…call for post humous declaration of Abiola as Nigerian President
…urge for restructuring
By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The June 12 celebration was marked in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital with a Walk tagged “Democracy Walk: Lets Walk the Hope”.
The walk was to honour the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
The exercise which was led by the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, wife, Olufunso Amosun, President Women Arise, Joe Okey -Odumakin and Afenifere Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin started at 7.00am at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto Abeokuta passed through major streets of Abeokuta and terminated at about 9. 40am at the Oke Ido family house of the late Abiola.
Also participated in the walk are Amosun’s Deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, State Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi, former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Commissioners, top government functionaries, Human Rights groups, Transport Unions, market women and student unions.
At the family house of Abiola, briefed ceremony and prayers was held.
Amosun in his remark, said Abiola paid the Supreme price for the Nigeria’s democracy which everybody was enjoying now, saying June 12 event transcend Ogun State, South West, Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
He disclosed that MKO was the President Nigerians elected but never allowed to govern and must be recognised.
His words: “He (Abiola) labour so much for us, he paid the supreme price for Nigeria’s democracy. The struggle he died for transcends Abeokuta, Ogun State, South West and Africa too and we are happy about that. Nigerians trust him and that is why they voted for him and he must be recognised as an elected President. It is a history we must continue to recognised. He was the President elected but denied the opportunity to govern”.
” He lives on. We (office holders) must toll the path Abiola tolled. M.K.O will continue to live on and generations will come to know what June 12 is all about. June 12 will continue”.
On calls for restructuring, Amosun said “I am for it (restructuring) but we must do it in a way that Nigeria will be indivisible”.
He promised that the State would continue to honour the day, saying the government would take the celebration beyond walk in their nearest future.
Also speaking, Joe-Odumakin urged the Federal government to declare a posthumous declaration of MKO as Nigerian President.
She said that Abiola paid the ultimate price for Nigeria’s democracy, saying it is a watershed and the June 12 Presidential election votes cut across tribal and religious lines.
The Human Right Activist declared that until Nigeria is restructure, it would not move forward.
Her words: “June 12 is our own watershed. June 12 votes cut across tribal and religious lines, it helps in promoting national integrity. June 12 was about three choices. It was non violent, it was a raining day and people went out in a non violent approach. MKO defeated Bashiru Tofa in his own place so Nigerians set aside colonial interest and overwhelming voted for a Muslim, Muslim ticket.”
“24 years after June 12, we want to insist that there should be a post humous declaration of MKO Abiola as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. June 12 will be declared our democracy day.
“I also want to say this in the spirit of June 12, we cannot move forward until we restructure Nigeria. As we are gathered here today, I want us to know that MKO died for so it is our collective responsibilities to keep the spirit of MKO Abiola alive. MKO Abiola paid the ultimate price so he lives forever.”
To the Publicity Secretary of Campaign for Democracy, Mr Sunday Ogunyinka said the spirit of June 12 still lives on, saying ” You can kill a soul but you can’t kill the June 12 Legacy.”
The Spokesperson of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said “The memory we are celebrating today shows that MKO is alive,the spirit is alive, June 12 is alive,the issues raised by June 12 are still very much with us and if we realise this with a restructured Nigeria, it will make Nigeria better for all nationalities and all in the country.”
Former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo who said he worked with the late Abiola said the memory cannot be erased.
All those who spoke commended the State government for organising the event.
Responding on behalf of the family, Alhaji Tajudeen Abiola praised the state government for supporting the family.
He revealed that when their senior brother, Bashiru was sick the Governor flown him abroad for treatment, saying “The government has been supporting us, the Governor always help us and all his team too. Whenever they hear you are from Abiola’s family, they always help. We really thank the Governor for his support always”.