Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and former Military Administrator of Lagos State Rear Admiral Ndubusi Kanu (Retd), who is also chairman, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) on Monday stressed the need for Nigerians to uphold democratic values.
Ambode and Kanu both spoke at a symposium put together by the Lagos State Office of Engagement the State Government in commemoration of the 24th Anniversary of junction with June 12 election won by the late business mogul, Chief M.K.O Abiola, but was annulled by the military junta led by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
This was just as Kanu, who was chairman of the occasion which took place at Blue Roof, LTV 8 premises, Ikeja and attended by the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa; son of the late Abiola, Abdulmumin, among others, drew attention to what he termed the thick cloud currently hanging in the horizon in the country especially concerning the agitations from all parts of the country, declaring that the situation could still be salvaged through restructuring.
Governor Ambode, who acknowledged that the memory of June 12 and the events that followed would remain evergreen in Nigeria’s political history, being a process through which Abiola and others laid down their lives in a bid to actualise the popular will of the people expressed through the ballot box, said the commemoration of the day further reinvigorated the need for Nigerians to remain committed and steadfast in upholding democratic principles.
The governor, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Mrs Idiat Oluranti Adebule, said such process includes putting in place voter’s registration, voting for the choice candidate at the polls and avoiding anything that could disrupt peaceful conduct of free fair and credible election.
Governor Ambode stated that He said the seed of the 4th Republic currently being enjoyed in the country was sown and watered by the blood of men and women who were cut down in their prime, adding that their memories would be honoured until the end of time.
While acknowledging the fact that the June 12 struggle was waged not only by Abiola and members of his family but also pro-democracy groups particularly the NADECO, students, trade unions and indeed all Nigerians, Governor Ambode said it was a thing of joy that by the collective efforts of government and people, Lagos State, over the years, had kept alive the
yearnings and aspirations of the people expressed on June 12, 1993.
“It is an open fact that the successive democratically elected governments in the state since 1999 have been totally committed to democratic principles, rule of law, strengthening of democratic institutions as well as implementation of programmes and policies that would enhance the well- being of all Lagosians, without bias for tribe, religion, political belief or gender.
“To strengthen the hope of the masses in the principles of democracy, our administration embraced ‘all-inclusive policy’ which was geared towards involving all segments of the populace in the governance process; avenues and institutions were created to enable all have a voice in the affairs of the state,” the governor said.
He said his administration also embraced Town Hall meeting approach to create avenue for numerous stakeholders and the people to air their opinions and suggest a way forward for the state, while wealth creation and job creation strategies were also adopted with focus on entrepreneurial activities to expose youths and the people to numerous skills to make them either employable or self-employed.
“We must also remain united and hopeful for a more prosperous future for our nation. This way, we will be keeping the spirit of June 12 alive and strong,” Governor Ambode said.
Chairman of the occasion, Rear Admiral Kanu (Retd), who drew attention to various agitations from all parts of the country, which he said had caused thick cloud hanging in the horizon on the state of the nation, however, expressed the belief that the situation could still be salvaged through restructuring.
According to him, the restructuring will not be about re-inventing the will but returning to a federation of different peoples.
“I will like you to examine the state of the nation- from East to the West, from the North to South and draw the conclusion(s). However, even though a thick cloud is in the horizon, I believe that the situation can still be salvaged; and that can only happen if we restructure. Restructure is no reinventing the wheel, it is a return to a federation of different peoples.
“The bottom line, in conclusion, is that we either peacefully go back to a Federal Nigeria, a Federation of different peoples, who want to live and move together as one country, or we must be prepared willy-nilly, thereof, for an unfortunate and avoidable non-peaceful resolution, to virtually the same effect: a federal Nigeria, (resolved into, non- peacefully) or different countries, to the benefit of the different peoples, who will work out accommodating and progressive arrangements with their contiguous neighbours in the present Nigeria geographic space, again to the mutual benefit of all,” he said.
Guest speaker at the symposium, Dr Dele Ashiru from the University of Lagos, who spoke on the theme: “Development Strategy In Lagos: A Blueprint For National Development,” commended the leadership which the Lagos State has produced since 1999 till date.
He said the former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu incubated the developmental agenda of the state, which was advanced by his successor, Babatunde Fashola, while the incumbent Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode was expanding and consolidating the vision of development in a seamless, ingenious and brilliant manner.