A leader of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, and the Speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Mudasiru Ajayi Obasa, described the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election presumed to be won by Late Moshood Abiola as the root of Nigeria’s democracy.
The duo said this in separate statements, 22 years after the then military ruler, Ibrahim Babaginda, annulled the election widely regarded as free and fair.
Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, urged Nigerians to guard the hard won democratic freedom and prevent any hijack or abuse of the very principles of constitutional democracy.
“As we remember the June 12 struggle we are challenged to guard our hard won democratic freedom and prevent any hijack or abuse of the very principles of constitutional democracy.
“This anniversary offers us another reminder that this country is one set for greatness. Chief Moshood Abiola, the symbol of June 12 struggle is one of the greatest Nigerians to ever live. Through his life, we glean selfless service and commitment to people. Through his political struggle, we glean courage and incorrigible commitment to principles of the just, free and humane society,” Mr. Tinubu said.
He said the new APC-led federal government would practise politics according to the principles of the Late Mr. Abiola, fondly called MKO.
“His politics was without bitterness and rancor. His patriotism was devoid of tribal marks and nepotism. It will be said, here lies a man who did his duty on earth; it is what we should all strive for.
“We owe it to Abiola and all the fallen patriots of the June 12 struggle to make sure our democracy never falters and this current government succeeds. We must also make sure that the People remain the focus of our policy and politics,” Mr. Tinubu said in the statement.
On his part, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa, said without the June 12 presidential election, it might have been difficult for Nigerians to enjoy the democracy it currently practices.
The Speaker said in view this, it is imperative for Nigerians to not only celebrate the historic event but also reflect on its significance.
“It was a major political event in Nigeria’s history and it deserves to be celebrated. It was the harbinger of the present day democracy. It was the fairest, freest and most accepted election ever not only in Nigeria but also in the entire continent of Africa. June 12 is thus the mother of our present democracy,” the Speaker said.
Mr. Obasa stated further that without June 12, the military might have perpetuated itself in power.
“The collective way Nigerians spoke during the June 12 election and the subsequent struggle to defend the sacred mandate, were enough signals for the military and indeed other anti-democratic individuals and groups that Nigerians were willing to embrace democracy and do away with military rule in all its entirety,” Mr. Obasa added.
He stated further that Lagos and other states which celebrate June 12 as their Democracy Day deserve commendation rather than vilification.
“It is June 12 which gave birth to May 29 which is being celebrated as Democracy Day nationally. Thus, for us in Lagos State and other states marking the June 12 anniversary, it is the day Nigerians got their independence from the jaws of military dictatorship; it is our Democracy Day,” he said.
Mr. Obasa also eulogised politicians and personalities who have passed on but were part of the struggle to validate the June 12 election. They include Mr. Abiola and his wife, late Kudirat; the late Beko Ransome Kuti; the late pa Alfred Rewane; the late Tai Solarin; deceased former Governor of Ondo, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin; the late Pa Abraham Adesanya; the late Cicero of Esa Oke, Chief Bola Ige, among others.
“They are the heroes of the democracy we are enjoying today and they deserve full national recognition,” he said.