We have committed June 12, 1993 to memory, never forgetting and never trivializing it!
June 12, 1993 has engaged us in dynamic patterns across generations.
When, hopefully, the next election cycle comes in 2023, it would be 30 years of June 12!
We again salute the martyrs, heroes and heroines of that moment: Chief MKO Abiola, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, and many more who paid with their lives!
Those who stayed to fight, those who ran to fight another day: We salute you all!
But our current situation shows we have a lot to do still as there are troubling questions begging for answers.
* Are we any closer to real democracy today than we were in June 1993?
* Has the system of governance positively changed?
* Are fewer people being killed extra-judicially?
*Is our ethno-religious climate fairer than that of June 12, 1993 when we had a Moslem-Moslem ticket heavily backed by Christians?
*Can we have a Christian-Christain ticket today heavily backed by Moslems?
On June 12, 2020, the 4th statement on our press release was restructuring. We hereby restate that with a greater resolve than before.
As the country drifts, we strongly urge restructuring in order to save the day but, first, lives must be secured.
The current federating units must be quickly empowered to secure their states.
On all fronts, standard has fallen greatly from what obtained in 1993.
Somehow, annulment continues to happen with candidates who ended up at the Number 4 position now becoming Number one.
A nation cannot be failing consistently and still be hoping to prosper.
These failures must be arrested because it is a series of failures like these which culminate in state failure.
In conclusion, we must emphasize that protests are a key feature of democracy and must not be stifled.
Protests are an extension of the right to expression.
We urge calm and professionalism on the part of law enforcement, even as protesters must conduct themselves peacefully.
The duty of the law enforcement agents is to protect peaceful demonstrators, not assault, brutalize or criminalize them.
There can be no democracy without the option of protests.
Government must not forget that it was from the sweat and grit of protests that we crossed from the military era to civil governance.
It did not happen by the people folding their arms.
Government must eschew intolerance in all shapes and forms, including abridging the right to freedom of expression and damaging the economic livelihood of struggling citizens.
Joe Okei-Odumakin is an award-winning human rights activist. Dr Joe is the president of Women Arise for Change Initiative, www.womenarise.ng and www.centreforchange.org.ng.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.