JUNE 12 SPECIAL: 4 Reasons Why It Is Celebrated In Nigeria - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER


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JUNE 12 SPECIAL: 4 Reasons Why It Is Celebrated In Nigeria

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On June 12, 1993, Nigerians placed national interest above primordial sentiments, as they conducted themselves in an orderly manner and filed out to the polls in the Third Republic of its Democratic dispensation to elect a President. 

The two major political parties then were the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC).

 African business icon Chief Moshood .K.O Abiola (SDP) and Alhaji Bashir .O. Tofa (NRC) where the candidates vying for the presidential seat.  

However, the election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida, causing a political crisis which led to General Sani Abacha seizing power later that year. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The enemies behind June 12 were legions but in celebration of the June 12 era, we highlight 4 reasons why it's being celebrated in Nigeria today.

1. Forerunner Of Nigeria's Democracy Day 

Prior to the new bill passed by the President Muhammadu Buhari, making June 12 the new Democracy Day, it was being marked in some parts of Nigeria, majorly in the South-West part of the country. 

According to a political-economic school of thought, June 12  is the real “Democracy day”, when Nigerians came out en masse to vote for a democratic government, free from the shackles of the military regime. 

This election was regarded as a credible one and rated by international observer groups as the “freest and fairest” in Nigeria.

2. M.K.O Abiola And His Mandate 

"I did not vote for myself. Nigerians voted for me. I have already won the presidential election. You cannot re-sit for an exam you have already passed." - M.K.O Abiola.

Late Chief Moshood Abiola stood for his mandate as the winner of the June 12, 1993 elections, despite encountering many known and faceless enemies and betrayers. 

He paid with his life and did not accept any other offer aside from the one he was given by the electorate. 

This is one of the reasons why states in the South-West and a couple of others remember his sacrifice and regard him as a symbol of Nigerian democracy. 

3. Remembering Alignment Of  Trade Unions For Democracy

The Trade Unions were also crucial in the quest for the mandate of Late Chief Abiola and the actualization of democracy in Nigeria.

Before June 12, 1993  groups like the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) then led by Dr Asisi Asobie, and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers with the efficient Secretary-General then Mr Frank Kokori, carried out industrial actions persistently calling for democratic governance in the country. 

Other groups include the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

4. Ode To The Advocate Of June 12

Amongst those who died in the course of advocating for the June 12, 1993 mandate is Chief Moshood Abiola, his wife Mrs Kudirat Abiola and Chief Alfred Rewane. 

The efforts of Chief Adekunle Ajasin (Late), Chief Abraham  Adesanya (Late), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Chief Olu Falae, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Dele Momodu, Prof Wole Soyinka, Dr Frederick Fasehun, Col. Tanko Umar (Rtd), Dr Clement Nwankwo, Mr Chima Ubani, Lt.Gen Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) , Dr John Fayemi, amongst others were valiant, determined and resolute that democracy will be practised in Nigeria.

What Nigeria is witnessing today as “Democratic Rule” will not have been possible if the June 12, 1993 annulment did not prompt resistance and resolute demonstrations against the military regimes of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and  Late Gen Sanni Abacha for democracy.

Happy Democracy Day 

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