‘Well Deserved’: Nigerians React As Buhari Proposes To Rename National Stadium After Abiola

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday proposed the renaming of the National Stadium in Abuja after M.K.O Abiola.

The move, according to him was part of efforts to atone for the “damage done in annulling the presidential election” of June 12, 1993.

Several reactions have trailed the proposal, with some Nigerians stating that the development is well-deserved.

Read Also: Buhari Proposes Renaming Of Abuja National Stadium After MKO Abiola

Although some have commended the move, they also believe that more has to be done to honour the efforts of Abiola and other heroes of Nigeria’s democratic struggle.

See some of the reactions below.

Some others, however, criticised the move.

Democracy Day: Remember Those Who Died In The Fight For June 12 – Joseph Eva

Joseph Eva

 

Member of the Ijaw Monitoring Group and a Niger Delta Activist, Joseph Eva, has asked Nigerians to remember those who died in the fight for June 12 not just for Moshood Abiola but for the sake of unity.

Mr. Eva who was appreciative with the recent declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, noted that there were people who were involved in the struggle and gave up their lives to ensure the day is memorable.

“As we remember those who died, let us remember those who prayed that Nigerians should recongise the important of the June 12 election not just for Abiola but for the sake of unity”.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Televisions Lunch Time Politics programme, the Niger Delta activist, commended the Federal Government for setting the day aside to mark democracy and as a public holiday.

READ ALSO: Government Should Recognise Other Heroes Of June 12 Struggle, Says Falana

For those of us seeing today June 12 as a public holiday, we want to thank the African brothers, Presidents and others who came to celebrate the day because they know the significance of this day.

We want to thank the President (Muhammadu Buhari) for him to say June 12 should be officially recongise as Democracy Day.

The Delta Activist expressed concern regarding the kind of democracy practiced in the country, adding that such kind of democracy is the civil rule.

observing the general elections, he said that politicians were involved in a lot of vote buying, and there has been a lack of respect for court ruling among other issues.

“It is civil rule that is being practiced in Nigeria’s democracy today because there is a lot of voting buying if you don’t have the money you cannot contest an election, while some people don’t respect the court ruling, so we cannot qualify that as real democracy”.

Mr. Eva was however optimistic that Nigeria’s democracy will get better with time.

Top 12 Quotes From President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, at the inaugural June 12 Democracy day, gave a speech where some declarations were made and the agendas of his administration reeled out.

READ ALSO: Colourful Military Parade At Democracy Day Celebration

Below are the top 12 quotes made by President Buhari:

  1. Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.
  2. I was involved at close quarters in the struggle to keep Nigeria one. I can, therefore, do no more than dedicate the rest of my life to work for the unity of Nigeria and upliftment of Nigerians.
  3. What we require is the will to get our acts together. Our strength is in our people our youth, our culture, our resilience, our ability to succeed despite the odds Buhari
  4. Without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa would have come at a greater cost.
  5. With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
  6. This Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold steps in transforming our country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty.
  7. When economic inequality rises, insecurity rises. But when we actively reduce inequality through investments in social and hard infrastructure, insecurity reduces.
  8. When we took office we realised that if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back and we have seen this at all levels.
  9. For Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broad-based prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged but for all Nigerians.
  10. Despite the challenges over the last four years, my optimism about Nigeria’s future is unshaken and Nigeria’s role in the world as an emerging economic force is without a doubt.
  11. This Government will not tolerate actions by any individual or groups of individuals who seek to attack our way of life or those who seek to corruptly enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us.
  12. Today, I propose the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium. Henceforth it will be called MOSHOOD ABIOLA NATIONAL STADIUM.

Nigeria’s Democracy Has Moved Backward From June 12, Says Oyegun

John Oyegun

 

Former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Oyegun, has said that Nigeria’s democracy has moved backward from the June 12 era.

“To my mind, we have moved backward from June 12 in terms of our appreciation, practice, and acceptance of true democracy.

“I believe it is a process, we have made mistakes, we are learning and we are lucky that today we have a President like Muhammadu Buhari, he has led the benchmark.”

READ ALSO: It Is Not Enough To Declare June 12 Democracy Day Atiku

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Lunchtime Politics Programme, Mr. Oyegun commended the president for rebuilding the nation and stabilising the economy in the last four years of his administration.

“We’ve been through a bad path, again the fortune of having President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He has spent four years stabilising the economy, rebuilding the foundation of this nation.

“He has spent four years putting in place the structures that will propel us forward in this second term.”

The former APC chairman emphasised that the President has rebuilt and stabilised the economy, which has put the country in a situation to move forward.

He admitted that certain issues are still affecting the country’s development and progress such as poverty, unemployment, insecurity among others.

Mr Oyegun also assured Nigerians that the next four years will be better than the previous years which other administrations can continue from where he stopped.

