By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja
There was rowdy session yesterday at the plenary of the National Conference over a motion to recognize the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 elections, Bashorun MKO Abiola as delegates from North and South were divided on the motion.
While delegates from the North kicked against the motion, South delegates who supported the motion said the motion must entertain by the Conference because June 12 a date that should be forgotten in Nigeria history.
Sponsoring the motion, Hon Orok Otu Duke under matters of urgent public importance citing Order 7 (5) of the Conference Rules, but the delegates from the North, led by Mallam Naseer Kura representing the Civil Society, kicked against the motion and resorted to shouts of no!, no!!, no!!!, a development which triggered a rowdy floor to the consternation of newsmen and others watching proceeding from the gallery.
However, due to quick intervention of the Conference Chairman, Idris Kutigi, the motion would have degenerated into a fisticuffs.
The motion sought that the leave of the House to pay tribute to all those who fell for the cause of Nigeria’s democracy spearheaded by MKO Abiola,
That the Conference should cause the authorities to always remember June 12 as a watershed in the history of Nigeria.
That a monument in tandem with what the conference had proposed for other heroes and heroines should be recommended in honour of MKO Abiola.
But these prayers did not go down well with some of the delegates mainly from North, as a delegate from Jigawa Umaru Mohammed Hadejia among others were infuriated by the prayers, kicking the motion.
Duke who never showed concerned by the move from some delegates from North argued that the country cannot afford to carry on as if June 12 never existed, and further submitted that many Nigerians died on that day.
contributing to the motion, Chief Issa Aremu representing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the parley submitted that the best way the country could recognize June 12 is for the politicians to ensure free and fair elections in the
“What we are seeing today shows we have not learnt from what happened on June 12. Elections are still becoming a do or die affair with a lot of unnecessary and avoidable violence. The real memory of June 12 to be significant for all of us and for us to make it worthwhile is to reaffirm our commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria ,” he said.
However, Umar Mohammed Hadejia described the motion on June 12 introduced on the floor as irrelevant especially when the conference was pressed for time to conclude its assignment on schedule.
“I find it difficult to understands here we are with no time, with a little understanding and with little progress and some people are always and everyday unnecessarily delaying the proceedings of he conference. It is important for people to realize that we are representing Nigerians for something extremely important for this
“And I am beginning to suspect, Mr Chairman, that there are certain people who are coming with ideas to
disrupt this meeting so that we don’t perform. It is important that for the Chair to begin to call people to order so that we can continue, thank you Mr Chairman,” he stressed.
But Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) faulted the argument and submitted that June 12 was a critical national issue deserving of mention on the floor by the delegates of the conference.
When decorum was restored by the conference Chairman, Justice Kutigi, a minute silence was observed by the
delegates in honour of all the departed on account of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.