Gov. Akeredolu immortalises MKO, as hope rekindled for Nigeria
The Democracy Park, Akure has been renamed, MKO Abiola Democracy Park in honour of the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, made this known at a public lecture, organised to honour Chief MKO Abiola whose controversial death in military detention generated intense agitations by pro-democracy activists across the country that led to the current democractic dispensation since 1999.
The lecture tagged “Hope93: Dream Deferred” which was held at the International Event Centre, ( The Dome) Akure is the 24th anniversary of the annulment of June 12 Presidential Election.
Governor Akeredolu stated that naming the Democracy Park after MKO and declaring June 12 Public Holiday were to immortalise a man whose sacrifice bequeathed the current democratic order in the country.
He said the June 12 Presidential election laid concrete slabs on the grave of mendacity and treachery: “Nigerians spoke with one voice. They opted for a promise of redemption from poverty. Despite all contrivance, devised and mounted to scuttle the process, most eligible voters trooped out to cast their ballots.
“The enthusiasm was electrifying. The country was ready to take a leap into an assured future as a nation, we remember the heroes and heroine of the titanic struggle, the consequence of which is the democratic governance of today.
“The statement made with the 14 million votes of Nigerians to elect MKO Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe was, and still remains the most authentic plebiscite conducted since the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914.
“The June 12, 1993 Presidential election, won by late Chief Moshood Kaaimawo Olawale Abiola unraveled many grandiloquent hypocrites.
“The struggle for its actualization after the unjust annulment by the military junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida, equally threw up some persons who benefited, materially from the same oppressors whom they professed to be fighting.
“The detention and the eventual death of the symbol of the struggle, MKO Abiola, exposed many of these self-appointed freedom fighters”, he said.
Arakunrin Akeredolu admonished all Nigerians to think, deeply, about the country. “We must engage her constantly but constructively. We must distance ourselves from anything that will undermine peace and harmony in the polity, the governor counselled.
Earlier a Human Activists and Lawyer, Jiti Ogunye had chronicled the events and struggles that permeated the annulment of June 12 Presidential Election and submitted that Nigeria was still winking in the dark twenty-four years after.
Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, described June 12 as a national movement that gave birth to the 18 years of uninterrupted democracy being practiced in Nigeria today, saying it should not be seen as a Yoruba struggle.
He advocated for proper restructuring of Nigeria, which he described as not negotiable.
The Legal icon noted that political restructuring without economic restructuring was not the solution to the under-development of the country.
In his remark, the chairman on the occasion who is also the National Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, Hon.Wale Oshun called on the Federal Government to immortalize late MKO Abiola, his wife, Kudirat, among other Nigerians who lost their lives in the course of the June 12 struggle.
The programme was attended by Rights Activists, Public servants, Private Sector operators, Traditional Rulers, political gladiators from different political parties, Religious leaders,Market Women,Artisans, Trade unionists , youth groups and students.