Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has said the winner of the annulled June 12 1993 election, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola laid down his soul for the nation’s democracy.
The Governor, in a statement to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day, said Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudurat Abiola, and many patriotic Nigerians died for the democracy the nation is enjoying today.
“We remember today, as always, that you (Abiola) died that Democracy may survive in Nigeria. We pray that your beloved wife, Alhaja Kudirat, and other patriots whose blood(s) water the field of democracy that we now enjoy find peace with their Creator,” Gov Abiodun said.
According to him, there was no humiliation that Abiola did not endure; “no snare that was not put in his path; no setup that was not designed for him in his endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate that was bestowed on him in 1993, until he eventually died in 1998.
He urged the people of Ogun State to continue to pray for the repose of the soul of Abiola, who he described as “the gallant father of democracy, our own dear uncle, father, great-grandfather and symbol of Nigeria’s unity.”
Abiodun recalled how Abiola anchored his entire campaign of “Hope 93, ” towards providing prosperity for the citizens of Nigeria, saying, “he wanted to banish poverty from Nigeria.”
To Abiodun, the significant element of the success of the June 12 election is based on the vision of Abiola, which he said was anchored in his programme of creating prosperity for all the people of Nigeria.
He said the late MKO Abiola, “believed that the wealth of Nigeria was sufficient enough for all her citizens, regardless of geographical location, sex, age, religion or tribes.”
The Ogun State Governor said, “It is on record that MKO Abiola was the first Presidential candidate that would campaign far and wide to all States of Nigeria before election,” saying “he had therefore felt the pulse and feelings of the people, even at the grassroots level. And, he always confirmed that he knew what poverty means.”
Speaking on June 12, the Governor said Abiola won the election, scoring 58.36% of the 14 million votes cast, by winning in 20 of the then 30 States of the federation.
He maintained that MKO had a spread across all the geopolitical zones, in an election that was declared Nigeria’s freest and fairest Presidential election by national and international observers.
Abiodun expressed concern that Nigeria would have moved from its Third World Status to First World like Lee Kwan Yew’s Singapore, “had we sustained the momentum” of the 1993 election.
“Beside the Day the Union Jack flag was lowered for the Nation’s Green-White-Green flag, on October 1, 1960, there is no day with national significance like June 12, 1993. This is because in spite of the uniqueness and peculiarities of Nigeria, the election of MKO Abiola demystified all stereotypes about the so-called centrifugal and centripetal forces. June 12 was complete in answering to all the prerequisites which constitute an irreducible minimum for democracy,” He stated.
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for acknowledging June 12 as the nation’s Democracy Day and for conferring the highest National honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola in 2018.
“That the President understood the need to correct the injustice done to a proud son of Ogun State and redressed it as a prerequisite for peace and unity is not only commendable, it is worthy of emulation. As President Buhari rightly observed, we should consider this honour of Democracy Day as part of the process of healing and reconciliation as a National apology from our leaders to all of us,” he said.