Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Human rights activist and convener of Dialogue 365 Platform, Mr Waheed Saka, has observed that poverty is the next phase of concern that Nigerian activist must beam their searchlight on for the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 as Democracy Day not to be in vain.
He said “it is now time for genuine activists and freedom seekers in Nigeria to re-strategise the next phase of the struggle for the immortalisation of the winner of the freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria, Chief Moshood Abiola by fighting for the abolition of poverty.”
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.
Speaking at a rally to mark this year’s Democracy Day, Mr Saka stressed that the June 12, 1993, election paved way for the current democracy being enjoyed in Nigeria.
He said that the first phase for recognition of June 12 mandate had been won and thereby commended those who consistently agitated for the revalidation of June 12 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, which he described as the most protracted agitation in Nigerian political history.
He said “today will go down as a day of victory for the people; be proud of your resilience, be proud of your patriotism and be proud for standing up for democracy. The first phase of our struggle has been won. However, the next phase is the hardest and required extra resilience, extra patriotism and the need to stand up for our people to live decently and finally immortalise MKO by genuinely pursuing what Abiola died for; farewell to Poverty.”
The right activist further challenged all Nigerian activists and active citizens to see the new struggle against poverty as the struggle to free the nation from insecurity, insurgency and kidnapping.
Saka said “there is a direct link between poverty and crime, we must therefore help the greater number of our people out of poverty to curtail crime. Buhari-Osinbajo government must fight against poverty for the memory of MKO Abiola and the sustainability of our democracy.
“Just like our consistent agitation that gave birth to June 12 as democracy day and the recognition of the symbol of that struggle as the winner of that historic election, I have no doubt that we can end poverty in our land. Therefore, our new battle cry must now be ‘on farewell to poverty we stand,’” he submitted.