June 12: Nigeria must return to true federalism – Ayo Opadokun


Elder statesman and former National Secretary-General of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun, and the Convener of June 12 Democracy Movement, Mr. Wale Okunniyi, yesterday called for the country’s return to democratic system of government, saying it will enable ethnic nationality in Nigeria to utilise their resources to serve their people for progress and development.

The duo, who were guests on The Morning Show of ARISE News Channel, said anything short of that would amount to chasing shadows.

In his submission, Opadokun expressed concern that the hopes and aspirations of the June 12, 1993 election was frustrated by the military, their surrogates and loyalists who have taken charge of the political and economic space of Nigeria, adding that though the country operates a civilian or democratic system of government, it does not seem to be running as one.

He said: “This is a deliberate slap on the face of those of us whom God used to fight for the campaign to call the military back to the barracks. There are so many regionalism going on in the country today. Most of the current actors were hand in glove with the military, and are still pursuing the military agenda. That is why people like me are pained as to the consequence of Nigeria remaining an underdeveloped country 61 years after independence. That a country with its human and natural endowments that have exported crude oil for at least 20 years at an average price of $100, and two million barrels of oil, cannot boast of any commensurate social services, including education, medical care, food and housing.”

Opadokun said: “The agenda of the crop of politicians that we have now, are not genuine, they are only dancing around the grave of Chief MKO Abiola, the martyr of democracy.

“Nigeria, till date, is not on the right course. All the characters and elements are busy going to accept the evil design the military imposed on us since February 1966 and they keep on behaving as if it was commanded by God. The federal constitutional governance upon which Nigeria secured its independence has been substituted with military decrees particularly decrees 1 to 9, ‘which states that you militarise governance in Nigeria’.”

The NADECO chieftain argued that this is one of the challenges confronting the country, adding that if the country is not restored to true federalism, the political funfair Nigeria is witnessing will amount to chasing shadows.

“From all indication, the government of the day is of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich,”Opadokun said, adding that Nigeria’s problem is systemic.

In his submission, Okunniyi expressed concern that Nigerians fought for democracy on June 12, but the military circumvented it while foisting on the people what is manipulated and undemocratic.

According to him, “What we have today is a civil rule and in the last 29 years, instead of us moving forward, we are receding. We now have money politics or plutocracy,” adding that Nigeria’s unity which the movement fought for is absent.

He added: “It is really sad, more so, Nigeria’s unity that we fought for is really not there. We are terribly divided that nobody believes in Nigeria anymore. We have not facilitated a united country. We are yet to have that through constitution of the Nigerian people because what was foisted on us in 1998 was a military decree number 24 which was regarded as a constitution.”

He said he believes that such cannot drive democracy, adding that the country can only have democracy if there is a truly democratic people’s constitution.

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