June 12 is all about remembering MKO Abiola, says Jonathan

Kunle Sanni

Former president Goodluck Jonathan has stated that the nation observes June 12 celebrations as Democracy Day to remember and honor Nigeria’s politician and popular business mogul, Moshood Kashimao Abiola.

In 1993, on June 12, Abiola ran for president and won. However, Ibrahim Babangida, then Nigeria’s military leader, canceled the election. Several Nigerians including social and cultural groups, including NADECO, denounced the decision by the military government and called for a restoration to civilian authority.

To commemorate the events, certain states, particularly in the Southwest, declared June 12 an official holiday.

On June 7, 2018, former President Muhammadu Buhari directed that June 12 would be recognized as Democracy Day, replacing the previous date of May 29.

Speaking about the efforts of past leaders in bringing about the Fourth Republic, Jonathan commended former military ruler Abdulsalami Abubakar, saying that he stood firm against all temptations and pressure to prolong military rule in Nigeria.

He said, “Because at least I have been a President and I know that it is not easy for a military Head of State to step aside under a year for civilians to take over, we have to always commend you.

“Today, we look back with a sense of gratitude to God and appreciation to many of the heroes of our nation, who through selfless service and courage worked towards the democracy that we’re enjoying today.

The former president also recalled how former leaders from the northern states to former military head of state Abacha, demanding the return of Nigeria to democratic rule.

“In fact, Kingibe mentioned key actors including late Abiola’s wife Kudirat and others. And of course, he was the elected vice president of the country. He was the Vice President M.K.O Abiola, so that’s an area he knows more than me, so I will not want to bore your ears by mentioning names again.

“When we mention June 12, we remember Chief MKO Abiola for his contributions to the consolidation of our democracy. We also remember the famous letter signed by eighteen northern elders and delivered by Chief Solomon Lar, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Ahmed Joda and Chief Sunday Awoniyi to Gen. Sani Abacha demanding the return of Nigeria to democratic rule.

“The full signatories to that letter were Chief Solomon Lar, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Prof. Ango Abdulahi, Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Mallam Lawan Dambazzau, Alhaji Iro Abubakar Dan-Musa, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Prof. Jerry Gana, Col. Abubakar Umar (Rtd), Hon. Isaac Shaahu, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Alhaji Mohammed Arzika, Dr. Steve Achema, Dr. Farouk Abdulaziz, Prof. Musa Yakubu. These are the 18 people who signed a letter, urging Abacha to end military rule for Nigeria to go back to a democratic setting.

Back to top button