Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, has underscored the importance of June 12, 1993 election and the agitation that followed its annulment, saying June 12 is the precursor of the democracy we now enjoy in the country.
In the statement entitled ‘What June 12 Taught Us,’ Asiwaju Tinubu said:
“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 truth is June 12 is the mother of May 29.
“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 the jackboots of military dictatorship,” he said.
In a statement to mark the occasion of the 24th anniversary of June 12 released by his Media Office on Sunday night in Lagos, Asiwaju Tinubu poured encomiums on the late Chief MKO Abiola.
He described him as an embodiment of “the eternal Yoruba adage, which says that death is better with honour than life without dignity.”
“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.
“Abiola could have chosen to abandon the mandate in order to rebuild and resuscitate his disrupted business. But he opted for the path of the true ‘Omoluabi’. He refused to sacrifice honour for an ephemeral mess of pottage. He was an embodiment of the eternal Yoruba adage, which says death is better with honour than life without dignity.
“Looking back, we can say, thank you Chief MKO Abiola for giving your all that we may bask in the glow of democracy today. The annulment was meant to halt the unstoppable and irresistible march to deeper democratic practice in Nigeria. That objective failed woefully. The annulment was a challenge that precipitated a concerted response, which helped to promote the cause of democracy in Nigeria contrary to the will of its anti-democratic perpetrators.
“That annulled free and fair election taught us, once again, to organise. It tutored us new tactics and strategies of confronting, undermining and ultimately overcoming seemingly impregnable forces and fortresses of dictatorship and oppression,” Tinubu said.
Meanwhile, Lagos and Ekiti State governments on Sunday night declared Monday public holiday to mark June 12 celebration joining other 4 South-West states: Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo who had earlier declared the day work-free to celebrate the late sage.
In a statement signed by Tunji Bello, Secretary to the Lagos State Government, on behalf of the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, the government said the holiday was in honour of the ideals which June 12, 1993 presidential election represents being a day that the country experienced an election that was adjudged as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history.
The governor said 24 years after, the ideals of June 12 commemoration were worth celebrating, describing the day as one of the most defining moments of the country’s political history which has positively shaped its democratic rule.
He said the state remains committed to the ideals of the annulled 1993 presidential election.
Governor Ambode further stated, the time has come for Nigerians to go beyond the commemoration and entrench a viable democracy as a way to immortalise the late presumed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola through the practice of true federalism and conduct of credible and fair elections.
He said: “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.”
The state government, through the office of Civic Engagement, has perfected arrangement for the annual public symposium which will hold at the De Roof, LTV 8 in Ikeja, to celebrate June 12.