Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) has declared that the declaration of June 12 by President Muhammadu Buhari’s does not mark the end of the journey of the country’s advocacy and demand for true democracy in the country.
Babalola, who spoke through a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, called for the inauguration of Presidents and Governors on June 12 instead of May 29.
Babalola recalled saying the pronouncement on Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola’s appeal and the pronouncement on the legality or otherwise of the annulment of the June 12 election by the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Abubakar Bashir Wali of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, was the beginning of a journey, the end of which nobody knows”.
Emphasising that his reaction had become prophetic as President Buhari last year revisited the June 12, 1993 election and posthumously declared Abiola as winner of the election and went further to honour him with GCFR, also posthumously and declared June 12 as Democracy Day.
However, Aare Babalola, who commended the President’s gesture, added: “Even with the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, we are not yet at the end of the journey.
“The pronouncement of President Buhari in 2018 (26 years after) declaring Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as winner of the election, June 12 as Democracy Day and honouring him with GCFR are no doubt good steps in the right direction but the declaration does not ipso facto amount to return of true democracy, which we need in Nigeria for which M.K.O Abiola and others made huge sacrifices.
He added: “I see those actions by President Buhari only as important milestones in our march to attain true democracy”.
To attain true democracy as the hope of the masses, he charged the government to follow up the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day with positive directives to restructure the country.
In addition, he suggested: “1999 Constitution, which was bequeathed to us by the Military, should be replaced with a true federal constitution similar to the 1960 Independence Constitution and the 1963 Republican Constitution”.
According to him, the events in the country today which include insecurity, kidnapping, unemployment, unpaid salaries and allowances, transactional leadership in the Legislative Houses, ineffective local governments and poor infrastructure, point to his notion that “We are at the beginning of a journey, the end of which nobody knows,” has come to pass.
He described the death of the winner of the annulled June 12 election as an opportunity missed by Nigeria to install a ‘transformational leader as the President’.