As Nigerians across the globe mark the 25th Anniversary of the gruesome assassination of Mrs Kudirat Abiola, wife of the winner of June 12, 1993, presidential poll, Chief MKO Abiola, groups, including Women Arise (WA) and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) have called for an end to killings, kidnappings and other crimes in the country, saying Nigerians cannot be used as canon fodder in a proxy war with the government.
The two groups made the call in a joint statement titled: “Kudirat Abiola: Fresh as ever … 25 Years After,” and jointly signed by Dr Joe Okei Odumakin for WA and Dr Hafsat Abiola – Costello on behalf of KIND, copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lagos.
The groups, which noted that the sad passing of the Late Kudirat was like yesterday and yet, with the passage of time, the needs and demands that drove Nigeria’s movement for democracy had only grown more urgent, also called on the Federal Government to ensure that law enforcement agencies were well equipped to enable them “to fully discharge their responsibilities of maintaining law and order everywhere without bias; and officers who abuse their powers must be held to account.”
Besides, WA and KIND, in their 6- point demand wanted the safe haven given instigators of violence within Nigeria by foreign governments stopped, even as they enjoined Nigerians in the Diaspora to take up the challenge of engaging the governments of countries around the world to ensure that their policies align with the developmental goals of Nigeria and the need for peace.
Other demands made by them are as follow: “We- the peoples and decision-makers of Nigeria- must keep our eyes on the prize: establishing a system that delivers for all Nigerians.
“Effective governance is the only way. All efforts must be directed towards ensuring that resources get to the people; and are not hoarded by those meant to serve them or stolen by private entities who use loopholes to deprive the country of much needed developmental resources.
“In essence, we demand economic empowerment for the poor masses as the most meaningful dividend of a people’s democracy. Justice must replace injustice. Opportunity must replace desperation.”
Speaking on the martyr of democracy, Kudirat, the pro-democracy groups described her as a fierce fighter for justice, an epitome of commitment, a symbol of spousal love and paragon of African beauty, but quickly noted that she waxes strong in memoriam while the military junta who ordered her death and who they described as tyrants fade into obscurity.
According to WA and KIND, “Kudirat’s spirit lives on, preaching justice, fairness and freedom as she spoke and stood for these ideals while she walked the earth. She went into battle for the sake of love, principles and liberty.
“Today as we fondly remember this heroine, her standard soars against a base projection of power, wanton destruction, killings, kidnappings and nationwide insecurity. Human lives must be valued. Our hearts again go to Leah Sharibu and the thousands of other captives all over the country.”
Meanwhile, both Women Arise (WA) and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) have expressed their commitment to the defence of the rights of Nigerians to a democracy that can take on poverty, as was intended by martyrs like Kudirat Abiola and her husband and winner of June 12 presidential poll, MKO Abiola, and the many activists whose lives were lost in the struggle.
The two groups pledged in their honour, to hold the line both In surges and storms, without yielding, adding: “In their spirit, we shall live to deliver a heritage of good governance, as it was intended by those who handed the baton to us.”
This was just as they prayed the soul of Kudirat to rest on, declaring that her imprint remained indelible on the sands of time.
“Rest on, Kudirat. Your imprint remains indelible on the sands of time,” the groups said.
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