Compatriots, we are gathered here once again to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the widely acclaimed, most peaceful, freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s political history, the June 12 1993 Presidential election, won by the late business mogul, philanthropist and pan Africanist Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola but which was treasonably annulled by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd.) military junta.
On that historic and unforgettable day, Nigerians across all divide, jettisoned ethnic, religious and primordial sentiments to speak with their votes in electing Chief MKO Abiola, in a (Muslim, Muslim ticket) as President against Bashir Tofa (Muslim, Christian ticket) and terminated one of the most expensive transition process in Africa by General Ibrahim Babangida’s (Rtd.) administration, which was meant to be manipulated to enable him transmute to a civilian President.
Consequent upon the annulment, then began a long, tortuous journey and struggle to reclaim the peoples mandate by the custodian and the Nigerian people for over five years in which thousands of lives were lost including that of Chief MKO Abiola who died in questionable circumstances in government custody under General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s junta after he was arrested and incarcerated for over four years by the late General Sani Abacha junta for insisting on reclaiming his mandate. His wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was gruesomely assassinated, limbs were maimed, properties worth millions of naira destroyed, businesses and lives destroyed, etc.
It was the tenacity of late Chief MKO Abiola and the Nigeria people, led by the Civil Society groups, in insisting on exercising the June 12, 1993 mandate despite all the threats, inducements and state sponsored violence which culminated in the military quitting in 1999 and handing over power to the civilian administration of (one of their own) General Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd).
Therefore it is apt and instructive to remind the Nigerian people, the elite and the political class, that June 12 remains potent a symbol as Nigeria’s authentic Democracy Day and not May 29, the day that the military handed over power to civilians and returned to the barracks!
It was the insistence and doggedness of Nigerians and Chief MKO Abiola on the June 12, 1993 Presidential mandate that sent a clear signal to the military juntas and their civilian collaborators, that it was time to call it quit!
However, eighteen (18) years down the ladder of civilian rule, we need to ask ourselves salient questions, have we learnt any lesson(s) from the June 12, 1993 Presidential election episode? Realistically speaking, the answer is No, as the mass of the people continue to wallow in abject poverty while those at the helm of our affairs, live in stupendous opulence. The country today is more divided and unsafe than ever before as we are confronted daily with all sorts of agitations of marginalization, created by fear of domination, weak economy, crime of all sorts that makes the Thomas Hobbes hypothetical state of nature, stare us in the face as a result of insensitive and irresponsible leadership.
June 12 election represents unity and brotherliness in diversity of the Nigerian people to live happily together in a truly democratic and federal state where justice, equity and fairness are assured to all citizens irrespective of ethnic, class or religious leanings.
But it is not too late in the day for our political leadership at all levels, to do a rethink and do the needful of delivering the dividend of democracy to the Nigeria people in a truly federal system and provide the necessary leadership that the African continent urgently requires to get out of the woods.
Thus, we are demanding that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should look into the various reports of constitutional conferences and the PRONACO draft constitution as a road map to restructure Nigeria to a true federal democratic state!
We equally call on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that justice is done to the Nigerian people and the memories of all the martyrs of democracy who paid the supreme price by immortalizing and declaring June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day.
We as well demand that the winner of the June 12 Presidential election should be honoured and immortalized for his supreme sacrifice which birth this democracy by INEC releasing the official results of the election and announcement of late Chief MKO Abiola as the winner and recognition as Nigeria’s post homous President.
Your Excellency, the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations Congratulates you on your giant strides in governance in the last two years which has placed Lagos State on the pedestal as a model of good governance within the Federal Republic of Nigeria and beyond.
Your Excellency Sir, we want to restate that the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations like other progressive interests and groups has remained the torchbearer for the commemoration and anniversary of June 12, the watershed in our political history and are thus demanding that you open your doors wider for a more fruitful collaborative venture that will deepen democracy and reposition Nigeria to achieve her potential in the comity of countries! We seize this occasion to request for an urgent meeting of our leadership with Your Excellency!
Once again, we congratulate and felicitate with all Nigerians on this auspicious and memorable occasion and wish us all a fruitful deliberations and discourse for a peaceful, just, prosperous and democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Linus E. Okoroji