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Democracy: The Day After [Message Of DPA Founder, Emeka Ugwuonye]

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We chose the day after the celebration of the nation’s democracy to convey a message of goodwill and encouragement from our Founder, Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire.

Ironically, our Founder marked the Democracy Day in Kuje prison. His remand in prison was triggered by the false and bogus murder and armed robbery charges filed against him by a sworn enemy, which is the Abuja police command, an abnormality that became accentuated by a grossly backward and problematic judicial system in Nigeria.

Despite his immediate predicament, our Founder views in a positive light the essence of declaring June 12 the democracy, and honouring Chief MKO Abiola and what he stood for.  For him, it was an actualization of the belief he has held onto since the moment he became Counsel for Nigerian Government in the litigated case of Abiola et al.  v.  Abubakar (US Courts).

For those who may not be familiar with the history of those particular events, in 2001 Emeka Ugwuonye became the Defendant’s lawyer in the Abiola v. Abubakar case that was initiated at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was eventually to move to Chicago Federal Courts, and from there all the way through the appellate court system.

Though on the opposite side of the case to Abiola’s lawyers,  Emeka Ugwuonye fought to remove the case from the United States in order for Nigerians to find within the Nigerian society the solution to the several complex issues involved.  His thinking and contention then were that a foreign court was not the right forum to address those issues.  His position prevailed after seven years in litigation.

It was with much satisfaction, therefore, that Ugwuonye noted the democracy day.  The fact that after many years to the end of the case in America, Nigerians found by themselves an acceptable remedy for the gross injustices suffered by Abiola and the trauma and destabilization endured by the country, rekindles hope in the Nigerian project.

While the recognition of June 12 as democracy day is an important watershed in our nation’s delayed development, our Founder, Emeka Ugwuonye, reminds the nation that our democracy will remain weak and tentative unless it is anchored on rule of law and human rights.

We must not forget the gross human rights violations by the Nigerian security forces and law enforcement agencies that are ongoing.  We still have in Nigeria  the worsening crisis of extrajudicial killings by the police.

We must not forget the illegal prisons run by the Nigerian police.  (The police have more people incarcerated on long term basis than those in the custody of the Prison Service). We must not forget the extortion, the racketeering,  the tortures, the assassinations, other crimes against humanity being committed by men in uniform.

Indeed,  our democracy, and even the survival of our nation, cannot be guaranteed unless Nigeria elevates human rights to the priority status it deserves. The current appalling abuse of rights in Nigeria poses existential threats to the nation.

Also, our Founder and the entire DPA cry out against the horrifying state of insecurity in the land,  the spreading violence and organized crimes that increasingly make Nigeria uninhabitable, and the state of hopelessness and despair among the population.

Without these crises being addressed urgently,  the alarming state of injustice will only get worse until it leads to the total collapse of the Nigerian state.

In these trying times, therefore,  the role of organizations like DPA cannot be overemphasized.  Our members must stay focused and the leaders of our movement must maintain presence of mind, while we collectively stand in eternal vigilance in defence of freedom.

Yes,  our emotions may appear stronger than our minds, but we must find new ways to resist the emotion of fear.  We must remain strong and resilient in our quest for justice and human rights as the foundation of democracy.

This message from the DPA Founder was delivered  by DPA Admin.


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