Femi Falana, Politics, Rauf Aregbesola

Aregbesola, Akeredolu, others describe date as beginning of true democracy

Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola

• Ex-student union leaders back June 12 as democracy day
• Scholars canvass autonomy of anti-graft agencies

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, have said that June 12 is significant in Nigeria’s political history.Aregbesola, who spoke at Osun June 12 Democracy Day celebration in Osogbo tagged “June 12 Silver Jubilee: The essence of peaceful co-existence in the period of transitional democracy,” stated that it is gratifying and commendable that President Buhari-led Federal Government has recognised June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’.He also lauded him for honouring Abiola, his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and foremost human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

Also, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has said that June 12 will ever remain a watershed in the annals of the political experience of Nigeria, saying that the election presented itself as a unifying factor devoid of ethnic, religious or political considerations. Akeredolu, who lauded Buhari for also honouring Fawehinmi with the GCON award, said: “Our government has always believed in the sanctity of June 12 and knows that the importance of that day in the political history of Nigeria cannot be wished away.”

But the first female Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Jumoke Akindele, has denigrated the Federal Government for the post-humous national award conferred on Abiola, saying it was meant to score cheap popularity.In another development, former student union leaders from across Edo State have expressed satisfaction over the decision of the President to honour Abiola and others.

A former student union leader of the University of Benin Taiwo Akerele and a former Students Union Government (SUG), Ambrose Alli University, Benin City, Donald Okogbe, lauded the position of Buhari.Akerele said: “The decision is historical in our political development.

Okogbe, who stated that Buhari’s decision is the best one so far by the administration, said: “It is a historical uppercut properly landed on anti-democratic forces. It is a flawless gambit that has checkmated IBB and OBJ and exposed them as democratic pretender.”

However, scholars have said that until all the anti-graft agencies are insulated from the control of the Executive, the war against corruption will continue to be a mirage.This was the kernel of the seminar organised by the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) yesterday to commemorate June 12.

A professor of Political Science from the Bennington College, Vermont, United States (U.S.), Prof. Rotimi Suberu, in a keynote address, urged the removal of the constitutional discretionary powers of the executive over anti-graft agencies. Also, Executive Vice Chairman of ISGPP, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, stated that corruption in Nigeria’s context is mostly viewed with fiscal lens, noting that there is a need to deepen the view by interrogating the issue of political corruption, especially as it manifests through the manipulation and exploitation of political institutions.

Besides, a renowned geographer and Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, regretted that the country took a wrong turn in 1969 when the government tampered with the resources sharing system in order to prosecute the civil war.