On June 13, 2013 · In News
BY LAJA THOMAS
A rights group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Wednesday described the June 12, 1993, election won by Late Chief MKO Abiola as a welcome aberration.
Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, averred that though the June 12 election remained the only free and fair election ever conducted in the country, it was a proceed of corrupt practices.
“Though June 12 remains the only free and fair election ever conducted in this country, but the processes that preceded it marred the credibility of the election.
“Apart from the fact that it was not based on genuine constitutional practice, it was the military that foisted the rule that led to June 12.
“About 23 political parties were proscribed, several politicians who showed interest in contesting elections were banned in favour of what the then military government of General Ibrahim Babangida called the new breed, despite the fact that the new breed politicians were not allowed to freely contest.
“The military chose those they allowed to contest elections. Even the political parties Chief MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa contested on their platform, Social Democratic Party, SDP, and National Republican Convention, NRP, were created by the military government.
“From the standard practice, it is our belief that it is party that should create government, not government creating party.
“This means that those political parties upon which Chief MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa contested were not a true choice of the people because parties are supposed to be established by people of like minds, not that somebody will impose his own party on the people”.
“More so, the practice of a little to the right and to the left is fraudulent in form, function and orientation, so all those processes have been corrupted by the system that wanted to remain in power because the thinking of the military then was that election would become inconclusive, he would then have the opportunity of continuing in government, hence the annulment of June 23 election despite the fact that a preponderant of Nigerians voted for Chief MKO Abiola,” Adeniran said.
He maintained that the voter apathy that greeted the election also marred the credibility of June 12 election but called on the government to honour the memory of Abiola as a former President.
He said: “Although about 60 million Nigerians were eligible to vote, but only 14 million voted, that is another situation that made it to sound as if the minority was choosing for the majority and that means that the election was marred with voter apathy based on the pervasive disenchantment the way the military was governing the people then.
“But all the same, we believe those who have summoned enough courage to contest elections and those who have chosen to vote deserve to reap the benefit of their labour and enjoy the proceeds of their choice activities i.e contest elections and voting.
“Besides, now that the Chairman of the Electoral body then Chief Humphrey Nwosu has summoned enough courage to announce that Abiola actually won the election, CACOL posits that it is apposite for the government of the day to simply refer to Abiola as a former president even when he never ruled.
“He should be declared a former President and all the rights and privileges that accrue to former president should be accorded to his memory and the beneficiaries of his estate.
“To this end, we said that the National Stadium in Abuja should be named after him and if any new Naira note is produced, he should be honoured by engraving his photograph on it.”