October 5, 2022

Tribune Online – Breaking News in Nigeria Today
Rights activist and president, Women Arise (WA), Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, said June 12 was a struggle against election fraud, but lamented that such fraud has since become the country’s political culture, pointing out that election space had been totally militarised and monetised as people, according to her, “speak about hundred million Naira like sachet water and thousands of dollars for delegates in the face of an impoverished populace.”
Besides, the rights activist, who noted that the occasion, as usual, would afford the opportunity to remember heroines and heroes, said that answer to the most strident question of what changed remained both nothing and everything!
Okei-Odumakin said this on Saturday in a statement titled: “June 12: A weight on our collective conscience,” copy of which was made available to newsmen, just as she sadly noted that election cases had also not faired well before the country’s judiciary “when you consider the curious possibility of a candidate ending up in the governor’s office from the fourth position on the ballot?”
“In the scramble for this 2023 ahead, the import of June 12, 1993, manifests but to few eyes.
“No doubt we will remember heroines, heroes, even zeros, but as the years roll by us, we couldn’t possibly miss the most strident question…what changed?
“The answer is both nothing and everything! June 12 was a struggle against election fraud. That fraud has since become our political culture.

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“It has been institutionalised. It has been legalised. Otherwise, why would you apply the resource of the executive and legislative arms of government to establishing vagaries like direct, indirect and consensus options? All of which were in existence but at the mercy of stakeholders’ freewill. How far has election cases come from Justice Ikpeme’s midnight ruling in her candle-lit court? When you consider the curious possibility of a candidate ending up in the governor’s office from the fourth position on the ballot? she said.
“Today, the election space has been totally militarised and monetised as indeed the entire society. People speak about hundred million Naira like sachet water and thousands of dollars for delegates in the face of an impoverished populace,” she added.
Okei- Odumakin declared that the transformation of the winner of June 12, 1993, presidential poll, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, was unforgettable, saying history had also recorded the rest who joined in the struggle for the actualisation of the mandate and their roles.
However, WA president, while noting that June 12 “presents itself to us as a status mark on the global timeline where we have been left behind even by some African countries,” charged that now was the time to draw breath and pursue restructuring of the country.
According to Okei- Odumakin, who lamented the only missing item in June 12 struggle is the finishing as the civil society entrusted the politicians with its success, no single region of the country could make restructuring possible, adding that those who had seen the vision couldn’t afford waiting for those who had not.
“June 12 is asking us questions we must answer quickly. We don’t have much time left. It presents itself to us as a status mark on the global timeline where we have been left behind even by some African countries.
“Yes, the transformation of MKO Abiola is unforgettable. History has also recorded the rest of us and our roles.
“But now, we who draw breath must find one more fight in us. One more fight to redeem our beloved country. That fight is titled restructuring. No region of the country could do it alone, but those who have seen the vision couldn’t afford waiting for those who have not,” the rights activist said.
“June 12 offers our generations a template of struggle. The sacrifice, endurance, courage in the face of fire.
“The only missing item is the finishing. The civil society did not finish the job. We trusted the politicians. We were wrong,” she added.
Speaking further, Okei- Odumakin posited that it was not enough to just remember June 12 as was bring done on yearly basis, saying rather, it must be taught and approval should not be sought to teach kids their past.
“Next year we will remember June 12 again, but we often fail to measure our failures by that epoch.
It is not enough to just remember.
“June 12 must be taught. Approval should not be sought to teach kids their past. Conscientious authorities should find ways around attempts to keep generations of Nigerian youths ignorant.
“Next year we will remember June 12 again, but we often fail to measure our failures by that epoch.
It is not enough to just remember,” WA president said.
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