NADECO returns26 views
There are indications that some members of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a group of pro-democracy activists who fought for the return of Nigeria to democratic rule during the dark days of military dictatorship, have reconstituted the group
The group took to the trenches with its campaign for the sanctity of the June 12, 1993 presidential election purportedly won by multi-billionaire businessman and politician, Chief M.K.O Abiola, but which was annulled by the military junta of Ibrahim Babangida. The group reconvened at the weekend with the aim of fighting another war which it said, this time, was to protect Nigeria’s democracy.
It is believed that remnants of the old activists that fought the military to a standstill are regrouping to fight what they called the emerging dictatorship of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. At a meeting in Lagos were prominent NADECO chieftains like Dr. Amos Akingba, Chiefs Ayo Opadokun and Ayo Adebanjo. They said they were reconvening because “Nigeria is back to dictatorship.”
In a statement released after the meeting, the group said, “it is time once again to rise and defend democracy in our dear country. We are very troubled by recent national developments and are forced to issue this warning to all our compatriots that democracy is once again under threat in our nation!”
They referred to the military operations against the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the south-east and the planned attempt to repeat it in the other two zones in Southern Nigeria as pointers to the fact that the country is back to dictatorship.
According to NADECO, “In Abia State, the soldiers invaded communities, tortured civilian population, over-awed the constitutionally elected governor and civil institutions of the state, and declared the IPOB a terrorist organization, in defiance of the judgment of the Federal High Court.
“All of these actions are unconstitutional and represent an illegal takeover of the functions of the National Assembly, the Abia State House of Assembly and the legal authorities.
“The Army High Command has announced further that the ‘Operation Python Dance’ will be a regular event and that another similar activity named ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ will be carried out in the south-south and south-west.
“The actions of the military, we restate, are inconsistent with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and may be the beginning, if not checked, of the unwitting or witting subversion of democracy in Nigeria.”
The group also called for the return of Nigeria to the 1963 Constitution, which it said essentially captures what true federalism is all about. This call came on the heels of calls by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar for the devolution of power to the country’s federating units for Nigeria to develop. It is not clear as at press time whether the former Vice President has a hand in the reconstitution of the group