Tundun Abiola, one of the daughters of MKO Abiola, on Sunday said it was not by election that former President Olusegun Obasanjo got into office.
She believes that the former president was appointed by the then military regime to compensate the people of the South-West region for the death of her father – the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
“Obasanjo was appointed the president, he was not elected president. We did not have any election in 1999, we had a coronation,” Tundun stated during an interview on Rubin Minds on Channels Television.
She made the comments in reaction to the declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day and the posthumous award of GCFR conferred Abiola by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tundun, who is also a lawyer, commended the development which she said was appreciated by her family after a long struggle.
She, however, criticised former President Obasanjo for failing to recognise her late father for his contributions to the nation’s development.
The lawyer stressed, “When you know you were not elected, you know you were selected and just appointed president by the military, it is galling for him to have acknowledged a democratic process.”
“President Obasanjo and my father had a relationship then; so what happened in their lifetime continued even after my father was dead. He cannot bear the idea of Moshood Abiola – so he did not do it,” she claimed.
A lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dr. Adelaja Odukoya, has referred to the prohibition of discussions on the unity of Nigeria at the National Conference as an anomaly.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television on Monday, he explained that the clamour for a National Conference could be traced back to the controversies surrounding the June 12, 1993 election in which sections of the country were dissatisfied due to “feelings of marginalisation, exclusion and non-inclusiveness of all parts of the country in the governance of the country,” with their agitations mainly centred on the unity of Nigeria.
He therefore, wondered why the government would assume that the country was united, as such assumption was unacceptable and would amount to papering over the country’s problems over the years. Dr. Odukoya pointed out that the fear of breakup was unfounded, if the country was not willing to confront it, address it and see how to solve it.
He said: “Government is unnecessarily paranoid. The common Nigerian elite is not willing to break up, as long as the commonwealth of oil and opportunities are evenly shared”.
Dr Odukoya, however, stressed that the government was trying to avoid a discussion that may lead to the breakup of Nigeria, as a way of protecting that unity which had been referred to as non-negotiable.
Odukoya, using the analogy of a half full glass which could also be seen as half empty, claimed that the discussion of how Nigeria may break up could also be more of discussing how Nigeria would continue to live in unity and what the conditions for remaining together were.
“If you say we cannot discuss it, you are saying we cannot confront it. Fundamental issues are not being addressed and as long as we paper over it, we cannot move forward. This is like postponing the evil day,” he stressed.
Odukoya, again, using the analogy of marriage and divorce, explained that divorce is was not what married couples usually want to embrace easily, as seen in many African women who remain in a marriage for the sake of their children, despite its challenges. However, there must be an opportunity for them to make that decision.
Referring to President Jonathan as an accidental convert to the issue of National Conference, Odukoya said that there would have been a better handling of the idea if the President had had a clearer picture of how to hold such conference and how to go about it.
He also condemned the makeup of participants for the conference, frowning at the elitist nature of it. He said that the people should have been allowed to make the decision of who to send as representatives, as ethnic nationalities had not been well established.
He insisted that the problems of Nigeria were not just at the level of professional groups and retired civil servants, but about the ethnic nationalities that relate together on the everyday basis.
He noted that even the professional representation was flawed, wondering why there was no mention of the representation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which is the umbrella body of Nigerian university lecturers.
He also added that the modalities should have been explicit on whether the outcome of the conference would be ratified or not, as his opinion was that the exercise would be an advisory conference.
He submitted that the outcome appears to be one that is supposed to only advise government and if this is an advice, then the government may have the right to still do only what it prefers to do.