- Former NBA president, Adesina Ogunlana, has hailed President Buhari for immortalising MKO Abiola
- Buhari had on Wednesday, June 12, named national stadium Abuja, after Abiola
- Ogunlana, however, noted that Buhari is an 'opportunist' for recognising June 12
President Muhammadu Buhari has been described as a smart leader who took advantage of the situation to declare June 12 as a Democracy Day in Nigeria.
Legit.ng's regional reporter in Ibadan, Ridwan Kolawole, reports that the immediate past chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Adesina Ogunlana, stated this at a June 12 symposium co-organised by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR).
Speaking on the theme: "June 12 struggle, the relevance of its lessons to struggle of SUMMAL workers," he said Nigerians should not be carried away with the recognition of June 12 by President Buhari.
It would be recalled that June 12, 1993 was the day the election adjudged as the freest and most credible in the history of 58-year-old Nigeria was held. The presidential election, which was won by late Chief Mashood Kashimawo Abiola, was later annulled by the then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.).
The ex-NBA chair, who said the June 12 struggle survived three military heads of state - one interim government and three civilian presidents before it was recognised by Buhari, insisted that any other president would recognise June 12 "if Buhari refused to do so".
He said that Nigerians should not be fooled with what he described as "an opportunity for Buhari to honour himself”, saying that Buhari in the beginning, was not well disposed to declare the day as Democracy Day.
He said that public outcry, calls by prominent Nigerians home and abroad “forced" Buhari to recognise June 12.
Ogunlana said: "Buhari took the opportunity in honoring June 12. June 12 survived Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Sonekan, Abacha, Abdulsalam Abubakar. June 12th survived Obasanjo, it survived Umar Musa Y'aradua, Goodluck Jonathan but Buhari honoured himself by honouring June 12.
"If he (Buhari) refused to recognise June 12, any other person, president after him would have recognised June 12."
Ogunlana also advised that apart from Abiola, who won the June 12, 1993 presidential election, other major actors in the struggle such as civil society organisations, pro-democracy activists, labour union leaders and other patriotic Nigerians should be recognised without delay.
"So, June 12 should not be bastardised as Yoruba struggle. June 12 is even more bigger than Abiola himself. June 12 means that oppression must be tacked. People facing oppression must be ready to pay the price.
"Though, Abiola is no more, he has been recognised as president even he was not swore in. He is the second person who was recognised as president but was never swore in. Late Obafemi Awolowo was the first person to be recognised as president but was not swore in. We must be ready to the price by fighting oppression. Our people have been intimidated, ‘it is dare to struggle, dare to win," he said.
He charged Nigerians not to see the June 12 struggle as struggle of Abiola alone, but struggle of Nigerians who refused to be intimidated.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Doyin Okupe, a former spokesperson to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, urged Nigerians not to castigate his boss for not honouring the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, late Chief MKO Abiola.
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Buhari honours Abiola as FG hosts Democracy Day in Abuja | - on Legit TV