Clement Adeyi, Osogbo and Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Several human rights activists in Osun State under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Groups, yesterday, thronged the streets of Osogbo, to mark the June 12 celebration which has been declared Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The activists numbering over 5,000 commended President Buhari for honouring the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe by declaring June 12 as Democracy Day.
The human right activists said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should declare the results of the 1993 election.
Coordinator of Justice Now Foundation, Waheed Lawal, also lauded Buhari for declaring June 12 a national holiday.
Lawal said all human rights groups had resolved to plead with Buhari to declare Abiola and Kingibe as former president and vice president respectively.
He said the Buhari administration should also approve the entitlements due them as former president and vice president.
CDRP Chairman, Amitolu Shittu, said the only way Abiola’s name could be immortalised was for the Federal Government to declare him former president.
Shittu said there was no doubt that the late Abiola laid down his life for the emancipation and libration of people of the country, adding that he would remain the hero and icon of true democracy.
Director of OlaOni Centre, Wale Adebisi, and Senge Rahman of Osun Development Agenda said June 12 was the genuine democracy Nigerians are enjoying
“We remain grateful to the people and implore Nigerians not to give up on the agitation and struggle for a better Nigeria,” they said.
Convener of Dialogue 365 Platform, Waheed Saka, observed that poverty is the next phase of concern that Nigerian activists must beam their searchlight on for the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 as Democracy Day not to be in vain.
He called on genuine activists and freedom seekers to fight for the abolition of poverty, which he said is the next phase of struggle to immortalise the winner of the freest election in the history of Nigeria, Abiola.
Describing poverty as an endemic which has eaten deep into the fabrics of all Nigerians, the rights activist said Abiola stood for abolition of poverty while alive, hence the need to wage war against poverty for the recognition given to him (Abiola) to be meaningful.
Saka, who spoke at a rally, said the first phase for the recognition of June 12 mandate has been won and commended those who consistently agitated for the revalidation of the mandate.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for supporting the yearning and aspiration of Nigerians by finding a means to end the agitation for recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day, saying: “Today will go down as a day of victory for the people.”