June 12 Has More To Meet Than Public Holiday – Lawyer

June 10, 2020
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By CHUKS EKE

Barrister Samuel Olisaemeka Chukwukelu, immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Idemili branch and member representing Idemili branch of NBA at the National Executive Council, NEC of NBA, has said that the federal government has not done enough justice to the June 12 saga by just declaring it a public holiday.

He said government should have gone farther to dig into the circumstances surrounding the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election which was adjudged as the best election so far held in the country, in terms of transparency, free and fair and believed to have been won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola, business tycoon turned politician.

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Reacting to the declaration of June 12 a public holiday and a democracy day in Nigeria, by the presidency, Chukwukelu suggested that based on official complaints regarding the annulment of June 12, government should have set up a panel of inquiry which will look into the complaints surrounding the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election and come up with a report.

According to Chukwukelu, “time does not run against the state and if government believes that what transpired during the June 12 debacle was an offence, President Muhammadu Buhari ought to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the circumstances behind the annulment because it is not enough to just say June 12 is a democracy day without digging further into it”.

“Government should have set up an inquiry and if any indictment occurs, government will now prosecute the offenders. We have not learnt anything from June 12 yet. Buhari made a political pronouncement because the actual day of democracy is May 29. Our democracy is still a game of survival of the fittest. It is not yet government of the people by the people for the people”.

“Real democracy is when the opinion of the masses are respected, no matter the level of intelligence of our president at a particular point in time. A situation where impunity thrives does not augur well for the advancement of democracy”.

“As the president, your motive cannot be a yardstick for determination. What matters is the position of the law. Motive is irrelevant. The president has no powers to refuse court orders”.

On the border closure, Chukwukelu noted that he does not see the closure as something that will work, adding, “rather, I see the closure as a worthless exercise because what government should have done is to provide testing kits at the border posts instead of closing the borders”.

Government did not do much in terms of palliatives. Government ought to have made adequate provision commensurate to the lockdown. In the Western countries, people got bank alerts from government to survive. However, in my Nkpor community, we raised money at both community, village and church levels to give palliatives to the vulnerable ones among us”.

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