NATIONAL Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and pro-democracy groups on Thursday in Lagos called on the Federal Government to immortalise the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, for paying the supreme price for Nigeria’s democracy.
Abiola died 18 years, exactly on July 7, 1998 after years of military incarceration, while trying to reclaim the mandate given to him by the Nigerian people.
Leader of NADECO, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), who spoke during the remembrance organised by Women Arise and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) at Abiola’s graveside at his residence in Lagos, urged the Federal Government to do the needful by immortalising the late MKO Abiola for the sacrifice he made to bring about the current democratic government in the country.
He also called on Nigerians to be united the way they were united for Abiola during the June 12 election.
Kanu, who contended that unity was not geography for a country that wanted to become a nation-state, said unity started from sense of belonging of different people there, adding that it was the sense of belonging that brought the unity that produced MKO Abiola as people voted for him from all corners of the country.
“For a country who wanted to become a nation-state, unity is not geography. It starts from sense of belonging of different people there. And it was the sense of belonging that brought the unity that produced MKO Abiola because people voted for him from all corners of the country.
“Today, we are having a situation where people have little sense of belonging. Our unity is not to do MKO any favour but if we want a nation-state Nigeria, we must go back and do justice. If we don’t; there is no running away from it. All those who work against injustice in any shape or form must know that if our country does not become a nation-state, they caused it,” he said.
On her part, the President of Women Arise and Centre for Change, Dr Joe-Okei-Odumakin, urged government to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to unravel the circumstances surrounding MKO Abiola’s death.
She also urged the incumbent administration to immediately consider the immortalisation of winner of the June 12, 1993 poll, Chief Abiola by renaming a key national institution or infrastructure in the deceased’s name.
Okei-Oduakin said late Abiola displayed uncommon courage, unparallel dignity and unusual candour in defence of the mandate reposed in him by Nigerians by engaging all the illegal regimes that held sway during the time.
“Eighteen years after his elimination in circumstances that are yet to be resolved, President Abiola still stands tall than all his adversaries and his murderers. He represents what Nigeria is capable of being but which we are not because of the machinations of a greedy cabal.
She admonished Nigerians to continue to insist that the Federal Government must gazette the result of June 12 election as belatedly declared by Prof Humphrey Nwosu, the then National Electoral Commission chairman, adding, “We also insist on the post-humous recognition of Chief MKO Abiola as President of Nigeria and his portrait to be displayed among past Nigerian presidents and Heads of State.”
Abiola’s son, Jamiu, called on President Buhari, who once declared annulment of the June 12 as a crime against Nigerians by General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime, to ensure that the perpetrators of the annulment of the most credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria history were punished for the offence.