A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has described the late acclaimed winner of the June 12 election, Moshood Abiola, as a selfless patriot who fought for Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement titled, “What June 12 Taught Us”, released on Sunday to celebrate the 24th anniversary of June 12, the APC chieftain said June 12 is the mother of May 29.
Mr. Tinubu noted that without “the uncompromising resistance to military rule engendered by the annulment of the June 12 election, there would most probably be no 4th Republic today and we would still be groaning under military dictatorship.”
The APC chieftain described the late Mr. Abiola as an embodiment of the eternal Yoruba adage, which says that death is better with honour than life without dignity.
According to him, “The blood of those who gave their yesterday and sacrificed even their lives for the democracy and freedom we enjoy today was not shed in vain.
“The annulment was a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the millions of people who expended so much time, energy and material resources to help ensure victory for Chief MKO Abiola.
“The late MKO selflessly committed so much of his substantial fortune towards ensuring his victory at the polls. In doing this , he was not motivated by personal , selfish or pecuniary considerations,” he said.
Commenting further, he noted that,“Twenty- four years after its annulment, the spirit of June 12 lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of Nigerians .
“This year’ s commemoration of the anniversary of June 12 coincides roughly with two years in office of the All Progressives Congress at the federal level,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu lamented that some critics were already writing off the government as a failure, adding that the vast majority of Nigerians were aware of the “immense mess” inherited by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said the APC government had successfully contained the challenges, and was turning the corner with “light discernible at the end of the tunnel.”
On the issue of the nation’s democracy day, Mr. Tinubu added that, “The truth is June 12 is the mother of May 29.”
On his part, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said it had perfected arrangement for the annual public symposium in Ikeja to celebrate June 12.
In the same vein, the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly , Mudashiru Obasa, said that June 12 was the harbinger of peaceful, free and fair electoral process in Nigeria.
“It is thus worthy of celebration,” Mr. Obasa added.
The Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, also described the late Mr. Abiola as a worthy figure, noting that he joined his colleagues in the South – West to celebrate him to engeander unity in the region.
Also, a pro-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, called for the implementation of the last national conference as a way of combating the challenges facing the country.
A statement by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin , explained that Nigerians from the south were at the risk of attacks by northern youths due to the quit order issued to Ndigbo by an Arewa group recently.
Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, also described the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election as a turning point in the annals of the country, saying that the supreme price paid by the acclaimed winner of the election can never be forgotten.
He stated this in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, in Ibadan, on Monday.
The governor regretted that 24 years after the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of the country, the ideals for which Mr. Abiola stood had yet to be realized.
“This ideal of good governance that is centred on development remains the driving force of our administration. We fervently believe that this is what MKO would have wished for. That is why we would continue to follow in that path in order to keep his memory alive,” Mr. Ajimobi said.
The late Mr. Abiola was the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 elections, generally considered as the freest election in the history of the nation.
He contested on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
The elections was later annulled by the then military administration of Ibrahim Babangida, who later stepped down for an interim government headed by Ernest Shonekan.
Mr. Abiola died in 1998.