A former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has stated that pro-democracy activists could have taken ownership of the June 12 struggles rather than leaving it for politicians who he stated messed up the country.He maintained that it is part of the reasons why the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) was established to create the platform to present the new president for 2019 elections.
Agbakoba spoke at the Silver Jubilee anniversary of June 12 as democracy day in Nigeria, tagged: “Towards a formidable and cohesive intervention for a new Nigeria,” held at late Chief Abiola’s house in Ikeja.He maintained that the country would have been better of, if they did not leave the struggles to the politicians, saying it was a colossal error.
“By 1999 we were the only people standing, politicians have been crushed, the military have been crushed, former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) tried everything but eventually he failed, but we made the mistakes for which we are eternally regretting, as the only guys standing fighting for politics what stopped us from moving into the political terrain, we discussed that at late Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s house and we came to the conclusion that we will not take it anymore, it was in 2003 that we realised our mistakes, even the South African president flew to Nigeria to persuade us from their own experience to take part in the political process but we didn’t. Big error.
“That is why the NIM wants power, we have seen our mistakes in the past years, and we are taking it back. Not that a member of NIM will be president but we will create an environment to enable a good man to go through the process as the next president. Once we have done that we have achieved our purpose.Presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore who was also part of the June 12 struggle, said the Heroes and Heroines of democracy would always be remembered, adding that it is time for activists to take over politics.He noted that the event demonstrated that Nigerian progressives and activists are awakening to the responsibilities of the people.
“When June 12 was annulled, we accepted that it was our duty and responsibility to fight against the military and lead the struggle for the restoration of democracy but many of us were of the view that politics should be left to the politicians. We believed that our role was to fight tyranny and we made the error of believing that tyranny only wears jackboots and a khaki uniform.He said both the former and present governments are victims of corrupt political process that will not work for the progress of the country.
“Now, 25 years after the annulment of the June 12 elections, and almost 20 years after we successfully chased out the military from the political stage, we have awoken to our historic responsibilities. We have now accepted that there is no redeeming feature within the status quo political class. We now know that whether their names are Obasanjo or Jonathan or Yaradua or Buhari, they are all products of a corrupt political process that is not designed to work for Nigeria”
Sowore maintained that the theme of the program focused on the need to surface a new Nigeria and an electoral intervention is needed to do so saying such intervention must be formidable and cohesive.“I have always had a clear vision for the type of country that Nigerians deserve. And in the almost 30 years since I became an activist and started to fight for the emergence of the Nigeria of my dreams, my belief and conviction that we can birth a new Nigeria has never diminished. It is the clarity of vision that has sustained me since I took part in my first protest against tyranny in 1989.”He said the new Nigeria is one that in which everybody will be able to achieve their goals through dint of hard work and dedication alone.
“The next logical question is how this new Nigeria is to emerge? It has taken us almost 20 years to get to the answer, but now Nigeria’s true progressives have finally recognized that electoral intervention is necessary if a new Nigeria is to emerge.The presidential candidate stressed that it was a colossal error in 1999 when the activists ceded the political space to political ‘jobbers’
“We used to believe that it was our task to fight the violence and brutality of the military and vacate the space once democracy was restored until we learned that 300 people can be killed extra-judicially in one day by a democratic government – something which we never saw even under the most brutal military regimes in Nigeria.”He noted that it was not accidental that the number of progressives aspiring to political leadership has increased as 2019 would see a record number of progressives that will be putting themselves up for office.
Former Chairman, Amuwo Odofin local government council, Adewale Ayodele urged President Mohammadu Buhari to empower Independence National Electoral Commission to announce the result of June 12 and proclaim Abiola as the president that Nigeria never had.“All entitlement must be paid to the family. Though there are some elements of June 12 in this present administration as Nigeria is seen as a nation that is working towards eradicating corruption.”