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June 12: Buhari Has Written His Name In Gold

By Taoheed Abdullahi



President Buhari sign Electoral Bill

President Mohammadu Buhari has written his name in gold in the history of Nigeria for making the dream of June 12 come to reality.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced that the since June 12 has been adopted as the National Democracy Day, all activities lined up for the inauguration of second term of president Buhari have been shifted to June 12 while May 29 handover day would be in low key.

This gesture is a welcome development for President Buhari to do the needful on June 12 as democracy day in recognition of the struggle and sacrifice of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola who won presidential elections held on 12 June 1993.

I was young during the struggle, but I can clearly remember how the day was as many people trooped out in large numbers in my home town Ayetoro-Oke, Kajola Local Government Area of Oyo State to queue behind Chief Abiola, the mood was like festive period. I saw the process devoid of rancour and violence, or any form of misunderstanding. The spirit of sportsmanship come to play.

The result of June 12,1993 was a victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social Democratic Party, who defeated Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention.

It was disheartening that such free and fair elections were later annulled by the then military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida leading to a crisis that ended with Sani Abacha leading a coup later in the year.

Since then, the June 12 pro democracy has been agitating for the recognition and declaration of the hero of democracy, Chief MKO Abiola winner, Nigeria has witnessed three civilian Government from  Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Ya’adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who hardly talk about the sacrifice of Chief MKO Abiola.

I could recalled that President Jonathan in 2012 made some efforts to rename the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University in recognition of the democratic icon however, it was not see the light of the day as stakeholders in UNILAG community – resident and alumni – reacted like cry-babies, they considered the name of their university too sacred, and too big for Abiola, and in the face of the overwhelming sentiment, the significance of the gesture was over-politicized.

The Federal Government’s decision to replace May 29 with June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day is something that will be remembered even after president Buhari lives office in 2023 for successfully placed the proper historical accent on June 12, and MKO Abiola’s contributions to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.

I monitored the politics of June 12 and Chief MKO Abiola and discovered that in the past, it has been a recurrent decimal in the debate about how best to remember the struggle that led to the exit of the military on May 29, 1999 and the role played by the pro-democracy coalition. The pro democracy coalition was commended for the struggle, you are all winners.

In 2000, the pro-democracy coalition and supporters of Chief MKO Abiola made some efforts but the beneficiaries of the struggle for democracy were the ones most determined to deny Chief Abiola’s role in that significant moment in Nigerian history.

 The Chief Abiola will be happy in his grave for the single honor bestowed on him.

The history will not forget the State Governors in South West controlled by the then Alliance for Democracy who declared June 12, Democracy Day and a public holiday to remember one of their own.

The Governors of South West in the past from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ogeni Rauf Aregbesola,  and others deserve accolade for their believe in the struggle of June 12.

The gesture of president Buhari had put behind those who didn’t believe in the ability his ability and quest to unite the country. The doubt Thomas has to wake up from their slumber, June 12 as democracy in Nigeria has come to reality with the support of President Buhari. It’s a victory to all past Governors and present governors in the South West.

From Taoheed Abdullahi

Lagos State.

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