From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
A Legal Icon and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola(SAN) and the Southern Senators Forum, have appealed to Nigerians to defend the current democracy in the country.
They said the country is still grappling and searching for true democracy that begun in 1993, where the late MKO Abiola won the freest and fairest presidential election that was annulled by the military.
Babalola, in a statement on Friday marking the June 12 election, said the operation of the country’s democracy and its success would determine whether Abiola died in vain or not.
Babalola, who was the Counsel to the late Abiola while struggling to reclaim his mandate, said: “June 12 is of utmost significance in Nigerian history. It was the day when MKO Abiola, a wealthy, popular philanthropist and politician was overwhelmingly elected by Nigerians.
“After the annulment, I made a prophetic statement that “this is the beginning of a journey the end of which nobody knows.
Today, many years after that prophetic statement, Nigeria is still on the search for true democracy which began on June 12, 1993.
“To prevent Nigeria from total collapse, it is my humble view that it has now become necessary to immediately address the critically important issue of National Conference to draft a peoples’ Federal Constitution similar to 1963 Constitution based on Parliamentary System of Government.
“Finally, one may ask whether the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by the Federal Government has so far yielded any result and whether Abiola died in vain or not? Time will tell.”
In a statement by its Chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Southern Senators’ Forum, congratulated Nigerians on this year’s Democracy Day, appealing to them not to despair or exhibit despondence about the country’s parlous and debilitating political and economic situations.
The statement said: “The forum congratulates all Nigerians on this heartwarming feat. Since Nigerian Independence in 1960, Nigeria has not practised democracy, ranked as the best form of government, this long.
“The cacophony of confusion caused by widespread insecurity and mutual distrust can only be healed when we are united. Secession agenda, nepotism, ethnic and religious upheavals would only stoke the fire and push us to the verge of destruction, if we fail to moderate our tempers and act wisely at these trying times.”