The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of June 12 struggle by not giving up on the nation’s democracy.
Adams made the call at the commemoration of June 12 Democracy Day in honour of Late Chief MKO Abiola, organised by the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), in Lagos.
The theme of the event was: “The Mantra of June 12 and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria.”
Adwms said the actualisation of June 12 as Democracy day showed there was hope for a better Nigeria.
“Chief MKO Abiola died for democracy to be sustained in Nigeria and the June 12 struggle has been on for 27 years, but we thank God that our struggle ended in victory.
“One of the lessons of June 12 is that you do not give up on a course or a struggle and I urge Nigerians not give up on our democracy.
“With continued struggle, our needs and yearnings as a people will be met someday, just as June 12 has been eventually declared as Democracy day in Nigeria.
“Nigerians must continue to demand for good governance and social justice. In fact, that I’m an Aare Onakakanfo will not stop me from fighting for the rights of Nigerians.
“This is because I’m an Aare with a conscience, “he said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s rightful Democracy day.
He also urged him to take a step further in honouring the memory of MKO Abiola by recognising that restructuring was the way out of the country’s current challenges.
According to him, if Nigeria is restructured, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen crisis and insecurity will become history.
Also speaking, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Centre for Change Initiative, urged the Federal Government to make a posthumous declaration of MKO Abiola as a past President of Nigeria.
Okei-Odumakin said that entrenching the ideals of June 12 was the only way to properly immortalise MKO Abiola.
“When we have not restructured and decentralised powers in Nigeria, when we have not conducted free and fair elections, when there is security of lives and property, when Nigerians are yet to be taken out of poverty. We cannot say we have immortalised Abiola.
“June 12 will never be forgotten in the anals of our democratic struggle, “she said.
In his lecture, Dr Dele Ashiru, a Political Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, said that the message of June 12 was about hope for all and eradication of poverty in Nigeria.
“It is unfortunate that 26 years after, Nigerians have become poorer and until Nigerians are taken out of poverty, the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 will continue indefinitely, “Ashiru said.
In his remark, Retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), expressed concern over the current state of governance in Nigeria, demanding that the country reverts to the practice of true federalism..
“June 12 as Democracy day is not only about celebration, but also about sober reflection on the need to Install a viable federal structure to drive true democracy in the country, “he said.