The Muslim Congress (TMC), says it is elated and full of hope of a better Nigeria by the Special National Honours Investiture hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari to recognise June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day and to also honour the heroes of our democracy.
The Amir (President) of the faith-based organisation, Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, stated this in a press release made available to The Renaissance on Thursday in Lagos.
“We indeed thank him for resurrecting the spirit of the June 12 struggle and bringing back hope to the people of Nigeria.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his demonstration of monumental courage, vision and respect for the wishes of the Nigerian people by recognising June 12, that has turned out to be the finest moment of our democracy, and according well-deserved honours to the key actors.
“The fact that the government has honoured the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election and also conferred on him the award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), is indeed a welcome feat,” AbdurRaheem stated.
The organisation equally gave kudos to the government for conferring the award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) on Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate during the election and Gani Fawehinmi, one of Nigeria’s foremost human rights activists.
“June 12 symbolises not just another election of leaders through the ballot box but the courage and determination of the people to bury their divides – ethnicity, religion and political affiliation – in the hope of a future of economic, political and social inclusiveness for everyone.
“It was the moment the ordinary Nigerians aspired to greatness, the moment Nigerians decided to unite and hope for a new nation.
“It was the moment of rebirth for a nation mired in disunity, economic and political stagnation. That was the dream that was truncated by the annulment of June 12.
“President Buhari has made the vast majority of Nigerians happy by the tremendous courage he exhibited in righting the injustice that has been done to the Abiola family, pro-democracy activists, students and the ordinary Nigerian people.
“This is evidenced by the overwhelming joy and acceptance that have greeted the development across the length and breadth of the country.
“Just like the 1993 election that united Nigerians towards a common purpose, the appreciation for this gesture is coming from across tribes, religions and political colourations.
“This goes to show that we indeed missed a monumental developmental opportunity when the election was annulled.
“The apology by the President indeed resonated with and touched the hearts of millions of Nigerians.
“It is our moment of glory as a nation and we are right to hope that eventually, all the injustices that have held us back are going to be corrected one after the other.
“Every Nigerian needs to bask in the euphoria of the moment in the hope that the nation will gain the momentum to recreate itself. Let us use the moment to reflect and correct the anomalies in our society.
Let us use the opportunity to stop the killings and insecurity that have gripped the Middle Belt and that continue to recur between the herdsmen and farmers.
The menace of the Boko Haram group needs to be more vigorously assaulted leading to the freedom of Leah Sharibu, the only remaining Dapchi captive, and the remaining Chibok girls that still remain in captivity.
The ugly incidents of cultism, cattle rustling, drug abuse, kidnappings and armed robberies that have bedevilled our youths need to be checkmated at all costs.
As citizens, we have a lot to contribute in building a more prosperous and peaceful society while we continue to make the government live up to its responsibility in catering to the welfare and protection of the citizenry.
We commend the efforts and sacrifice of the Abiola family in reshaping the struggle and values of democracy in Nigeria.
The Abiola family has contributed immensely to the renaissance of the democratic struggle and 25 years after, the struggle remains the reference point for the nation.
But this contribution has come at a very great price to the family with the deaths of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, and one of his loving wives, Kudirat Abiola, who became the face of the struggle after the death of her husband. What about the loss of businesses and properties?
The man, MKO Abiola, who was a great person while alive, has even become greater in death.
We thank the sons and daughters of the Abiola family for their courage and fortitude in bearing the great sacrifice they have made in entrenching the values of democracy and opening a new chapter of development for the nation.
We are indeed grateful to them for giving us an illustrious son like MKO Abiola and we do hope that they are indeed touched by the honour conferred on MKO Abiola and the heartfelt apology by the President.
We are certain that many more people such as the electoral umpire at the time, Professor Humphrey Nwosu, Kudirat Abiola and the unsung ordinary Nigerians who stood up and lost their lives in defence of their votes will be recognised in due course.
The recognition of our heroes of democracy by the President has gone to show that people who work for the development and progress of their nation will eventually be rewarded and their efforts recognised with the passage of time.
Even if you are not recognised by the state, the people who benefit or are touched by your contributions to society will appreciate you and pray for you.
This should propel the indefatigable Nigerian youth to continue to pursue the glory of the fatherland and not engage in acts inimical to the progress of the society especially as the 2019 General Elections approaches.
Even though the reasons for the annulment of the June 12 election may be many, we call for the setting up of a June 12 Truth Commission that will unravel all that transpired at the time so that we can learn our lessons and move forward in the hope that the justice done will heal our wounds and restore the strength and vitality of this nation towards providing the right economic, religious, political and social freedoms for every one of its citizens.
Going forward, TMC said the June 12 Democracy Day must be our precursor to renew our struggle for the actualisation of the true tenets of democracy that must include the rule of law, free and fair elections, sovereignty of the people, majority rule and minority rights.
“The political parties must practice internal democracy and ensure party discipline and party supremacy.
“The issue of parallel congresses and hoarding of nomination forms should no longer be acceptable.
“Under-age voting, hijacking of ballot boxes, use of thugs, violence and miscarriage of justice by the judiciary are issues that must be consigned to the dustbin of history. We also need to reduce the size of government, and indeed the cost of governance, by reducing the two-tier legislature to one, and reducing the number of ministers and government agencies.
“This will free a lot of the needed funds for infrastructural development and social re-engineering of the nation. It is only when these are done that we can truly say that the travails of the past heroes have truly not been in vain and our democracy is one of substance and value.”