By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
A human rights group, Osun Civil Societies Coalition on Thursday, 12th June, 2014 urged the federal government to name national institutions after the late businessman and politician, Chief Moshood Kasiomawo Olawale Abiola for his contribution to the sustainability of democracy in the country.
Speaking at an event in Osogbo to mark the 21st anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Abiola, the Cordinator of the group, Comrade Waheed Lawal said the Federal Government should name University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) and National Stadia in Abuja among other major national institutions in the country after the acclaimed winner of the annulled election saying Abiola ushered in real democracy in the country.
In commemoration of June 12 anniversary on Thursday, hundreds of human right activists trooped out to sensitise masses on the significance of the anniversary in rally held in major streets of Osogbo, capital of Osun state.
According to Comrade Lawal, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Public and Civil Matters, President Goodluck Jonathan led federal government had sectionalised Abiola when he embarked on a failed attempt to name only the University of Lagos (UNILAG) after the acclaimed winner of the anulled 1993 election.
His words: “over 140 million Nigerians trooped out in June 12, 1993 to cast their votes for Abiola. So, what the federal government is trying to do is to sectionalise June 12 when President Jonathan made attempt to name UNILAG after Abiola, but we are saying that Abiola won election in Nigeria and not southwest alone, he won in the north, and east, he won everywhere.
“The struggle for democracy by MKO wasn’t a regional struggle. Today, though we live in a civil political dispensation which was the product of the prolonged heroic struggle of the Pro-Democracy activist, trade unions and other democratic organisations, we regret to say that we are yet to attain genuine democracy.”
“Indeed, whatever semblance of democracy we may claim as being in existence in our land today is largely restricted by an authoritarian central government which is easily irritated by the slightest sign of democratic activities by citizens and the mass media.
“Our elections in the country are routinely marred by malpractices and violence by antidemocratic forces while basic freedoms such as those of speech and the press are routinely abridged and violated by policemen and soldiers.”
While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that it conducts free, fair and credible election in Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections as well as the 2015 general elections in the country, Comrade Lawal advised politicians and political leaders to face issues in their campaign rather than casting aspersions on each other’s personality.
In his words, the chairman, planning committee for this year’s June 12 anniversary of the Osun state government, Barrister Shenge Raman condemned the recent clampdown on some media houses in the country by the military saying it was “an ominious sign threatening the republic.
Raman said “we are afraid, babarians are very much around to take over our land and we cannot allow them. Military should stay away from our polity. Enough of gagging the press and intimidating them. What we are witnessing in Nigeria today is an invitation to a military coup and we won’t tolerate it. This babaric act by the military men is an ominious sign threatening the republic.