The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on President Mohammadu Buhari to use the June 12 platform to promote national reconciliation amongst the various ethnic groups and people of the country.
MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara, who made the call in a statement expressed concerns that Nigeria was far more divided today than it was in 1993, when the June 12 general poll was annulled.
The statement which was signed by the Publicity Secretary of MOSOP, Sunny Zorvah and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt however lauded the President signing the June 12 bill into Law.
The statement reads, “Whilst MOSOP commends President Mohammadu Buhari for honouring June 12 by signing the June 12 bill into law, thereby legitimising the celebration of June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’ in Nigeria, we urge the President to lead by example, in using the June 12 platform to promote national reconciliation and healing amongst the disparate ethnic groups and individuals across the country.
“No other day or event in our chequered history better suits that purpose than this period of June 12, when you remember that during the June 12 Presidential Elections in 1993, Nigerians of all tongues and tribes, religions and ideologies dropped their various identities and for the first time, spoke in one voice and voted a candidate, devoid of sentiments.
“It was a watershed in the construction of national unity and Nation State building. That was the beauty of June 12 that was the legacy of June 12. Unfortunately, the government of the day destroyed that unprecedented effort to turn Nigeria into a first world nation.
“There is no denying the fact that Nigeria is today far more divided than we were in 1993, when the June 12 Elections were annulled. As we know, June 12 is not just a day, but a struggle. It’s a struggle for the peace, unity, economic prosperity, true political independence and ultimately, justice for all and respect for the rule of law.
“It therefore behoves on the Federal Government and government at all other levels to seize the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day to initiate processes aimed at strengthening national reconciliation and healing amongst the various ethnic groups, “Pyagbara said.
He noted that the Ogoni people, ‘whom the Federal Government wronged grievously with the hanging of the Ogoni nine, also take further steps to ensure that the philosophy and ideals behind the June 12 struggle should also be respected and given ultimate attention in the spirit of national reconciliation and healing.
It is not the declaration and celebration of June 12 that matter, what truly brings out the import of the day, is the realisation and institution of the tenets of that struggle; the enthronement of true democracy and giving hope to Nigerians, by offering good governance and allowing the will of the peoples that make up the Nigerian-State to prevail in all democratic engagements.
Pyagbara stated further, “June 12, no doubt, has become a symbol of democracy because of the various actors and key players that made huge sacrifices for justice, respect of the rule of law, end to dictatorship and hopelessness in Nigeria.”
“We urge the Nigerian government not to engage in mere celebration but to truly honour the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of the Ogoni struggle by instituting a memoriam in honour of Ken Saro-Wiwa and all others,” it said.
Political Space Is Only For Parties Ready To Take Power – Okoye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s), Festus Okoye, national Commissioner on Information and Voter Education has reminded Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) that political space is meant for political parties that are ready to take power, maintaining that political associations can exist, mobilise, build structures before seeking registration, as soon as they get registered they must be ready to take power.
Okoye said this while speaking on a local media station after the High Court adjourned hearing in the case filed by 33 political parties under the auspices of IPAC, challenging their deregistration by INEC.
The national commissioner reminded IPAC that as registered political parties, they should be ready to take power, because the space was not for learning, as the electoral body would be prepared to de-register any political partyand relegate it to an association if it found out that the party failed to meet the threshold of its registration, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
“The political parties contesting did not meet the terms of their registration, neither did they win elections in their various states, nor met the projections. Two of the parties that went to court, Labour Party and African Democratic Party, were not deregistered. They claimed they had court injunctions and I don’t know what they are doing in court.”
“The spirit and intent of the constitution, is that political associations can exist, mobilize people, build up structures. The moment they come for registration means they are ready to take power. If you are not due for political power, you should not apply for registration, because the political space is not for learning or testing the ground”, he said.
Okoye said that 74 political parties had been deregistered and the deregistion had already taken place.
He maintained that because the 33 political parties that went to court were aware that deregistration had taken place, that was why on 14 February they filed an application in court, asking the court to reverse it.
The INEC official stated that the act had already been completed, that was why the court adjourned till 27 February for accelerated hearing.
IPAC Hails Court Order Restraining INEC From De-Registering 31 Parties
The Inter-Party Adversary Council (IPAC) has described the judgment stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering political parties as victory for democracy and future generations.
National chairman of the council, Peter Ameh, who made the comment while addressing newsmen shortly after the ruling, said the late Gani Fawehinmi gave the 33 political parties that went to court the courage.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in her ruling, said, having failed to counter the application by the applicants, the affected political parties had the legal right, which must be protected.
In an interlocutory motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democratis (ACD) and two others vs. Attorney-General of the Federation and another (INEC), the applicants had on October 30, 2019, approached the court.
The IPAC chairman insisted that there was no way the commission would have succeeded in the illegality it perpetrated against the parties and the fundamental rights of Nigerians.
“We have every reason to thank everybody who stood against this illegality, especially Okey Raph Nwosu, who, despite his party scaling the deregistration hurdle, still joined in the suit because he believed in democracy.
“We believe in the spirit of the Constitution as stated in Section 40, which gave Nigerians the right to freely belong to any political association, and the Constitution stipulated that no agency of government can restrict that right.
“We started this case since last year when we saw that there was plan to put Nigeria upside down. It is our right to defend the constitution through section 225 to challenge the commission to stop it from taking this illegal action.
“INEC should know that if the interest of a political party is to talk about free education, the party should be allowed. If the interest is to talk about tree planting in the North-East, it should be allowed to continue with it.
Group Advises Women On Increased Participation In Politics
Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria League of Women Voters, has urged women to be very active in politics to avoid marginalisation.
The state chairperson of the league, Mrs Nnenna Anozie made the call in an interview with our source in Enugu yesterday.
was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that aims at empowering women both politically and economically.
She said that the league encouraged women to participate in election; adding that they discovered that in the last elections, many women did not participate either as voters or contestants in the elections.
Anozie said that the organisation aimed creating more awareness on the girl child and for every woman to be aware of her civil rights in the state and the country at large.
The chairperson said the group recently visited one of the girls schools in Enugu where they shared sanitary pads, carried out sensitisation awareness on dangers of drug abuse, rape and others.
”This is one way of giving back to the society as well as empowering our women because knowledge is power. Most of them are not knowledgeable about their rights and how to keep hygiene.
”Many of them are rape victims and they are not opening up because of stigmatisation.
”We want to embark on the sensitisation drive in all the states in the country; hoping that come 2023 most of our women will be equipped to run for political offices both at the local, state and national levels,” she said.
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