From Blessing Ibunge, Port
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to lead by example, in using the June 12 platform to promote national reconciliation and healing amongst the disparate ethnic groups and individuals across the country.
This as the Ogoni ethnic group has commended the President for honoring June 12 by signing the June 12 bill into law, thereby legitimizing the celebration of June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’ in Nigeria.
MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt through its Publicity Secretary, Sunny Zorvah, noted that there would have been no day suitable to mark the democracy day other than the approved June 12.
Pyagbara stressed that the democracy event should achieve reconciliation and healings of every ethnic groups in the country, which he said include the Ogoni people, whom the Federal Government wronged grievously offended by the hanging of the Ogoni Nine.
He said: “No other day or event in our chequered history better suits that purpose than this period of June 12, when you remember that during the June 12 Presidential Elections in 1993, Nigerians of all tongues and tribes, religions and ideologies shedded their various identities, and for the first time, spoke in one voice and voted a Presidential candidate, devoid of religious and ethnic sentiments.
“It was a watershed in the construction of national unity and Nation State building. That was the beauty of June 12, that was the legacy of June 12. Unfortunately, the government of the day destroyed that unprecedented effort to turn Nigeria into a first world nation.
“There is no denying the fact that Nigeria is today far more divided than we were in 1993, when the June 12 Elections were annulled.
“It, therefore, behooves on the Federal Government and government at all other levels to seize this opportunity of the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day to initiate processes aimed at strengthening national reconciliation and healing amongst the various ethnic groups, particularly, the Ogoni people, whom the Federal Government wronged grievously with the hanging of the Ogoni Nine, and also take further steps to ensure that the philosophy and ideals behind the June 12 struggle are also respected and given ultimate attention.
“It is not the declaration and celebration of June 12 that matters, what truly brings out the import of the day, is the realization and institution of the tenets of that struggle; the enthronement of true democracy and given hope to Nigerians, by offering good governance and allowing the will of the peoples that make up the Nigerian-State to prevail in all democratic engagements.
“June 12, no doubt, has become a symbol of democracy because of the various actors and key players that made huge sacrifices for justice, respect of the rule of law, end to dictatorship and hopelessness in Nigeria.
“We urge the Nigerian government not to engage in mere celebration but to truly honour the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of the Ogoni struggle by instituting a memoriam in honour of Ken Saro-Wiwa and all others.
“As we know, June 12 is not just a day, but a struggle. It’s a struggle for the peace, unity, economic prosperity, true political independent and ultimately, justice for all and respect for the rule of law.
“The Ogoni People have committed their lives, their God given resources and time into this struggle to which we lost, so far, the best generation of our leaders, including Ken Saro-Wiwa and other unsung heroes and heroines.
“No doubt, the democracy the country is unfortunately struggling with today is one of the legacies of the June 12 struggle and we, all well-meaning and patriotic country men and women, must continue to press down the buttons until full democracy is achieved.
“We, therefore, use this occasion to call on the Nigerian government to reward the contributions of the people of Ogoni in leading the struggle and being one of the vocal voices against injustice, oppressive actions and undemocratic rule in Nigeria”, MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara demands.
MOSOP further congratulates all Nigerians and non-Nigerians, who made one form of sacrifice and the other, and supported the struggle for democracy, also those who survived the oppressions of successive governments in Nigeria, not to relent but to remain spirited and keep the flag of justice and fair play flying.