By Patrick Okohue
The Federal Government has been told to immediately announce the result of the June 12, 1993 presidential election result and officially declare Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as the winner of the election and also announce him as a former president of Nigeria.
Making the call at events to mark the June 12 day in Lagos yesterday, some eminent Nigerians said doing that will be part of the healing process and will go a long way to assuage the anger of many people who are still bitter about how the issue of June 12, 1993 was handled by the then government.
The 1993 Presidential election which was presumed to have been won by the late Abiola, who was a candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), is perceived to be the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria.
The election result was annulled by the then military ruler, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, after most of the results counted showed that Abiola was clearly leading and would win the election.
However, at different programmes, one held by the June 12 Movement, led by Comrade Wale Okuniyi held at the Ikeja residence of the Abiolas and another by the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) at Ogba, Lagos to commemorate the June 12, with the theme: The mantra of June 12 Democratic consolidation in Nigeria, eminent Nigerians urged the Federal Government to do more to commemorate the day.
At the Abiola residence, where eminent Nigerians gathered including the Lagos State Deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Senator Shehu Sani, Prof. Pat Utomi, former presidential candidate, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Prof. Anthony Kila, NLC General Secretary, Isa Aremu, Comrade Shetima Yerima, scion of the Fawehinmi family, Mohammed Fawehinmi, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini among others, they all commended the Federal Government for its gesture of recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, but urged it to do more by ensure that Abiola get the treatment reserved for former Presidents and Heads of States, including hanging his photographs on the wall of Aso Rock as one of Nigeria’s former Presidents.
Also at the OPC event, the Federal Government was commended for the honour bestowed on Abiola, but urged to move a step further and declare him winner of the election and a former president of the country.
Host of the event, Gani Adams, who is the Aare Anakankafo of Yorubaland, while noting that the recent honour bestowed on Abiola by the Federal Government was well deserving, added however that the Yoruba nation would be more fulfilled if the government pronounces Abiola winner of the election and give him all his dues as a former president.
Adams further lamented that the current state of affairs in the country negates the belief of June 12 which Abiola stood for, stressing that only restructuring of the country could salvage it.
“Our demands now are the declaration of June 12 election result and immediate declaration of Abiola as a former president of Nigeria.
“What is happening across the country is against the spirit of June 12 whose mantra was ‘hope for all’.
“Today killings and hunger is everywhere, only restructuring of the country can help us. It is a shame that in this age states still go to Abuja to get federal allocation before they can survive,” Adams said.
Activist Dr. Joe Odumakin, noted that declaring the result of the election and declaring Abiola a former president was the best way to immortalise him, charging the Federal Government to provide good and accountable leadership which was a virtue associated with June 12.
According to her, “We appreciate what the government have done so far, but the befitting way to immortalise him is to declare that election result and declare him a former president of Nigeria.
“We demand declaration of June 12 election result, today, Nigeria is the capital of poverty and hunger is everywhere, what is happening negate what June 12 stands for,” Odumakin said.
Former military governor of Lagos State and founding member of defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Rear Admiral Ndubusi Kanu, said Abiola was philanthropist who believed in Nigeria and upliftment of the masses.
Kanu commended the Federal Government for declaring June 12 Nigeria’s Democracy Day and honouring Abiola, but urged present leaders to provide good leadership and be accountable to Nigerians.
National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, extolled the virtues of Abiola, and supported the agitation for the immediate restructuring of the country as a solution to the Nation’s woes.
The event was attended by several pro- democracy activist and leaders.