The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has declared today a public holiday in honour of the winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
Fayose joined the governors of Ogun, Ondo and Oyo States, who had earlier declared today a public holiday in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the day.
In a statement, yesterday, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, Fayose, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he took the decision to join his other colleagues in the South-West in the spirit of the unity of the region.
He said, “Yoruba nation’s interest is beyond personal interest of anyone. For us to forge ahead as a people, we must speak with one voice.
“In the light of this, I declare Monday a public holiday to further strengthen our collective belief, hope and aspirations. This, I have done in the spirit of Yoruba nation and South-West integration.”
It would be recalled that the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola won the election.
The election, which has been adjudged the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, was nullified by a military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd).
Abiola was later incarcerated by the military junta of the late Gen Sani Abacha.
The day is celebrated in recognition and honour of the martyrdom of Abiola, who died in a mysterious circumstance while in incarceration a few days after the death of Abacha.
In line with the custom of the Ogun State Government for the past six years, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, last Friday, declared today, June 12, 2017, as work free.
The announcement was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa.
The statement read, “This year’s celebration will feature the annual ‘Democracy Walk,’ which will be led by the governor, starting from the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta at 7 am.
“The walk is expected to take participants through major roads in the state capital to the Abiola family homestead, at Oke-Ido, Gbagura, Abeokuta North Local Government Area, where special prayers and speeches will be made.
“Later in the day, an inspirational stage play, ‘Oju Kelekun’ (farewell to reproach), directed by Prof. Bakare Ojo Rasaki, will be performed at the June 12 Cultural Centre, between 3:45 pm and 6:00 pm.”
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, also declared Monday, June 12, work free for its civil servants to mark the 1993 presidential election.
The governor announced this in a statement issued, last Friday by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon.
The statement said, “In line with its established policy of observing June 12 of every year as ‘Democracy Day,’ the state government of Osun has declared Monday, June 12, as a public holiday.”
Similarly, the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, asked its workers not to go to work today, June 12, 2017, to honour the widely acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, late Abiola.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ajiboye, last Friday, Akeredolu said the late Abiola’s supreme sacrifice culminated in the hurried departure of the military from the political scene in 1999.
As part of programmes lined up to celebrate the day, the state government has organised a lecture, with the theme: “June 12: A Celebration Of Courage And Resilience.”
Akeredolu urged politicians across the country to always demonstrate their unquenchable love for the country.
Meanwhile, former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Federal Government to immortalise the acclaimed winner of the June 12 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, saying the events of that day cannot just be wished away.
“June 12 and the events that brought it are part of our country’s history and cannot be forgotten, especially because of the unity and comradeship displayed by Nigerians on that Election Day in 1993″, Abubakar said.
In a statement issued by his Media Office, yesterday, in Abuja, the Wazirin Adamawa described “late MKO Abiola, the leading personality of the June 12 struggle as a national ‘Hero and Patriot’ deserving of accolades and honour by Nigerians.
He calls on the Federal Government to pay the necessary tribute to the late Abiola of blessed memory by naming a befitting national institution after him”.
According to him, the events of June 12, 1993, are a watershed in the history of the nation, and therefore, it behoves all Nigerians to work hard to ensure that the nation never again repeats that painful experience.
“Atiku Abubakar recalls that June 12 traumatized Nigerians and made some people to question the unity and oneness of the country and whether true democracy can take root in the country.
“The Waziri commends Nigerians for moving beyond the challenges thrown up by June 12, and putting in place a democratic system of government that has lasted for 18 years.
“He says that it is a testimony to the innate democratic nature of Nigerians that today, democracy is flourishing in the country adding that restructuring of the country as being demanded by some well-meaning Nigerians would further consolidate democracy and give greater impetus to the unity and development of the country.
“Restructuring of the country would lay a solid foundation for prosperity and self-reliant development across the country by introducing healthy competition among the constituent parts of the Federation based on the principle of comparative advantage”, he quoted Atiku as saying.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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