In order to ensure qualitative, honest and dependable people are always elected to be in the corridors of power rather than having rogues and corrupt politicians at the realm of the country’s affairs, Nigerian social and human rights activists have been called upon to join political parties of their choice and participate actively.
Dr. Muiz Banire, the All Progressive Congress, APC National Legal Adviser and other speakers made this call yesterday at a symposium organised by Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) in collaboration with Centre For Human Right Agenda (CEHRA) and
other civil society groups to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of June 12 Democracy Day held at the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC House, Yaba, Lagos.
Banire, who was a guest speaker at the forum, while speaking on the theme “Popular Power and Struggle for Internal Democracy: 2019 in Focus;” said if human rights activists who have always at the forefront of the struggle for the enthronement of democracy in the country refuse to participate actively in politics, they would have no choice but to vote for whosoever political parties present as their candidates.
He noted that while Nigerian democracy is modelled in form of direct participation whereby every Nigerian should have opportunity of the right to vote and be voted for, the internal democracy of political parties is where opportunities are presented to candidates to get platforms to be voted for in a general election.
“I agree with the opinions of many Nigerians that we are yet to experience real democracy in the country. Until we get it right having internal democracy whereby every Nigerian is given the same opportunity to contest for an election, we would continue to have situation where parties present morons, idiots and illiterates as there candidates for us to vote for.
“There are many dangers in not having internal democracy. Most obstacles such as huge money for the purchase of forms, screening and other obstacles should be removed. These are some of the reasons we don’t have credible candidates to be presented for elections.
Dr. Banire who noted that Nigerians should be given the opportunity of having independent candidates standing for elections decried the quality of political parties in the country.
According to him, “What we have today in Nigeria today are not political parties tailored towards ideological orientation but parties that just stand as political platforms.
“That is why today, you find cross carpeting among politicians becoming too rampant.” He submitted.
Also speaking at the event, Comrade Raji Rasheed Oyewunmi, Chairman, Campaign for Democracy urged activists to take their destinies into there hands.
He noted that many people who were not part of the agitation for the enthronement of democracy in the country have suddenly hijacked the June 12 struggle.
“We must wake up and realise that this nation belongs to all of us. Get your PVC and vote for leaders of your choice. Lets us take the leadership positions. We are not lazy people. We must fight.” Said Oyewunmi.
In his opening remark, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, Executive Director, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) said; “Our target is total emancipation of all people from all forms of exploitation and oppression. On June 12, 1993 people voted massively for Abiola because he promised to emancipate the people of Nigeria from oppression.
“Few days ago, when President Mohammadu Buhari was signing the Not Too Young To Run bill, he said with continuous aluta, victory is certain. That means, he recognizes the fact that we should always be consistent in whatever we do.
“Before today, we had always issued statements that we don’t recognise may 29 as democracy day. Our stand has always been that it is a fraud. Today, finally, June 12 has been formally recognised as democracy day. That means while all hopes seemed lost, we have remained consistent.
“Yes, many people are now celebrating today as democracy day, but we as human right organisations are not part of the celebration. We need to analyse where we are and where we are going.
Today, we need to ask ourselves; are we really practising democracy?
Olaitan noted that the real heroes of democracy are those poor unknown and unrecognised people that died for protecting the mandate given to the late M. K. O Abiola who promised them total deliverance from the bondage of exploitation and oppression.
“They are unknown. Many of them died. They are not recognised because they are unknown. The poor traders on the streets who are always ready to be part of the struggles are the real heroes of our democracy.
“Our ultimate target however to ensure this realities and that is the reason for this gathering. where we juxtapose the democracy we have with the realities of people lives.” He said.
Other speakers at the event included Yeye Owolabi Salis, a former Senatorial Aspirant, Lagos East, Comrade Razak Olokooba, General Secretary, Coalition of Odua Self Determination Group, Barr. Titilope Akosa, Deji Adebowale of CEHRA, Elizabeth Animaun and others.
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