10th February, 2012
Human right activists, former Governor of Lagos State, Ndubuisi Kanu and others today paid glowing tributes to the late activist, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, six years after he died.
A number of activists gathered at the Beko Ransome-Kuti’s Garden at Anthony in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria to celebrate his ideals and lay wreath at his statue.
The activists and others present extolled the virtues of Beko and how he withstood the tyranny of the military government.
Speaking at the occasion, Kanu extolled the virtues of Beko and asked Nigerians to stand for the ideals he stood for.
Kanu, who is the current Chairman of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, expressed concern about the state of the nation and called on the government to be alive to its responsibilities to the people.
“As six years roll back after the final bow by the irrepressible Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, the Campaign for Democracy (CD) remembers the immortal being who was one of the moving spirits of the idea of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) in Nigeria,” he said.
According to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, National President, CD, “Until he breathed his last on February 10, 2006, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, the former Chairman of Campaign for Democracy (CD) worked tirelessly to convince Nigeria that convoking a Sovereign National Conference was a necessary panacea for the crisis of nationhood.”.
According to her, “a practical move by him, the late Mr. Alao Aka- Bashorun and other patriots to have a national conference at the National Arts Theatre in Lagos in 1990 was smashed by the Babangida regime which said some issues of nationhood were ‘no go areas’.
“But six years after the death of Beko, the crisis of Nigeria has matured to the point that even Babangida today is an advocate of a National Conference.”
Okei-Odumakin stated that the issue today is no longer whether Nigeria needs a Sovereign National Conference but whether the nation could still get delegates to the conference in the wake of Boko Haram bombings in the North and MEND explosions in the south.
She added that a process that was far cheaper when Beko and others were canvassing it had now become an expensive one.
“Nevertheless, we must rise to the occasion and have a Sovereign National Conference the way Beko, Enahoro and other patriots have laid the template.
“The attempt by agents of the status quo to water the demand down by removing “Sovereign” from the SNC is a waste of time as sovereignty belongs to the people.
“The Sovereignty of the Conference that Beko asked us to do is that the decision of the conference will not be tampered with by the existing government and that is still the way to go,” she said.
Also speaking, Beko’s daughter, Nike Ransome-Kuti called on Nigerians to stand by the ideals which her father stood for, which is, to demand for good governance from the government in power.
She said the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, was inevitable if the nation is to remain a single entity committed to development.
“We will not go anywhere if we don’t have SNC. We need to sit down and talk and find ways to move forward,” she stated.
According to her, the leadership of the nation was bereft of ideas and integrity, saying that “we should look forward to removing them in the nearest future.
“These cabals have been in power for the past 30 years and nothing has been done. The Boko Haram issue is purely a failure of leadership. Our security agents receive salary and do nothing,” she added.
Another of Beko’s daughter, Lande Ransome-Kuti said her father’s legacy was still very much alive, saying that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was a big disappointment, adding that the struggle must continue.
She added that holding the SNC had become very imperative as it is the only way forward, adding “let us separate and go our separate ways.”
Nollywood actor, Ayodele Badmus lamented that Nigerians were still suffering six years after Beko’s demise, saying the ideals he stood for were still much around.
“We need a Sovereign National Conference, it is now or never. The nation is in anarchy and everything has scattered. It is not well with us,” he stated.
Speaking, rights activist, Femi Aborishade said Beko fought for the masses, saying that “we are carrying on with the fight for the people. The fundamental rights of the people must be guaranteed.”