June 12, 1993, 33 years after Nigeria gained independence from colonialism was the day the country would have had its first free, fair and democratic election but the powers that be sabotaged the process and cancelled the election which could have brought philanthropist Moshood Abiola into power. He was subsequently imprisoned after he had declared and paraded himself president. He later died in prison.
This happening was a significant one in the lives of Nigerians especially the South West region also known as the Yorubas because Abiola was a kinsman. So, June 12 became an important date to the West and it is celebrated every year to mark the effort and remember the legacy of the man. In honour of Abiola is a Polytechnic in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital named after him, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. The past administration had made move to name the prestigious University of Lagos after him but the students and other stakeholders kicked against it.
In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari decided to further honour the day by announcing it as the new Democracy Day instead of the initial May 29, the earlier recognized democracy day. It pleased the west to know that the president though being a Northerner is identifying with them although, there were speculations that it was in a bit to persuade the West to vote him for second term.
While speaking at the Liberating Nigeria online show on June 12, Debo Onifade lauded the government’s initiatives and emphasized that it will enable the younger generation gain knowledge of what happened on the said day and enlighten them on how the people stood together to fight military rule, thereby encouraging them to further participate in electoral processes through which governance can be taken from the hands of the traditional politicians and given to new breed politicians.
On the speech made by the president to mark this day, Onifade opined that the statement made by the president insinuating that his administration has so far ensured the rule of law and security of lives and property was untrue. He said it is either the president is not aware of happenings in the country or he has just decided to claim ignorance.
He added that the president cannot claim to have provided security when boko haram is still ravaging the country in the North East and we still have records of banditry, kidnapping and all sorts of life threatening crimes. He then suggested that the president should relieve service chiefs of their duties as they are not meeting up to expectation and should negotiate with the boko haram terrorists if that is what it will take to stop their dastardly act.
The present administration has always reiterated fight against corruption as top in its priorities but there are observations that this fight has been a fight against the opposition party as an individual who was once found guilty of corruption becomes innocent as soon as he joins the ruling party. Onifade however, thinks that the government has been doing well in its fight against corruption.
Though he agreed to the fight against corruption being a fight against the opposition party, he said he considers it much more as the country being in a state where the population is categorized into the oppressor and the oppressed. The oppressor being the politicians are not separated by religion, tribe, or any other classification but the oppressed who are the people are easily separated and disjointed by tribe, religion, and the likes. Onifade made this assertion while analyzing the issue of former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu who was found guilty of money laundering running into billions of naira and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Lagos State. He was later discharged and acquitted by a court who asserted that the judge who made the ruling was no longer a judge in that jurisdiction and so Kalu should be set free from prison.
Orji Uzor Kalu on leaving prison arrived at the National Assembly and was seen merring and jubilating with the senators. Onifade reiterated the need for good people to be involved in politics which has always been his focal point for advocacy and led him to establish a political forum www.liberatingnigeria.com, where young persons can air their views, share their opinions and be actively involved in politics and policies.
He also posited that the government and minister of health should meet the needs of the doctors who are threatening to go on a strike instead of begging them not to. Doctos are at the fore front of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and their sevices are needed at this critical time, therefoe, their needs should be met to enable them cary out their services efficiently. Their salaries should be paid on time, PPEs should be made available and most importantly life insurance should be provided for them. He said it is quite sad that doctors and other health workers have to threaten to go on strike before their needs are met.
Meanwhile, Onifade kicked against the plans of the Lagos State Government to open places of worship anytime soon. According to him, number of cases of the virus is on the rise and not declining so, he doesn’t see any reason why religiousous organizations should be opened at this time. He urged everyone to continue to stay safe and avoid large gatherings as much as possible as the county might not be able to handle the situation should it escalate to the extent at which it has become in other counties.