By Joe Igbokwe
On Saturday, June 12 1993 I joined 14 million Nigerians across Nigeria in a small field on Ibukun Street off Western Avenue Surulere Lagos to choose between Chief MKO Abiola and Alhaji Bashir Tofa who will become the President of Nigeria After 23 years on Military interregnum( 1966-1979 and 1983 -1993). Chief MKO Abiola crushingly defeated Bashir Tofa in a landslide victory that shook the world. But the powers that be brazenly stopped the Election that has been won and lost and hail was let loose.
Under our own very eyes the masters in the art of violence and dominators of our environment led by the ruthless and heartless dictator, Ibrahim Babangida seized the center stage and rendered the historic election nugatory by announcing an annulment on a blank sheet of paper on June 23 1993.
Real men and women stood up to fight the annulment. Get a Copy of my Book: Heroes Of Democracy to see how they struggled. What we thought will not last up to three months for the predators and the criminal annulers to give up stretched from 1993 to 1998 when the winner of the Election Chief MKO Abiola and the ruthless dictator IBB left behind , General Abacha were poisoned. This at once put all the struggles by Human Rights Activists led the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Olisa Agbakoba , Femi Falana, Biko Ramson kuti , Nigerian Press,the Church, the Catholic Church of Nigeria, The Church of Nigeria( Anglican Communion) in total jeopardy. The Pope visit to Nigeria, the intervention of TRANSAFRICA, an assemblage of some of the most prominent African Americans, 56 in number led by Randall Robinson who wrote to Abacha on the danger of trying to sustain the annulment yielded little or nothing. NADECO was formed in early 1994 followed by the Committee for Unity and Understanding, CUU in the house of the late General Adebayo’s and they are eminent Nigerians from the East, West , North and South. There was G18 and G 34 also. NUPENG, PENGASSAN, CD, CRP, CLO teamed up to challenge the military juntas. All their combined efforts could persuade Abacha and company to do the needful. We lost Chief MKO Abiola, his wife Kudirat, Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho, Dr Sola Omatshola, Commodore Olu Omotehinwa, Admiral Elegbede, Shehu Yar’Adua, Alhaja Suliat Adedeji, Toyin Onagoruwa, and thousands of other Nigerians who died on the streets unrecorded within the same period. Many prominent Yoruba leaders were chased into exile and some were harassed and put into detention in Nigeria.
Gen IBB, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen Abacha, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, president Olusegun Obasanjo, President Umaru Yar’Adua, President Goodluck Jonathan, all benefited from the annulment of June 12 1993 presidential election won fair and square by the late Chief MKO Abiola but none of them made any concrete efforts to remember and recognize the man who layed the foundation. Come to think of it ,If there was no June 12 1993 there would not have been May 29 1999 which OBASANJO inherited. Throughout the 8 years OBJ who is from the same state , Ogun State with Chief Abiola was in power he never mentioned Chief MKO Abiola in any public function talk less of remembering his family or his ruined huge businesses. OBJ heard nothing and saw nothing in 8 years he was in power. He set up Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which ended up in an unmitigated disaster because he set it up to divert attention. It was a project designed to fail and it failed woefully.
The criminals fraudulently created May 29 as their own Democracy Day, a day you cannot attach anything to, a day without any history attached to it. A day they created to render June 12 totally useless but they were not God. I do not want to talk about others but General Abdulsalami Abubakar still owes Nigerians and the world an explanation of what happened to Chief MKO Abiola. He died in his hands. He did not protect him. He was the Commander in Chief then and the buck stopped on his table.
This is where President BUHARI beats all of them hands down. A God-sent good and decent man from Daura in Katsina State, pure , honest , sincere, straight forward, committed, disciplined, humble with deep character came into the saddle in 2015 and began to heal the wounds inflicted on Chief Abiola, his Family and Nigerians. He has stripped corrupt entities in Nigeria naked. He has been building Nigeria they decimated for decades. He has been righting the wrongs of our past rogue leaders. He has demonstrated in actions and deeds that Nigeria is not a helpless and hopeless Country and that Nigeria is not a basket case.He has returned Nigeria to the path of glory and sanity. He has broken the vicious cycle of stupidity and impunity in the country.
Yes , PMB has made June 12 our Democracy Day. He has made history as a result of this pronouncement. He has endured himself into the minds of Nigerians and we salute his courage and wisdom in doing this but he should take it further. What happened to Abiola’s Concord Stable, Abiola Bookshops, Abiola Farms, Abiola’s Concord Airlines, Abiola Estates, Abiola ITT , Abiola Group of Companies etc. Pay Chief MKO Abiola Family compensation for loss of this huge business empire. Give them big money to restart the family businesses and heal the wounds forever. Reconcile the family and give hope to all of them. Name monuments after Chief MKO Abiola. Recognize him as Elected President. Mr President you have done well . You have done what seven past Heads of State could not do and it on record. We will never forget this. History is our witness.
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