Being text of a press conference addressed by the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations on Saturday June 1st, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Patriots, comrades, Gentlemen of the Press, ladies and gentlemen, we wholeheartedly welcome you all to this press conference put together by the foremost organization at the forefront of the struggle and agitations for the actualization of the June 12, 1993 Presidential mandate treasonably annulled by the Rtd General Ibrahim Babangida military junta on June 23, 1993.
On June 12, 1993, we all recollect how Nigerians across ethnic and religious divide broke the primordial barriers in an election that has been widely acclaimed as the freest, fairest and non-violent election in the annals of Nigeria’s political history, by trooping to the polls to entrust their political destiny into the hands of Muslim/Muslim ticket of late Chief MKO Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as President and Vice President of Nigeria respectively, the rest like they say now, is history!
We congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and the various state Governors who were sworn into office on May 29, 2019 and wish them a successful tenure as they rededicate themselves to addressing the multi-facet problems confronting the Nigerian populace in our quest for a meaningful existence.
The June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations is holding this press conference today Saturday 1st of June 2019, to sensitize the Nigeria populace on series of activities to commemorate the June 12 pan Nigerian mandate which we have been irrevocably committed to commemorating over 25 years now, alone and collaboratively with like minds who share in our vision of a Federal Republic of Nigeria where the rights and liberty of the citizens are guaranteed and respected.
As you are quite aware, June 12 has been officially recognized and declared as Nigeria’s Democracy Day and a Public Holiday in deference to our agitations and advocacy over the last 25 years which was ignored by successive administrations until President Muhammadu Buhari mounted the saddle and did the needful in 2018 and it has now become a law in Nigeria! We, the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations are proud to have been the pacesetter of the peoples struggle for this victory of the Nigeria masses and democracy over crass despotism.
For this declaration and recognition of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, the June 12 Coalition of democratic formations, Nigerians and lovers of democracy all over the world commend President Muhammadu Buhari for writing his name in gold as a listening leader.
However, before we go further, it is appropriate that we pay our respect and honour to some martyrs of the June 12 struggle, those, we started this journey together that are no longer with us as they have transited to higher service in the course of the struggle. We remember with joy the sacrifices of our past heroes who paid the supreme price, starting with the winner of the June 12 mandate, late Chief MKO Abiola, his wife Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Chief Alfred Rewane, Senator Abraham Adesanya, Bagaulda Katho, Comrade Chima Ubani, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome Kuti, Baba Omojola, Alfred Ilenre, Adeyemi Solomon, and over 200 undergraduates mauled down at Ikorodu, just to mention a few.
We salute the tenacity and courage displayed by these heroes even in the face of threats and assault on their lives by the despotic military juntas, without which we won’t be here today to pay honour to their departed souls and reaffirm our commitment to the cause for which they laid down their lives.
Now, the Unfinished Business:
As we get set to commemorate the June 12 anniversary on June 12, 2019, we need to ask ourselves how far have we come in our democratic journey to addressing the real problems confronting our dear country which the June 12 mandate sort to address, such as the critical National Questions?
In seeking the mandate of the Nigeria people on June 12, 1993, late Chief MKO Abiola visionized as his political slogan, Farewell to Poverty. Today, can we beat our chest and claim that in 26 years of our struggle, including 20 years of democratic journey so far, that poverty has been abolished from our land? The answer is a capital NO!
Today, Nigerians from the North to the South, West to East, have become more than ever disillusioned with the state of affairs in our dear country where a vast majority of the citizenry are languishing in abject poverty, while the elite and political class continue to live a life of affluence, opulence and squandermaneer that is not commensurate with the living realities of the toiling masses.
The Nigerian state is bedeviled with a myriad of challenges which can be traced to the political structure of the country which is Federal in theory but unitary in practice and this was one of the cardinal issues that the June 12 Presidential mandate seeks to address.
The mutual distrust by the different ethnic nationalities inhabiting the Nigerian political space is also at the heart of the state of affairs of the country which must be addressed if we are to move forward as a truly united country!
Restructuring of the Country to a Federal State:
It is our considered view that Restructuring of the Nigeria polity is the true answer to the myriad of challenges besieging the country. There exists crimes of all sorts all over the places, through the northeast, northwest, north central, southwest, southeast and south south – insurgency, kidnappings, banditry, farmers/herdsmen clashes, armed robbery, oil-pipelines vandalism, ritual killings, resulting in countless deaths of innocent citizens and destruction of properties worth billions of Naira. Therefore, we at June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations are left with no option than to insist that ONLY the return to Federalism as practiced prior to the incursion of military adventurists into our country’s political life, can set Nigeria back to the path of glory, progress, stability and prosperity! It will also promote individual citizens, tribal and ethnic liberty, freedom, peace and unity in diversity!
It will be very unfortunate, absurd and bizarre that any individual, group of persons or an ethnic nationality, in this 21st century, may be pursuing domination or instigating fear of domination of other individuals. groups or ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, a country of multi tribes and ethnic nations! What will serve common public good is to promote equity and fairness, unity in diversity and provoke healthy competitions among federating units!
This can be achieved by the federal government setting up a Constituent Committee to review and harmonize the various national conferences reports till date, including the PRONACO draft constitutio and issue a white paper for the implementation of the recommendations for a democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We are also calling on the various tiers of government to come up with a roadmap involving the collaboration of the local communities as we seek to address the increasing state of insecurity in the land.
On the increasing level of poverty in the land, June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations, is of the firm conviction that only a functional educational system complemented with requisite vocational training and acquisition of skills can equip our youths with the much needed expertise needed to weather the storm of unemployment in an ever changing world.
As we look forward to the commemoration of the June 12, 2019 anniversary programme of activities in the coming days, may we admonish Nigerians to recognize that citizenship bestows responsibility, discipline and patriotism on the citizens just like the leadership, because like they say, as we make our bed, so will we lay on it.
A word is enough for the wise.
Aluta continua, Victoria Ascerta!
Thank you all for listening, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Linus Okoroji Nelson Ekujumi
Acting Chairman General Secretary