Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, and the President of the Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, this morning disgraced former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, when they questioned his presence at the One Man One Vote rally organized by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.
The one man, one vote rally was also boycotted by the national leaders of the Action Congress and prominent guests, including Professor Wole Soyinka, who flew into the country specifically to attend the event.
Reports from Benin, the Edo State capital, indicate that guests that included the national chairman of Action Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, the national secretary, Usman Bugaje, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Ekiti governorship candidate, Kayode Fayemi, Osun’s candidate Rauf Aregbesola, and senatorial aspirant in Ekiti, Babafemi Ojudu, were furious this morning that the event was a smokescreen for a public relations stunt for the annuller of the June 12 1993 election, Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida is campaigning to be elected President next year and there were suspicions this morning, that Governor Oshiomhole had called the rally to publicly endorse Babangida’s ambition.
Keyamo, who has never hidden his hatred for IBB over his activities as President of the country for eight years, asked all those present at the rally to protest the presence of IBB who he called the antithesis of the present democracy.
While admonishing the people, he said, “With your one man one vote, 12 June, 1993 would not repeat itself again.
“I see no reason why the antithesis of the present democracy would be present in this kind of rally.
“Nigerians should protest the presence of IBB in this place.”
Dr. Okei-Odumakin, who quoted the late Gani Fawehinmi as saying the country was like a volcano waiting to rise as a result of electoral irregularities, added that Nigerians needed explanation and apology from IBB’s for annulling the freest and fairest election in the country’s history.
She also asked for apologies for the death of several people including the late Dele Giwa of Newswatch, who was killed with a parcel bomb during IBB’s tenure.
Babangida and another acolyte of his, Senate President David Mark had arrived Benin for the rally as at the time the AC leaders and Professor Soyinka stormed back to the airport to return to Lagos. When P.M.News spoke with Abdul Oroh, the commissioner for Culture and Tourism, he denied that the rally was meant to endorse Babangida’s campaign.’’It’s about one man, one vote, not about IBB,’’he said.
The rally at the Ogbe Stadium was ongoing at the time of filing this report.
There have been speculations in some newspapers that the Oshiomhole government was planning to back IBB’s political campaign and that the decision has triggered some schisms in the cabinet.
This morning, sources told P.M.News that Babangida has promised to make Governor Oshiomhole his running mate for the 2011 poll.