The Afenifere Renewal Group Saturday demanded that the federal government should officially release the result of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election acclaimed to have been won by late Chief M.K.O Abiola.
The ARG, a pan-Yoruba socio-political and economic organisation, justified the need to officially release the election result because the Official Secrets Act “can no longer be binding on the document.”
It made the demand in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun, to mark the 23rd anniversary of the June 12 election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history, though it was annulled by former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
In a one-page statement, Oshun said President Muhammadu Buhari, as the beneficiary of a ballot revolution that mostly mirrored that of 1993, owed the citizens of Nigeria across the geo-political divides the duty of declassifying the election result, particularly now that 23 years had elapsed.
The group’s national chairman explained that the Official Secrets Act “can no longer be binding on the document. We believe this will reverse the stigma occasioned by the foolish act of canceling that election, adjudged to be the most peaceful in the history of Nigeria.”
He added that the official release of the June 12 election result “will open up the hypocrisy of military rule and help project democracy as a better form of governance. June 12 is no longer a struggle but now an obligation. The people have played their own part.
“It is now the obligation of the beneficiaries of that struggle to set the country on a truly democratic path by deliberately replacing every stamp of military rule on Nigeria’s nationhood, including the imposed governance structure and constitution, through democratic rights and tenets.”
Oshun argued that there “is no alternative way to deepen democracy in Nigeria. Let nobody be deceived. Until the federal government takes conscious steps to restructure Nigeria, the country will continue to wobble from one crisis of nationhood to another.
“To continue to ignore this necessity is a tacit support by elected officials for everything that transpired during the military era and this is why military rule has transited to ‘do or die’ politics and citizens now believed they have a right to take up arms against their country.”
He thus called President Buhari to see himself as best poised “to help Nigeria make this transition. This can be his best legacy and the starting point, we dare say, is to release the June 12 presidential election result and its winner appropriately recognised and honoured.”
In a phone conversation on Friday, Oshun lamented that it was tragic that no government “has given Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12 election due recognition. It is a common knowledge that he won the election. The records are still there as proofs of Abiola’s electoral victory.
“It is injustice, and the injustice will continue as long as Abiola’s posthumous victory is not recognised. Buhari has opportunity to recognise Abiola’s electoral victory because sufficient time has already passed. The healing process of Nigeria will not have taken this long time if this injustice has been addressed. “This therefore calls for the need to look at the political structure of Nigeria. We need to restructure Nigeria in a way that devolves more powers and responsibilities to the sub-national governments,” he said.