June 12: Declare MKO as ex-President, Osun Civil Societies urge FG

As the nation commemorates this year’s June 12, civil society organisations in Osun under the aegis cores of Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Wednesday in Osogbo urged the federal government to declare the presumed winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as an ex-President.

They maintained that declaring Abiola as a former president of Nigeria would consolidate the supreme sacrifice he made for the enthronement of democracy in the country.

The Coalition of Civil Societies in Osun state comprises of pressure, human rights, pro-democracy rights activists.

Speaking at a public lecture on June 12 celebration after marching through the streets of Osogbo, the coordinator of Justice Now Foundation, one of the civil society groups, Comrade Waheed Lawal commended President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring Abiola, and his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.

He said all the human right groups were appealing to Buhari to declare Abiola and Kingibe as ex-president and former vice-president, adding that the Buhari led administration should also approve the entitlements due them as the former president and vice-president, respectively.

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According to Lawal, “this is the first time since the history of our struggle for actualisation of this historic date in our national history as a people that the government will be celebrating June 12.

“This is a very momentous day that we can never be quick to forget, because of its democratic significance as a day Nigerians defied every divisive tendency to elect Bashorun MKO Abiola as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a mass accepted, free, fair and transparent Presidential election on June 12, 1993.

” We wish to express our sincere gratitude to the people of Nigeria, civil societies, human rights, and other pressure groups for sustaining the tempo of agitation for national recognition of this day as democracy day in Nigeria. But for the people and their determination never to give up even in the face of jackboot dictatorship, the federal government’s recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day may remain impossible. We, therefore congratulate Nigerians who are the real winners.”

“We equally wish to appreciate President Muhamadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo for acceding to the echoes from the street with this long-awaited recognition and honour to Bashorun MKO Abiola. History will record this patriotic and heroic move in your favour.

“It is, however, important to state that it is not yet hurt; as a nation, we must take a step further by officially declaring the result of the election while former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, and other dramatis personae are still living to properly situate the history and complete the records for this present generation of Nigerians and that of the future.

Echoing a similar view, Comrade Amitolu Shittu, who is the chairman CDRP said the only way through which Abiola’s name could be immortalized was for the federal government to declare him as an ex-president.

Shittu added that there is no gainsaying that late Abiola laid down his life for the emancipation and liberation of people of the country, saying Abiola would remain the hero and icon of true democracy.

Shittu further said: “We demand a comprehensive inquiry into all matters and issues of human right abuses relating to June 12, and adequate compensation to all the victims either dead or living. This will not only serve a purpose of justice, but it will also equally melt away misgivings of people against the state. If this is done, justice would have been well served.”

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