Labour leader, Comrade Issa Aremu has called for a renewed partnership for National Development among all relevant stakeholders for a sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
Comrade Aremu who is a member Nigeria Labour Congress National Executive Committee and Vice President Industrial Global Union, made this suggestion in a paper he delivered as the Guest Lecturer at the Inauguration/June 12 Democracy Day in Ilorin on Friday.
In the paper entitled: “Lessons of June 12 and Popular Democracy (O To Ge Movement)”, Comrade Aremu urged the states and private sectors to heed the call of President Buhari’s June 12 inaugural for a national sense of purpose to lift as many as 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
He said the call should serve as a template for genuine cooperation between the Federal and states governments in critical areas of revival of industries and creation of mass decent jobs.
The labour leader hailed President Buhari for declaring June 12th as Nigeria’s real democracy Day, recalling that the 2014 National Conference set up by President Goodluck had built the national consensus on June 12th as democracy Day as opposed to May 29 fixed arbitrarily by former President Obasanjo.
According to him, the posthumous recognitions for the winner of the 1993 free and fair election as well as naming of Abuja Stadium after him was more than partial atonement adding that in essence Buhari administration has commendably shown that “Time is truly longer than the Rope of Military dictatorship ”.
Comrade Aremu remarked that both the June 12 movement which terminated military rule in the 90s and the O TO GE MOVEMENT (Enough-is-Enough ) which put an end to Saraki political dynasty in Kwara State during the March state election are “two sides of the same national Democratic Coin”.
“26 years after the annulment of June 12 elections and President Buhari justifiably honored the late winner, Kwaran voters trooped out in their thousands to peacefully vote out 16 years of PDP/one person/one family dictatorship in a globally acknowledged free and fair election under the banner of O TO GE MOVEMENT” he observed.
He described Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as “a Governor of destiny” who together with the people made it a reality for the state to join the league of progressive states. According to him, more than other states, Kwara was ruled by more military administrators than civilians in its 52 years of formation.
“In its 52 years of existence, Kwara has produced 20 governors, out which only 7 were democratically elected. Kwara had an unfair share of military administrators. With 16 years of PDP-one party rule, Kwara’s democracy assumed special importance which must be nurtured through civic education for active citizenship right from schools in order to obliterate the ingrained slave mentality”. He commended the vision of Lagos State government under the leadership of Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu for audaciously observing June 12 since 1999 even as it was not popular to do so then.
Comrade Aremu who was also the former Labour Party Gubernatorial candidate during the last Kwara polls hailed uninterrupted 20 years of democracy but added that the real challenge of democracy in Nigeria “is that of sustainability and consolidation”. “Nigeria” he said “must resist the temptation of sliding back to the discredited military dictatorship which also destroyed professionalism of the the armed forces”.
“We salute all Nigerians for keeping faith with democratic process notwithstanding the betrayers of some few anti-democratic forces. All Nigerians must be commended for making Nigeria a Democracy destination in Africa notwithstanding the daunting challenges” he added.
Comrade Aremu remarked that for sustainable democracy all elected officials should never take people for granted as the voters are ultimately the real leaders in a democracy. “The case of Kwara shows that regardless of parties and affiliations, when people say O TO GE (Enough is Enough) nobody can stop their will”. While commending the INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu for “weathering the electoral storms in 2019” he called on stakeholders to partner with INEC with the proposed post election “major national conversation” to examine the management of the country’s electoral system.
While calling for vibrant constructive opposition parties to deepen democracy, comrade Aremu observed however that “Democracy must generate wealth and alleviate poverty, through hard and smart work.”
“For democracy to be sustainable, we need productive Economy and industrialization based on work not frivolous holidays”.
He called for “a new political class, that is truly civil, selfless, patriotic, modest as prescribed by the national ethnics contained in the constitution”.
Comrade Aremu recommended the admonition of the late third IGP of Nigeria, late Alhaji M D Yusuf that “all Nigerians must register total rejection of military rule and resolve to resist any military incursions to politics. Our elected governments must only be removed according to the rules enshrined in the constitution”.