June 12 is not just another calendar day in Nigeria but it’s also a day to remember chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as well as other democracy martyrs.
On June 12 1993, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly referred to as M. K. O. Abiola, ran for the presidency, and was widely regarded as the presumed winner of the inconclusive election since no official final results were announced till date.
The election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida, because of alleged evidence that they were corrupt and unfair, a development that ushered in a political crisis that led to General Sani Abacha seizing power later that year.
The election was declared Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election by national and international observers, with Abiola even winning in his Northern opponent’s home state.
In relation to this, Lagos State has declared Monday, June 12, a public holiday to commemorate the 24th anniversary of June 12, 1993, presidential election.
According to Governor Ambode,
“June 12, 1993, is a day we must not forget in the annals of our democratic history. Our present democratic experience may still be far from the ideal but we must all make concerted efforts to entrench fiscal federalism which is the only way to achieve true nationhood.”
He equally added that, part of the enduring lessons of June 12 election is that it imbued the patriotic and nationalistic zeal in all Nigerians to speak with one voice to make a political choice devoid of ethnic, racial or social sentiments.
It is to be noted that Abiola’s involvement in politics started at a young age. He was 19-years-old when he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1979.
He later died on 7th July 1998.
He is truly a fallen hero. Thus, June 12 is a day set aside to celebrate him and other democratic heroes.
Perhaps June 12 should be regarded as authentic Democracy day rather than May 29th.