On this day, the Head of State, General Sani Abacha, urged traditional rulers to prepare for a role in the proposed constitutional conference. He believed a cultural perspective would be proffered by the rulers to ensure a resolution of the National Question.
Abacha spoke to a 14-man delegation of rulers from Benue State, just as Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya hosted their colleagues from Ogun State, at Dodan Barracks, Lagos.
Despite government’s resolve not to probe former public office holders, Diya told them that any proven case of stealing or looting and misappropriation of public funds will be sanctioned.
As he put it, the Abacha Administration decided not to probe past administrations because its tenure would be brief. But that does not mean it was not committed to probity and accountability. Due to the enormous task before the administration, it was futile to initiate probes which would divert its interest from other matters.
Nevertheless, Diya said all proven acts of stealing, looting and misappropriation of government property and funds will not go unpunished.
Gen. Sani Abacha
The delegation led by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oyebade Lipede, was at Dodan Barracks to express solidarity with the present administration. They were told that the soldiers decided to take over the government because a delay would have brought untold hardship on Nigerians. With the support and encouragement of the nation’s royal fathers and their subjects, Diya said, government’s intention of laying foundation for enduring democracy, checking the deteriorating economic fortunes of the country and improving the quality of life of Nigerians would be realised.
He thanked them for their support and encouragement, believing that it would spur the government to action.
Having tried the parliamentary and presidential systems of government and seen their drawbacks, the time has come for Nigerians to fashion out a home grown political system.
He underlined that every Nigerian has a right to contribute in determining how the country is governed. There is thus, no question of majority or minority in shaping the nation’s destiny. “A Nigerian is a Nigerian,” he said.