Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has said that the current challenges facing the country, is similar to that of 1993 where the country managed to survive by a whisker.
He said the only reason Nigeria still exists is because of a few leaders in the country who understood the challenge at the time, and worked toward addressing them.
Kayode who made the statement in Ado Ekiti on Friday, at a colloquium held in commemoration of the June 12 1993 Presidential election with the theme “June12: Securing the Freedom of Democracy”, said Nigeria may not survive this time, unless leaders found effective ways to address the issues of agitators in the country.
The governor said there is hardly any doubt that there were calculated plans by some external forces in collaboration with domestic conspirators to dismember Nigeria and cause untold humanitarian crisis, but added that only purposeful leadership can save the country from collapse.
Drawing lessons from the June 12, 1993 elections, he said: “For me the most striking lessons is that unity of purpose, open mindedness are needed for our country to escape the relentless efforts of some elements to subvert our country’s corporate existence.
“The security challenges that confront us today is a direct threat to the future of our country because of the disunity among Nigeria elite on how to confront what is clearly a threat to their survival.
“Toxic mentoring that glorifies criminality, exacerbating hatred and divide our people should be scrupulously avoided. Nigeria was at such as a precipice in 1993 after the exit of Gen Gbadamosi Babangida but it was at this moment that conscientious leaders came together under the National Democratic Coalition and other various organisations to provide a national direction and a pathway to democracy. The political class elite of the time intentionally involved to curtail the rhetoric of internal issues and to avoid distraction of subverting elements.
That is why we must all come together both those who are in government and those outside the government to challenge our leaders to do the right things. Confront the issues that divide us, promote the issues that unite us, ensure fairness, ensure equity, and ensure justice in our polity. Even as we fight to end criminality, let us unite all forms of bigotry in order to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.”
Meanwhile, Senator Femi Okurounmu, who was one of the activists and political leaders to form the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a movement meant to press for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, has said while they did fought for a Nigeria they believe can work for all, it has however, become clear in view of the current realities in the country, that their efforts were in vain.
Okurounmu who stated this in an exclusive interview with The LEADERSHIP, said the reason for denying Abiola victory in 1993, is still the very reason the country is presently in turmoil.
He said the North has always believed that power belongs to them, but said it is time for the Southwest to fight for freedom, adding that “those who will rather live in slavery than fight for their freedom are meant to be slaves,”
He apologized for the inability of their movement to achieving what he described as a ‘Nigeria where everybody will have a sense of belonging.’
He said, “I am sorry to admit that, because foremost among what we agitated for is the Nigeria where everybody will have a sense of belonging, a Nigeria which is not seen in particular as belonging to one ethnic group to rule and others just to follow, because one of the reasons for the annulment of Chief M. K. O. Abiola election was that the Fulani North believed that Abiola did not come from that part of the country, to rule, to be the president. They believed the president must come from the Fulani in the North.
“The issue of restructuring, we fought for it, we have not got it. A Nigeria that will be equitable and just, we have not got it; a Nigeria where everybody will have the right to occupy any office irrespective of his ethnic group or religion, we have not got it. All these things, we have not got. That is why I admit unfortunately that many of the things we fought for, we have not achieved.”
Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who was also part of the struggle (NADECO), also said, “I have never experienced such a dictatorship like the one we had under General Sani Abacha,and all that we fought for or achieved because the demonstration and opposition to the military junta in the June 12 struggle has not yielded the desired results.
“The opposition to the military rule and annulment of June 12, 1993 election had come to nought, and the situation has been getting worse particularly under this present administration.”
Like Okurounmu, Adebanjo also said their struggles for a better Nigeria has been a failure.
“I can’t make reference to any met, but maybe I am blind to see them. You can ask others who might have seen it,you can also ask those in Aso Villa the expectations met. The struggle for June 12 was for a better society. Do we have the better society now?The answer is No,” he said while speaking on whether or not their struggle yielded any results.
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