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June 12: Nigeria Still Searching For True Democracy – Afe Babalola

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Senior advocate and founder of Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola, said on Friday that true democracy was still elusive in Nigeria 28 years after the June 12, 1993 election, believed to have been won by Chief Moshood Abiola, was annulled by the military.

Babalola who recalled the day the issue of June 12 was finally put to rest in the court, in view of a one-sheet gazette presented by the government’s lawyer, described it as “the saddest day for the Judiciary in our country” and “the beginning of a journey the end of which nobody knows.”

The elder statesman, who was Abiola’s lawyer in the case, said in a statement titled, ‘June 12, whether Abiola died in vain or not: Time will tell,’ that the ghost of the annulment of the election had continued to haunt Nigeria as he questioned whether the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari had achieved any result or not.

He said, “The man (Abiola) went through an election and to get a judgment, he was sent out of the court with a gazette that the election has been annulled. But I added a prophetic statement then that “this is the beginning of a journey the end of which nobody knows”.

“Today, many years after that prophetic statement, Nigeria is still on the search for true democracy which began on June 12, 1993. Nigeria had been denied true democracy and until we have democracy properly, the journey which began with the annulment of late Abiola’s election of June 12, 1993, will remain uncompleted”.

Babalola, who said that democracy thrived on three pillars – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, regretted that it had not been well with none of the three arms, hence the need “to take steps to prevent the country from total collapse by immediately addressing the critically important issue of National Conference to draft a peoples’ Federal Constitution similar to 1963 Constitution based on Parliamentary System of Government.”
He said, “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 compliance of the workers was that 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.

“The Legislature, which is the second arm of government in democracy, has failed to enact a law to constitute a National Conference to fashion out a true Federal Constitution to replace the 1999 Military/Unitary Constitution foisted on Nigerians when the Military was vacating the reign of governance in 1999. Recently, it has spent billions of Naira merely to invite Nigerians to discuss a mere amendment to the 1999 Constitution which is the root cause of Nigeria’s problems today.

“The Presidency is engulfed in a serious battle with insecurity by way of Boko Haram, bandits, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, armed herdsmen who roam about the farmlands – killing and destroying farm products.

“The Naira has depreciated to an all-time low while many farmers have abandoned their farms due to rampaging cattle rearers and kidnappers. Many schools have had to close down due to the ogre of kidnapping.

“Finally, one may ask whether the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by the Federal Government has so far yielded any result and whether Abiola died in vain or not? Time will tell,” Babalola said.

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France Defeat Germany Thanks To Hummels’ Own-Goal

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France got the better of Germany in the standout fixture from the opening round of Euro 2020 group games, with a 20th-minute Mats Hummels own-goal proving the difference.

Didier Deschamps’ side started on the front foot, with Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe missing early chances.

France’s pressure was then rewarded, after Pogba delightfully found Lucas Hernandez and the Bayern Munich man’s cross was spooned into his own net by Hummels.

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Wike Blasts Buhari, Says President Should Protect Nigerians, Not Borrowing Money

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his constitutional duty of securing the country.

Wike said Buhari was not made the president to borrow foreign loans alone but to ensure the protection of Nigerians.

He spoke at the commissioning of the 21 kilometers Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye Road in Etche Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday.

The governor also cautioned the president against shifting his role of protecting Nigerians to governors.

Wike pointed out that Buhari appointed heads of security agencies in the country, hence he can not ask governors to take charge of security.

He said: “Mr President, you’re the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You appoint Inspector General of Police (IG), you appoint the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Director of Department of State Service (DSS), and other heads of security. Which one do we appoint? How can people appointed by Mr President be under me? (sic).

“It is not only to borrow money for Nigeria that you’re in charge. You must, also, be in charge of other things including security.

“It is not when things are going bad concerning security, and you say you’re not in charge, and it becomes governors’ responsibility.”

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World Bank Counters Buhari, Says 7million Nigerians Fell Into Poverty In 2020

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The World Bank has revealed that soaring inflation has driven an estimated seven million Nigerians into poverty in 2020 alone.

This was contained in its development report update published on its website on Tuesday

According to the report, the rise in inflationary pressure has been driven primarily by surging food prices.

The Washington-based lender report titled “Resilience through Reforms” also stressed rising unemployment and insecurity has pushed Nigerians into criminal enterprises.

“A surge in insecurity over the past two years has further slowed economic activity and left more people unemployed, fueling a vicious cycle of violence and criminality,” the lender said.

“Despite the recovery in the economy from the recession witnessed in 2020, prices are increasing rapidly and this is impacting Nigerian households.” It added.

In the report, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted as stressing that Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.

“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realize its development potential,” he said

Also, Marco Hernandez, the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria added that “Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedited reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery.”

The report, however, acknowledged notable policy reforms by the government aimed at mitigating the impact of the crisis and supporting the recovery; including steps taken towards reducing gasoline subsidies and adjusting electricity tariffs towards more cost-reflective levels, both aimed at expanding the fiscal space for pro-poor spending.

In addition, the report highlights that both the Federal and State governments cut nonessential spending and redirected resources towards the COVID-19 response. At the same time, public-sector transparency has improved, in particular around the operations of the oil and gas sector.

Nigeria had on Sunday published a fact-checking report on claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that the present administration has lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in his democracy speech to Nigerians.

Nigeria used a variety of indicators, including how the economy is developing at a slower rate than the population, expanding population, and currency depreciation, among others.

The president’s assertion was deemed “improbable” since there was no sufficient data to back up his claim that over 10 million Nigerians had been pulled out of poverty in the last two years.

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