A former Envoy to Canada , Amb. Dare Bejide and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Ekiti State, Mr Kola Alabi, have commended South West governors for continually believing in the struggle waged by the late Chief MKO Abiola in making Nigeria a democratic nation.
The politicians said the declaration of holidays by the six states in the zone on every June 12 of each year accentuated the love they have for Abiola and Nigeria’s democratic values as expressed in the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which the late business mogul had won.
The presidential election which held on June 12, 1993 was supposedly won by Abiola, but was annulled by the military regime of Gen Ibrahim Babangida, which sparked serious outrage and led to the death of many innocent Nigerians.
In a statement in commemoration of the annulment of June 12 presidential election in Ado Ekiti, on Monday, Bejide appealed to the federal government to give recognition to the day and declare it a national public holiday.
Bejide added that doing so will not only show respect to Nigerians, who trooped out en masse to vote for Abiola in the poll, but would help in strengthening the country’s unity and reduce the bitterness created by the annulment and Abiola’s demise in the course of the struggle.
He said, “I want to salute the southwest governors, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun for their unwavering belief in the struggle for the survival of the Nigeria’s democracy as manifested in June 12 poll.
“That was the first time Nigeria overcame religious and ethnic barriers and voted for an individual they loved. Chief MKO Abiola even fielded a muslim, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as Vice presidential candidate and he still won. This clearly showed that an average Nigerian has no ethnic and religious biases except for politicians who are using them as instruments to get upper hands in any contest.
“The June 12 has become a phenomenon in the Nigeria’s history . There is no way we can advance together as a nation without alluding to the sad event , because for us to overcome our challenges, we must correct the mistakes of the past and consolidate on our present democratic gains for us to have a fulfilling future”, he said.
Alabi, who saluted Abiola’s courage in standing against military oppression, said the federal government must look for ways to recognize the late business mogul to calm down frayed nerves.
The governorship aspirant said the circumstance leading to Abiola’s death was controversial and still reflected the impression that certain ethnic group is dominating the politics of this nation, saying this impression must be erased with certain steps being taken by government to heal old wounds.
The APC Chieftain added that the FG must learn from the mistakes of the past and also return the country to path of sanity when Nigerians always voted without recourse to primordial sentiments of ethnic and religious inclinations of the contestants.