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June 12: Yoruba Group Honours Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Others



To mark the 30th anniversary of the June 12 election annulment, a coalition of 121 Pan Yoruba Groups, Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDM), has honoured President Bola Tinubu.

Other people who were awarded at the event are governors of Lagos and Ekiti, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Abiodun Oyebanji, respectively, a former governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi and and a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Ayo Opadokun.

The group also gave posthumous awards to Alfred Rewane, Anthony Enahoro, Abraham Adesanya, Beko Ransome Kuti, Adekunle Ajasin and Chima Ubani, among others.

The event which was held on Monday in Lagos State, had several notable attendees.

Delivering a speech on the topic: “Advancing Democracy in Nigeria: The Imperatives of Unity, Peace and Understanding,” Governor Sanwo-Olu described June 12 as a “watershed and a turning point in the political history of Nigeria”.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, recalled events that led to the victory and annulment of the election of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe in 1993.

Speaking further, the governor said, “The struggle for the de-annulment of that election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola, which was spearheaded by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), was strongly resisted by the Military, with devastating consequences. In the struggle, young Nigerians, including University students, paid the supreme price across the states as well as on the streets of Lagos, which was the epicenter of the protests against the blatant disrespect for the will of the Nigerian people expressed through the ballot.

“Today, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of that historic election in the annals of our country, it is proper and necessary to pay glowing tribute to the memories of the symbol of that struggle. Chief MKO Abiola GCFR, his loving wife, the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and all those who sacrificed their lives, including those Nigerians who were killed on Ikorodu Road in Lagos.”

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Sanwo-Olu praised everybody who contributed their voices and energy into the struggle for democracy, while recalling that Tinubu was on of the foremost leaders of the struggle.

Thirty years after the annulment by former military President Ibrahim Babangida, Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election evoked the memory of the hope dashed in 1993.

He added, “In the victory of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, and His Excellency, Vice President Kashim Shettima at the polls, Nigerians, once again, reignited the spirit of June 12, 1993 and the hope that it signifies by deemphasizing the divisive issues of ethnicity and religion in leadership recruitment.”

He urged Nigerians to guard the democracy jealously and assured that “as a major player in the journey to enthroning an enduring democracy, the rule of law and social justice, President Tinubu will put in his best to fulfil his promises to all Nigerians.”

On his part, the Guest Speaker at the event, Adewale Adeoye said the annulment of the June 12, presidential election was the consequence of the power struggle in Nigeria.

Adeoye lamented the loss of lives by innocent Nigerians who did not support the military rule and warned young people to desist from calling for military take over.

He said, “Let us tell our younger ones who are calling for military rule out of ignorance and foolishness, that under military rule, Nigerians were never part of the budget process. We could not question the horrendous financial crimes committed by the military administrators. Free speech was an aberration. Newspaper houses were shut. Journalists were detained or killed. Military rule is evil.

“Let the echoes of our voices be heard across the four corners of Nigeria. There MUST NEVER BE MILITARY RULE IN NIGERIA AGAIN. NEVER. This is why one of the primary focal points of AYDM is mandate protection. The worst version of democratic rule, is far better than the most benevolent military dictatorship. Democracy is work in progress. If there had been no coup in 1966, Nigeria would have resolved its internal contradictions, the civil war would have been -prevented and Nigeria would not be facing some of the challenges we face today.”

Speaking, one of the awardees, Opadokun urged President Tinubu to work to ensure that activism is sustained under his leadership as Nigeria’s number one citizen, while also calling on Yorubas and Nigerians to support the president.

“Tinubu must not fail Nigerians,” Opadokun added.

The governor also led a procession to the house of the late MKO, where prayers were said for his family and loved ones.

Sanwo-Olu pledged that the state government will continue to support the family Abiola left behind and keep his dreams of a better Nigeria alive.

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