Home News Why Nigeria Should Declare June 12 As “Democracy Day”

Why Nigeria Should Declare June 12 As “Democracy Day”

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By: Orunbon Ibrahim Ademola

I wonder and perturb when I hear the Federal Government led by the All Progressives Congress (APC), declaring and observing May, 29 as public holiday to celebrate “Democracy Day”, it is annoy me to my marrow that Nigerian do quickly and in jiffy forsake our heroes and heroines that laid down their lives for this country and concluded that Nigeria is not worth dying for. The most flabbergasting and annoying of it, is that some of the South-West state in Nigeria do not even bother to observe and declare June 12, as a public holiday to pay our due respect for the Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who was presumed the winner of the June 12 election, which was adjudged as the freest and fairest election in the country.

Abiola fought tirelessly for the liberalization of common man to achieve our democracy who hold on to power, the usurpers, hijackers (military men) who refused to relinquish power on the platter of gold but prefer to handover on the pool of blood not through coup de tat but by killing innocent men and women of true Nigerians. He is the one who champion the cause of liberation and democracy we opt to leverage and enjoy today. Why not celebrating the man of the people (Abiola), who engaged the military junta of General Sanni Abacha in fiats battle of his mandate, demanding for declaration of June 12 election in his favour after he had won in many state of the federation including the northern part of the country, defeating Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

And more so Nigerians need to celebrate June 12 in sober mood and mourning Chief MKO Abiola with jettison idea of rolling out drums instead we celebrate May 29 as “Democracy Day” on yearly basis, I could remember vividly when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in power, then the All Progressive Congress was opposition party, they collided especially the South-West state of the country to observe June 12, declaring public holiday to celebrate but now the reverse is the case, it seems that those observation of June 12 had been faded out and those state now refused to declare the day as work free day again, except some state of the federation. Nothing even wrong with the APC-led administration to declare the day as a public day to pay a great respect to the martyrs Chief MKO Abiola.

But now 12th of June is marked with public holidays in Lagos, Osun, Oyo maybe now in Ondo and Ogun states. The 1993 elections were fairest and most credible elections Nigeria has ever had. The man under the limelight is Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, MKO, who is one of the martyrs of Nigeria’s Democracy, a former business tycoon and a philanthropist. MKO Abiola was the undisputed winner of the 1993 elections. Abiola died under suspicious circumstance shortly after the death of General  Sani Abacha. He died on the day he was due for release, July 7 1998. In order to appease the Westerners, Obasanjo was picked from prison as substitute and furnished with all the resources needed for campaign, endorsement rather, to emerge as the first President of the fourth republic. In place of MKO Abiola, we were given a more loyal western puppet, Obasanjo.

If we look critically, Abiola and Obasanjo had so many things in common and that probably must have informed the cabal’s choice for Obasanjo after Abiola’s death. Abiola and Obasanjo hail from Ogun State, they attended the same secondary school – Baptist Grammar school in Abeokuta, now Baptists Boys High School (BBHS) where Abiola was the editor-in-chief of their school Magazine (The Trumpeter) and Obasanjo was his assistant. Both men share almost the same circle of friends, they are considered legend in their own right and are being celebrated by the Yoruba nation. Abiola and Obasanjo are also polygamists, and frankly, they share a remarkable degree of resemblance. Both are philanthropists but one of them exhibits more philanthropy than the other, you can guess which. In any case, their generosity has earned them over 30 traditional titles each and multiple awards that they have lost count. Both men have been wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not really commit.

On the other hand, Abiola proved to be more academically sound. He bagged first class honours degree in Accountancy from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He also received a distinction from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Academically, not much is said about Obasanjo since he completed his Military school in Kaduna. Chief MKO Abiola had been a politician and an entrepreneur right from the sixties even up to his death, whereas Obasanjo was a military man cum politician/businessman.

Abiola was a Muslim though he was not keen about religiosity, but Obasanjo appears to be an ‘ardent Christian’. Perhaps the most distinguishing politically ideological difference between the two was that Abiola was more of a socialist while Obasanjo was a capitalist. Abiola was sensitive to the yearnings of the masses and that brought him unwavering support from all the commoners within the federation, Obasanjo was brought in for the sake of democracy in 1999.

Though, frankly speaking I am not an adherent of “Democracy day” celebration (because I feel it should be encapsulated in the Independence Day), I believe the June 12 remembrance is more justifiable being the day Nigeria was denied the right to have a saner and more purposeful people-minded democracy. Obasanjo arbitrarily chose May 29 to be remembered as “Democracy Day” because he was the one who was handed the democracy baton. If he or Abdul Salami Abubakar had been a little more patient and waited 14 days longer, June 12 would have been our democracy day, and as such, it would have had more significance, thus avoiding the May 29 parody.

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