 

We Can Lift 100 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty In 10 Years-Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his government can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

Buhari revealed this in his opening speech during the inaugural June 12 Democracy Day celebration in Abuja on Wednesday.

He added that despite the positive growth in the economy, his administration is mapping out policies to ensure that the country’s GDP grows by 2.7 per cent in 2019.

“In face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.

“With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“We now have witnessed 8 quarters of positive growth in the economy and our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Renames Abuja National Stadium After MKO Abiola

President Buhari assured that the next four years will focus on improving the lives of people.

“For the next four years, we will remain committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues as well as emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability.”

Government Should Recognise Other Heroes Of June 12 Struggle, Says Falana

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has asked the Federal Government to identify other heroes of the June 12 struggle.

Mr Falana who was guest on Channels Televisions Democracy Day edition of Sunrise Daily on Wednesday advised those who were part of the struggle, and are now in government, to ensure that the ideals are actualised.

My advice to the government, beyond recognising chief MKO Abiola, beyond the national honour, well deserved, conferred on him, as well as chief Gani Fawehinmi, we must also identify other heroes of that struggle from all over the country. This was not a NADECO and Afenifere affair.

The beauty of those who are coming from the civil society who have found themselves either in the executive or the legislature is to ensure that those ideals are actualised and implemented in Government, that is why June 12 is so significant.

READ ALSO: Third Republic Legislators At Eagle Square: We Are Victims Of June 12

He added that after the elections, candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC), Bashir Tofa, was under pressure to go to the tribunal and it was at that point the civil societies and trade unions began the struggle.

The point has been made abundantly clear, after that election, Bashir Tofa, the other candidate congratulated his opponent and that is what is done in any civilised society; he was under pressure to go to the tribunal but he said no.

From that moment, the civil society came in, the progressive trade unions came in and made the country ungovernable for the dictators.

They were waging the struggle when some of us were captured and taken to jail houses, they made it ungovernable for the military dictators to have their way, at the end we won the battle for the restoration, he added.

12 Power Quotes By MKO Abiola

A file photo of Late MKO Abiola

 

Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was the candidate of the Social Democratic Party and presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, which has been described as the freest and fairest in Nigeria.

The philanthropist, businessman, and politician who was born on August 24, 1937, was, however, denied his mandate as General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election and General Sani Abacha later jailed him for fighting for the mandate.

Although he died in prison on July 7, 1998, the symbolism of that struggle has never been lost to pro-democracy activist and, two decades after his death, the clamour for the recognition of that struggle remained strong.

As the country marks Democracy Day today for the first time on June 12 in recognition of that struggle and its role in returning democratic rule to the country, here are 10 quotes from the man on who the struggle was built.

1.

There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no setup that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate that you bestowed on me one year ago.

2.

Only real democracy can move our nation forward towards progress, and earn her the respect she deserves from the international community.

3.

No one can give you power. It is yours. Take it! From this day, show to the world that anyone who takes the people of Nigeria for fools is deceiving himself and will have the people to answer to.

4.

Our youths, in particular, can see no hope on the horizon, and many can only dream of escaping from our shores to join the brain drain. Is this the Nigeria we want? We are plagued also by periodic balance of payments crises, which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs, that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries.

5.

A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance. Our factories are crying for machinery, spare parts and raw materials. But each day that passes, instead of these economic diseases being cured, they are rather strengthened as an irrational allocation of foreign exchange based on favouritism and corruption becomes the order of the day.

6.

Those with whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like stones, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of their own country, nor to observe Allah’s injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair play in all their dealings with their fellowmen.

7.

I am the custodian of a sacred mandate, freely given, which I cannot surrender unless the people so demand, and it is by virtue of this mandate that I say that the decision of the Federal Military Government to cancel the election of June 12, 1993 is invidious, unpatriotic and capable of causing undue and unnecessary confusion in the country.

8.

People of Nigeria, these are challenging times in the history of our continent, Africa, and we in Nigeria must not allow ourselves to be left behind. Our struggle is the same as that waged by the people of South Africa, which has been successfully concluded, with the inauguration of Mr. Nelson Mandela as the first African President of that country.

9.

Like the South Africans, we want MAJORITY rule today, that is rule only by those chosen by all the people of Nigeria as a whole in free and fair elections.

10.

The only difference between South Africa and Nigeria is that those who imposed minority rule on the majority rule whether it is by black or white remains minority rule, and must be booted out

11.

The antics of every minority that oppresses the majority are always the same. They will try to intimidate you with threats of police action. But do not let us fear arrest

12.

Let us say goodbye forever to minority rule by the military. They talk of treason. But havent they heard of the Rivonia treason trial in South Africa? Did those treason trials halt the march of history? People of Nigeria, our time is now. You are the repository of power in the land.

