- Prominent Yoruba leader, Otunba Gani Adams, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring Late M.K.O Abiola
- Adams, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, said the recognition is indeed a reward for Nigeria's democrats
- He, however, restated the need for restructuring, stressing that it will also be in honour of Abiola
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams has stated that with the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, the late M.K.O Abiola will continue to linger on in the minds of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The respected Yoruba leader made this known on Wednesday in Ogba, Lagos, at the annual June 12 commemoration, organized by the Oodua Peoples Congress.
Adams, in his remarks, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing the efforts of late Abiola and several other heroes and heroines who paid the Supreme price, saying the recognition is indeed a reward for Nigeria's democrats.
His words: “There is no other worthy price than the one given to the memory of the late Moshood Abiola, through the declaration of June 12 as the official Democracy Day.
“In June 1993, Abiola began a process to liberate his country, Nigeria, from forces of darkness. He took a decision in 1993 when the June 12 presidential election was annulled, and enforced this patriotic zeal when he was arrested in 1994, that never again would forces of darkness prevail over forces of light in Nigeria.
“What is the meaning of June 12? It simply means Restoration, the day democracy was restored in Nigeria after years of military rule, years of battle with tears, sweat, toil and, even, blood. Although the journey was tough from June 12, 1993 to May 29, 1999, Abiola, activists and democrats never wavered.
“Like the 'few' who saved Britain, Abiola and others insisted that democracy must be fully established in Nigeria and we thank God today that the process that started in 1993 has culminated in the signing into law, the Public Holidays Act Amendment Bill, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, 26 years after that historic election in 1993 and 21 years after the death of Abiola, June 12 has, today, become what it should be: Restoration of Democracy.
“June 12 is a lesson to all Nigerians that you don't give up a struggle. Despite its challenges, Nigerians should not give up on democracy because herein lies our future.”
Adams, however, restated the need for restructuring, stressing that it will also be in honour of Abiola.
“It is a shame that in the 21st century, states still go to Abuja, cap in hand, for monthly allocations. That action is, in itself, contrary to the spirit of federalism. Although we are in a democracy, Nigeria is still being governed through a unitary system.
“So, whether we like it or not, restructuring is a must if we must honour the memory of Chief Abiola.
“I call on President Buhari to go a step further by ensuring that Nigeria is properly restructured.
“If Nigeria is properly restructured, the spate of kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and clashes will become history,” he said.
Meanwhile, a former secretary to the government of the federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, on Wednesday, said ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the architects of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was won by Abiola.
Kingibe was Abiola’s running mate on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party during the polls described as Nigeria's freest election.
According to Kingibe, Obasanjo attempted to convene a meeting of statesmen to address the aftermath of the June 12 crisis, adding that President Buhari only attended the inaugural meeting and stopped because of the direction of the session.
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