Lagos State Governor, Mr Aklinwunmi Ambode on Friday joined prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians in celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the June 12 1993 election annulment, saying that the State would continue to expand the frontiers of democratic governance and freedom.
The governor, who spoke at a symposium organized by the State Political and Legislative Powers Bureau in collaboration with the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations at the Blue Roof Hall, LTV, Agidingbi, added that the martyrs who laid down their lives for democracy must not be forgotten.
“The Centre of Excellence has always been the hub for democratic ideas and we would continue to expand the frontiers of democratic governance and freedom of our people. The indomitable spirit of Nigerians spoke loud and clear on that day, reverberating across the land”
“June 12 stands as the real Democracy Day which was sanctioned by the blood of martyrs who laid down their lives for this democracy. We shall not forget them; they will always be with us. As we continue to march on and sustain democratic governance, we would enhance and empower the well being of our people”, the Governor said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna.
Governor Ambode also said June 12 symbolizes the patriotic and nationalistic spirit in all Nigerians because on that day Nigerians showed that irrespective of class or political sympathy, they would always join hands to respect national values.
“On June 12, we showed that irrespective of class or political sympathy, we would always join hands to respect our national values. The general elections of 1993, fired up hope in the heart of Nigerians through the candidature of an unrepentant philanthropist and nationalist, Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola”, he said.
The Governor also said that Nigerians have become more enlightened while the younger generation have become conversant with tales and exploits of selfless heroes who laid down their lives to ensure that the growth and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria comes to stay.
“This younger generation has become the driving force and momentum for sustaining our democratic gains through the deployment of new social media to reach out and stand out as defendants of our people’s fundamental rights”, he said.
Ambode said the outcome of the 2015 General elections also proved that the lessons of June 12, 1993 have been fruitful just as he urged Nigerians to take some time and reflect on the democratic journey that the nation has commenced for the benefit of everyone.
“Should we abdicate our responsibilities and allow personal interest and agenda to truncate our journey? We owe it as a duty to immortalize the memories of our fallen compatriots and deepen our democracy to sustain us as a people of destiny”, he said.
Also speaking, a former Commissioner for Information, Mr Dele Alake, who delivered a lecture on the theme, “Sustainability of Democratic Values, The Nigerian Experience”, said June 12 should ordinarily be Nigeria’s Democracy day because there is nothing significant about May 29 except the fact that there was a change of guard in power, but that June 12 signifies totality and principles of true democracy.
He said that until the enthronement of true federalism, Nigeria cannot be said to have full and true democracy.
He appealed to all political office holders to ensure that meetings such as the National Council of States and National Economic Council should focus on the enthronement of true federalism as the lasting solution to peace in Nigeria.
Prominent lawyer and human rights advocate, Mr Femi Falana who was a co-discussant tasked the present administration in Lagos to work towards ensuring that all the heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle are remembered because there are many ordinary people who played prominent roles during the struggle.
He tasked Lagos State to lead the economic rejuvenation of the South West by propelling the economy of the sub-region, adding that Lagos should be a member of the Oodua Group of Companies.
Falana tasked Governor Ambode to continue in the struggle until Lagos is accorded a special status because according to him, presently all shipping activities goes on at the Lagos ports and that the State deserves compensation from the Federal Government.
A University don, Professor Akin Oyebode who chaired the event called on the Federal Government to declare June 12 a national holiday for Democracy day and also name the Abuja National Stadium after late Chief M.K.O Abiola.
Prominent among those who attended the event were the Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule, Chief Funsho Ologunde who represented the National leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Military Governor, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and heroes of the June 12 struggle.