders to provide effective governance to the people.
He urged the civil society organisations to be consistent in their struggles, insisting that until that was done, activism would not achieve its objectives in the country.
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, called for investigation into the manner of Abiola’s death, saying Nigerians deserved to know what killed Abiola.
He said, “The June 12 election must be de-annulled and MKO Abiola must be accorded full posthumous recognition as president. Nigerians must know the manner of his death.”
Abiola died on July 7, 1998 after drinking tea while in custody of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.