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.