June 12: A Big Day In History

June 12: A Big Day In History
  • PublishedJune 8, 2018

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.

            –              Victor Hugo

The philosopher of France is certainly on the ball on this, and the very laudable decision by the federal government to posthumously acknowledge the sacrifice of Bashorun MKO Abiola in tenaciously defending the mandate freely giving to him by the Nigerian people is a confirmation of this. The conferment of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) on the outstanding Civil Rights Activist, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi (SAN) is a clear testimony that the government believes that men of principles should be acknowledged.

Long overdue, the action of the Buhari administration is a devastating comeuppance to successive civilian governments who from the reenactment of civil rule in 1999, have failed to do the necessary acknowledgement. This confirms their moral vacuity, fortunately, it also refreshes the comment to the idea of democracy. The June 12 election should have led to a national rebirth. It restated the idea of nationhood by giving the ticket of the Social Democratic Party a resounding national mandate. Nigerians on that day had set aside the age old ethnic and religious  divisions much of it contrived, in giving a mandate to the MKO Abiola led ticket. The Governor of the State of Osun has capture the mood succinctly in stating that “June 12, 1993 was the day democracy was born in Nigeria. It was the day Nigerians negated all the social and political constructs that had been thought would make national unity and democratic governance impossible, but Nigerians in their heterogeneity overwhelmingly voted for a candidate whose very essence was in defiance of religious, ethnic and regional categorisation”.

The Nigeria electorate exorcised many ghosts on that day and slayed a hosts of myths. Instructive is the way in which predominantly Christian Communities enthusiastically voted for a Muslim/Muslim ticket, where people are politically savvier than its establishment. Had the mandate not truncated, the often cited notion of Nigeria as a geographical expression would have started to fade away. It was an historic point. The verdict of history is already harsh on those who for self-serving reasons, based on maintaining a discredited order tired to truncate the progress of history.

This newspaper acknowledges the role of those who took a principled stand on the side of democracy. The pantheon of honour is extremely long, but standing out are people like Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Alfred Rewane, Chief Anthony Enahoro , Pa Abraham Adesanya, the journalist Bagauda Kaltho and those who formed the Vanguard of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). The role of Nadeco must be acknowledged and put on the front burner, for it restated unambiguously that the historical current is always mobilized by a vanguard for positive change. We must also acknowledge the unknown as well as the unsung that made such great sacrifices.

Kudos must go to successive governors in the States of the Southwest who by maintaining June 12 as Democracy day kept hope alive. We commend the exemplary statesmanship of President Mohammadu Buhari. The government should go further; they should officially release the results of the election and declare Bashorun MKO Abiola the winner. It’s morning yet for democracy in Nigeria.

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