The leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is deeply pleased with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to officially announce ”June 12” as the new date to replace the traditional ”May 29” which Democracy Day will be celebrated in Nigeria after sustainable victory over long reign of dictatorship.
We also commend the President for conferring a posthumous GCFR title on the winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (of blessed memory), and GCON titles on his running mate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe as well as the late legal icon and human rights activist Chief Gani Fawehinmi posthumously for his role in the actualisation of the June 12 polls.
We are however stunned that such high profile national recognition and honour was offered on Wednesday June 6, 2018 by the Presidency and no credit whatsoever was given to NUPENG and its sister Union, PENGASSAN despite the painstaking roles played by our leaders. Without contradiction, the democracy Nigeria enjoys today did not come on a silver platter, the leadership of these Unions as well as our members fought for it, in some instances with our blood, tears, freedom, career and regrettably some paid the supreme price.
As responsible oil Unions with long road to freedom and indelible footprints we have left behind in the chequered history of the Nigeria, without sounding immodest, we believe names like Comrade (Chief) Frank OvieKokori (NUPENG former General Secretary), (late) Comrade Wariebi Kojo Agamene (former President of NUPENG), former General Secretary of PENGASSAN Comrade (Chief) Milton Gilchrist Dabibi and others should have featured prominently on that list.
These fearless and irrepressible Nigerians gave their all to earn the country democratic liberty. For pecuniary gains and other reasons, some other Nigerians pitched their tent with the tyrannical military regimes, but our leaders were resolute and blatantly refused to compromise or to receive any form of gratification, despite intimidation, victimization, harassment and incarceration by the military despot.
We therefore use this veritable medium to appeal to our listening National leader, President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his think-tank to look inwards and make necessary amends by reviewing this list so as to accommodate the names of these veterans mentioned above. Democracy cannot be described to have been entrenched when these individuals and the institutions they represent(ed) are not accordingly accentuated in the scheme of things. May God bless Nigeria and strengthen our democracy.