Opinion

Opinion: Between June 12 and June 21By Reverend Felix Ajakaiye

This year’s celebration of June 12 is the 21st anniversary of the annulment of the June 12th, 1993, Presidential Election by the then Nigeria’s self-styled Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (1985-1993).

The election, widely accepted to have been won by late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (may he rest in peace), some well-meaning Nigerians and our foreign friends have been marking the date as a reminder of part of the unjust ways Nigeria’s military dictators, their civilian allies and foreign collaborators used in
trying to ruin and misrule our beloved country, Nigeria, in their misrule.

As we recollect specially on every June 12 the sacrifice of the symbol of June 12, Late Chief Abiola, and other heroes and heroines (both dead and living), I tend to believe that with the annulment of the acclaimed freest and fairest election in Nigeria, our country has not been able to overcome the ghost of June 12. Many of the nation’s
politicians seem not to bother on integrity. They are committed to wanting power at all cost, even if it involves destruction, maiming and killing. Such politicians engage in politics of do-or-die, politics of rascality, politics of manipulation, politics of desperation and politics of intimidation. However, desperate politicians are desperate looters.

June 12 is unique and we cannot just wish it away. Indeed, it is the real democracy day. Without June 12, there would not be May 29 which has been declared democracy day by the Federal Government. We should learn to stop chasing the shadow and be original in our words and deeds.

This year is the 21st celebration of June 12 and on Saturday, June 21, 2014, there will be Governorship Election in Ekiti State, the Land of Honour. Both numbers, 12 and 21, are special and if we interchange them, putting 2 before 1, 12 becomes 21, and when we put 1 before 2, 21 becomes 12. Thus, both dates are symbolic. June 21 election in
Ekiti State is a catalyst to the subsequent elections in Osun State in August 9, 2014, and the general elections in 2015. Therefore, I urge all those concerned, the principal actors – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Security Agencies, Politicians and Electorates, to be honourable and peaceful in nature and character before, during and after the June 21 Gubernatorial Election in Ekiti State.

June 21, 2014, is the month of decision for Ekiti State and the people need to speak with their vote and elect a credible person as governor who will be a dignified symbol and ambassador of Ekiti State, a promoter of good governance. Good governance is not self-centred, but people-centred with people-oriented programmes.

Ekiti people, known to be stubbornly principled, must not allow any person or group of people to rig the election. Notably, I am convinced that those who rig and manipulate elections (whatever the form) are devilish, incompetent and desperate. They are not Omoluabi, but Odaju.

In the words of Professor Akin Oyebode, Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, and a former Vice-Chancellor of University of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State (now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti), ‘Omoluabi (well-bred, morally upright person) and Odaju (the obverse of Omoluabi) are two distinct groups of people in the society’. Once again, I appeal to the principal actors at the June 21, 2014, Ekiti State Governorship Election, particularly those presiding, not to soil and tarnish their names and image. They must not destroy their tomorrow today. I also remind them that rigging is corruption. An election rigger can never be a true reformer.

 

Inevitably, June 12 is symbolic and the symbol of June 12, Chief Abiola, needs to be genuinely honoured. Last year, the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, named the University of Lagos (Unilag) after the Chief, but there were protests against it. I still believe that the President can still find others ways to honour Chief Abiola, such as the naming of the National Stadium, Abuja, or the University of Abuja, after him in order to have a national outlook, rather than regional outlook.

Lastly, I suggest here that here that we should revisit Option A4 for our future elections as we did in 1993 elections annulled by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd). That is, open ballot system, where people will stand behind the posters of the different parties they wish to vote for and be publicly counted and the results certified immediately. Basically, this will reduce the cost of elections, rigging and snatching of Ballot Boxes, if not eliminate them totally.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the official umpire of Nigeria’s electoral process. It has to be independent both in nature and character. God bless Nigeria. May the efforts of our heroes and heroines, both past and present, never be in vain. Amen.


Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye
Bishop of Ekiti.

12 June, 2014.

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