The immediate past Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Adesina Ogunlana has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari does not doing Yoruba a favour by recognising June 12th as the Democracy Day in Nigeria but only taken the advantage in honouring himself..
Ogunlana made the declaration while speaking at a June 12th symposium jointly organised by Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) with the themed “June 12 struggle, the relevance of its lessons to struggle of SUMMAL workers”.
He noted that Nigerians should not be carried away with the recognition of June 12 by Buhari.
It could be recalled that June 12th 1993 Presidential election was adjudged to be the most free and fair, most credible in the history of Democracy in Nigeria.
The election, which was won by late Chief Mashood Kashimawo (MKO) Abiola was later annulled by the then military administration under the leadership of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd.).
The immediate past NBA Chair who said that the June 12th struggle survived three military heads of state, one interim government and three civilian Presidents before it was recognized by Buhari, insisted that any other Presidents will recognise June 12th even, “if Buhari refused to do so”.
He maintained that Nigerians should not be fooled with what he described as “an opportunity for Buhari to honour himself, saying that Buhari in the beginning, was reluctant to do so.
He said that public outcry, calls by prominent Nigerians home and abroad ” forced” Buhari to recognise June 12th.
According to him, “Buhari took the opportunity in honoring June 12, June 12, 1993 had survived Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Sonekan, Abacha, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Obasanjo, Umar Musa Y’aradua and Goodluck Jonathan but Buhari honoured himself by honouring June 12.
“If he (Buhari) refused to recognise June 12, any other person, President after him would have recognise June 12th.”
Speaking further, Ogunlana advised that apart from Abiola, who won the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, other major actors in the struggle such as civil society organisations, pro-democracy activists, labour union leaders and other patriotic Nigerians should be also recognised without delay.
He charged Nigerians not to see the June 12 struggle as struggle of Abiola alone, but struggle of Nigerians who refused to be intimidated.
“June 12 is even bigger than Abiola. It is not a struggle of the South. It is the struggle of Nigerians, Obasanjo’s emergence was appeasement to the Westerners. Though, he abused the June 12, but, June 12 survived him. Obasanjo did not see Abiola as a Messiah. Though, they said that they were classmates rivals in school.
“Three lessons must be learn from June 12, so that Nigeria and Nigerians can be free from internal slavery foist on us by these selfish leaders. These lessons are, oppression must be tacked, people facing oppression must be ready to pay the price, they must dare to struggle and dare to win.
“Though, Abiola is no more, he has been recognised as President even he was not swore in. He was the second person who was not a President by got the highest national honour of GCFR. Late Obafemi Awolowo was the first person to be recognised with award without being a President. We must be ready to the price by fighting oppression. Our people have been intimidated, it is dare to struggle, dare to win.”
Acting Chairperson of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye while speaking on the essence of the symposium, informed that the essence was to x-ray the roles played by various actors in the struggle.
“Well, the essence of this symposium is to x-ray the June 12th struggle, what transpired role played by the working people and to draw the necessary lessons and see how much the lesions are relevant to the struggle of the working people
“June 12 was a struggle of the poor people. The people who want an end to the military junta, to give birth to democracy rule that will address all the areas of their needs. That was the essence. The role played by working people was very historic”.