Gbenga Sodeinde, Ado Ekiti
Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Alani Akinrinade, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to make June 12 that had just become democracy day the inauguration for President, Governors and other political office holders in the country.
Akinrinade also dismissed the Fulanisation and islamisation theory raised against Buhari by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it was a misdirected venom, which had been settled by the honour bestowed on the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll, Chief Moshood Abiola.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti on Friday at an event commemorating the June 12 democracy day, Akinrinade applauded Buhari for branding June 12 a democracy day, but insisted that it should also be a day of inauguration to add glamour to it.
At the public discourse entitled: ‘June 12: Lighting the Candle of Democracy’, Akinrinade added that “President Buhari was one of the firs retired generals to stand up for June 12, but they became disappointed at a time because of the inordinate ambitions of our people here in Yoruba, so they became scared not until they were told that not all the Yorubas are treacherous.
“So, what he did was not for MKO Abiola, but for the growth of our democracy”.
On the poser raised by Obasanjo that Buhari was allegedly plotting to Fulanise and Islamise Nigeria, Akinrinade said: “Don’t let us have the intention that President Buhari will Fulanise us.
“I have always believed that criminal is a criminal, whether you are a Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa, when you commit offence, you must be treated as a criminal. It is not good to link every Fulani man to Buhari”.
Akinrinade appealed to Buhari to cooperate with the governors on the issue of insecurity, saying: “we can’t have peace when our people are being kidnapped and money is being taken from them.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in his contribution, said the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll and the honour bestowed on the presumed winner of the election, Abiola, showed the country needed a strong and virile political institutions.
The governor described many of those who fought over the annulment of June 12 as committed patriots, who did the sacrifice in the interest of democracy and not for the late Abiola.
“Some of those saying the June 12 was not worth dying for were poor students of history and not abreast of the war waged by people to restore democracy to the country.
“Over 70 percent of our close to 200 million population did not have first hand information about June 12, so those of us who knew what transpired must acknowledge the struggle.
“One thing is clear, there won’t be May 29 without June 12 and that was why President Buhari decided to honour the late Abiola.
“The honour was not just about the man, but about Nigerians who voted for Chief MKO Abiola.
“Some of us in the radical fold believed Chief Abiola was a military collaborator, who used his money to fund coups. He was a capitalist but a populist on the other hand, because of his strong philanthropic gesture.
“The man represented Nigeria in all its ramifications and he understood all the contradictions, so there are lessons to be learnt, especially with the way President Buhari decided to honour this man, who died for democracy.
“That is why we have to strengthen this democracy; we are not yet where we are supposed to be”.