The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has called on the Federal Government to release the official results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was adjudged to have been won by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola.
The pan-Yoruba socio-political group, which made the call Saturday, justified the need to officially release the election result – annulled by the military junta of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida – because the Official Secrets Act “can no longer be binding on the document”.
Our correspondent reports that Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act (Cap 03, Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004) makes it an offence for anyone to transmit, obtain, reproduce or retain any classified matter.
The ARG, in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun, to mark the 23rd anniversary of the June 12 election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history, said President Muhammadu Buhari, as the beneficiary of a ballot revolution that mostly mirrored that of 1993, owed the citizens of Nigeria across the geo-political divides, the duty of declassifying the election result, particularly now that 23 years had elapsed.
Mr. Oshun explained that the Official Secrets Act “can no longer be binding on the document. We believe this will reverse the stigma occasioned by the foolish act of canceling that election, adjudged to be the most peaceful in the history of Nigeria”.
The ARG chairman further explained that the official release of the June 12 presidential election result “will open up the hypocrisy of military rule and help project democracy as a better form of governance. June 12 is no longer a struggle but now an obligation. The people have played their own part.
“It is now the obligation of the beneficiaries of that struggle to set the country on a truly democratic path by deliberately replacing every stamp of military rule on Nigeria’s nationhood, including the imposed governance structure and constitution, through democratic rights and tenets”.
Oshun argued that there “is no alternative way to deepen democracy in Nigeria. Let nobody be deceived. Until the federal government takes conscious steps to restructure Nigeria, the country will continue to wobble from one crisis of nationhood to another.
“To continue to ignore this necessity is a tacit support by elected officials for everything that transpired during the military era and this is why military rule has transited to ‘do or die’ politics and citizens now believed they have a right to take up arms against their country”.
The ARG, therefore, urged Mr. Buhari to see himself as best poised “to help Nigeria make this transition. This can be his best legacy and the starting point, we dare say, is to release the June 12 presidential election result and its winner appropriately recognised and honoured”.