June 12 has changed Nigeria’s political history, says Jonathan

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goodluck_jonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday described June 12 as “a unique day that has changed the political history’’ of the country.

The President made the remarks at the inauguration of the Board of the Police Service Commission held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“Today is also a unique day, June 12, a date that has changed the political history of this country in one way or the other.

“In some parts of the country, some state governments have declared public holiday to mark today, but at the centre, it has not been formally recognised as a public holiday.

“We appreciate what happened on this day that you are being inaugurated, I think it is a unique date,’’ he said.

The resident made the short remarks before he gave his charge to the board chaired by former Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro.

Also, Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, said in Lagos that the country would not experience any change unless leaders at all levels were held accountable for their actions.

Maku made the declaration at an event commemorating the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, tagged: “Democracy Audit”, organised by the Save Nigeria Group (SNG).

Maku, who was at the event to give the Federal Government’s position on issues in the country, said that development should come from below and not from the top as people expected.

The minister lamented what he called degeneration in the nation’s value system and called for a change of orientation.

“People blame the Federal Government for everything, which should not be so. Those responsible– starting from the councils to the states, must be held responsible for their actions directly by the people.

“The top makes policies, but development must come from below,” he said.

Maku said that attitudinal change by Nigerians would complement government’s efforts at developing the country.

According to the minister, contrary to certain views, there are indices to show that Nigeria is moving forward and growth is taking place.

He added: “Many things are happening. Even with the security challenge facing Nigeria, there are more investors in Nigeria than in any other West African country.

“The present administration inherited so much crises and problems. Yet, in just two years, there is evidence of systematic attempt to tackle them.

“Government is working toward addressing issues on infrastructure, including power, education and others.

“We are coming from a country that was held to `infrastructural ransom’ for decades.”

On the country’s democratic journey since the annulment of the June 12 polls, Maku said the challenge facing the leadership was to make the country better.

“All nations, including Britain, U.S. came into being through similar challenges that we are facing as a nation.

“June 12 embodies the aspirations of our country to move forward.”

Earlier in his opening remarks, Convener of SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said Nigeria had yet to achieve what Abiola stood for and promised Nigerians.

According to him, Nigeria is an example of an economic development without growth.

“MKO promised that five years after, no Nigerian child will go to bed hungry. Twenty years after, so many Nigerian children are not only going to bed hungry, but are dying of hunger,” Bakare said.

Bakare, who was the 2011 Vice Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said the way forward was for Nigeria to build institutions, stop corruption, decentralise governance and erect democratic structures to make the lives of the people better.

In her contributions, The President of Campaign for Democracy, Dr Okei Odumakin, called for a post-humous declaration of Abiola as the country’s president.

“Let Abiola’s portrait be among past presidents of Nigeria in recognition of June 12,” she said, and urged the government to de-annul the June 12 elections.

“It is our duty to keep the memory of June 12 alive,” she said.

Former Abia Governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, said Nigeria was “growing very slowly.”

“We started with Malaysia, Brazil, Lebanon, yet these nations have gone very far,” he said.

Kola Abiola, son of the late politician, called for a collective effort in moving the nation forward, adding that Nigerians must go beyond ethnicity to look at what was best for the nation.

“We went to the June 12 polls as united Nigerians, and that spirit must not die.”

Among dignitaries on the occasion were NADECO chieftain and 2007 governorship aspirant in Lagos, Mr Jimi Agbaje; Niger Delta activist, Ms Ankio Briggs; Afenifere spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin; Lagos State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tunji Shelle; and a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Dino Melaye.

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