Democracy Day: Nigeria Celebrates 20 Years Of Uninterrupted Civil Rule

 

Nigeria is marking the first celebration of Democracy Day on June 12 today, and the Federal Government is marking the day with a ceremony at the Eagle Square in the nation’s capital.

The ceremony, which will feature a colorful parade, will be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, leaders of the National Assembly, foreign leaders and diplomats.

 

Today’s Democracy Day has the added significance of marking 20 years after the return to civil rule in Nigeria.

 

For 18 years, starting in the year 2000, Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day on May 29, which was the day the military handed power back to civilians in 1999 after almost 16 years in power.

 

However, in June 2018 after the Federal Government posthumously honoured the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, Presidential election, with the title of GCFR, the process to make June 12 Democracy Day started.

 

That process was concluded on Monday, June 10 when President Buhari signed the Public Holiday (Amendment) Bill into law.

The new law accommodates June 12 as a public holiday in Nigeria, replacing May 29, which will now only be marked as a handover/inauguration of new governments in the country.

See More Photos Below.

Third Republic Legislators At Eagle Square: We Are Victims Of June 12

 

A group of third republic legislators has said that they are the true victims of June 12.

The group of legislators made this claim on Wednesday at the Eagles Square where Democracy Day activities are slated to take place.

They argue that they have not been compensated and have lost about 145 of their members over the years.

READ ALSO: Democracy Day: Nigeria Celebrates 20 Years Of Uninterrupted Civil Rule

Recall that in 1992, both the bicameral legislative elections and the presidential election were annulled by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida.

Babangida went on to postpone the polls, however, the military leader annulled the results again, claiming that there was a high level of irregularity within the electoral process.

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Nigeria’s Democracy?

democracy-day-quiz 

June 12 Is Really A Democracy Day – Senator Mamora

A former lawmaker in the sixth Assembly, Senator Oloruninbe Mamora

 

A former lawmaker who served in the Sixth Assembly, Senator Oloruninbe Mamora, says June 12 is the ideal day for the celebration of democracy in Nigeria.

He stated this on Wednesday during an interview on The Inauguration, which aired live on Channels Television.

“June 12 in terms of democracy is a reflection of a point at a time in history. So it will be separated now, the celebration will still come on June 12 as democracy day.

“Hitherto, this time May 29 has been regarded as Democracy Day from 1999. So there’s a change now to accord the true importance to that day which is June 12.

READ ALSO: Jonathan, Obasanjo Absent At Buharis Inauguration

“It’s not even right to say no celebration (on May 29). It is just a low-key one to separate it from June 12 which is really a day of celebration of democracy, he stated.

When asked if the declaration of June 12 as democracy day part of a political bargain was, Mamora replied saying: ‘It is not an issue of compensation, its an issue of addressing reality’.

Speaking on the rejection of the Electoral Amendment Bill, Mamora explained that the President has his best reasons for doing so.

According to the former lawmaker, the timing for the bill was wrong considering the closeness to the general elections.

“Mr President must have had his own reservations somehow along the line. To the best of my knowledge, the timing of the amendment in the Electoral Act was one of the issues Mr President mentioned.

Mamora argued that having been a signatory to the ECOWAS position on electoral reforms, the President knew that 6 months or less than 6 months should not be the time for introducing amendments into electoral acts of any member state.

Presidential Inauguration: Nigeria Is Safe For World Leaders To Come, Says Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government has assured that the Presidential Inauguration Day and National Democracy Day will be safe for foreign dignitaries and world leaders coming into the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known at a world press conference in Abuja, where he reeled out the program of events for days leading to both programs

“I can assure you Nigeria is safe for all the world leaders to come and attend.

“Swear-in of the President and Vice President is slated for Wednesday, May 29 at the Eagles Square, followed by a state banquet at the state house in the evening of the same day.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Approves Rabiu Yadudu’s Appointment As New FAAN MD

He further explained that the Democracy Day celebration, which will kick-off on June 7, will feature three main events, and end with a parade and Gala night on June 12.

“The events celebrating the June 12 and Democracy Day will kick-off on Friday, June 7 and Tuesday, June 11 will feature three events; the PMB oratorical contest at ICC, an Anti-corruption summit at Transcorp Hilton and the First Lady’s commissioning programme in Yola, Adamawa State.”

He added that; “Wednesday, June 12 will start off with a parade at the eagle square and the democracy programme will wrap up with a dinner and gala night at the statehouse conference centre.

Mr Mohammed also clarified that the Federal Government has declared May 29 and June 12 as public holidays to mark the events.

“On the issue of public holiday, I believe that May 29 still remains a public holiday, of course, June 12, the National Assembly has proclaimed a national holiday.”