Renowned legal luminary, Afe Babalola has stated that the country is yet to entrench deep democratic ideals for the benefit of the citizenry.
According to him, it was difficult to say that the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by the Federal Government has so far yielded meaningful results.
Babalola made this call via his June 12 Anniversary Message titled: “June 12, Whether Abiola Died In Vain Or Not: Time Will Tell.”
“Today, many years after that prophetic statement, Nigeria is still on the search for true democracy, which began on June 12, 1993.
“Democracy thrives on three pillars, namely: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. For many months, Nigeria’s judiciary existed only in name. The courts were paralysed by a nationwide strike by JUSUN. For the first time, all the courts in the country were shut down.
“The complaint of the workers was that the judiciary lacks autonomy. This fundamental issue remains unaddressed even with the calling off of the industrial action by JUSUN.
“Up till now, the Legislative and the Executive Arms have not addressed the issue satisfactorily,” he said.
Babalola relived the roles he played and the unfortunate events that trailed the infamous annulment of the 1993 presidential election.
Afe Babalola further narrated his struggles and Abiola’s last moment in an attempt to claim back the stolen mandate.
“In an attempt to validate his victory through the court, his battle suffered irreversible defeat at the Court of Appeal, Kaduna when Phillip Umeadi, SAN, tendered a one-sheet Gazette annulling the election and ousting the jurisdiction of the court.”
Babalola however said, “June 12 was of utmost significance in Nigerian history. It was the day MKO Abiola, a wealthy, popular philanthropist and Nigerians overwhelmingly elected a politician. National and international observers acclaimed the election as the freest and cleanest ever-conducted in Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, Abiola died in incarceration in questionable circumstances at a time he was still busy battling to reclaim his mandate. My colleagues and I left the court unhappy and sad.”