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June 12: Sanwo-Olu, Akinrinade, Ndubuisi Kanu Give Kudos To Buhari.

Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring the winner of June 12 election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, and making the day when the election held, a national public holiday.

Sanwo-Olu gave this commendation at two different events to commemorate June 12 anniversary.

The two events were the annual June 12 celebration by pro-democracy groups at the Abiola's residence in Ikeja and the maiden National Democracy Celebration 2019 organised by the state government which took place at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television (LTV) compound, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, commended Buhari for having the courage to do the right thing and correcting an error of the nation's historic record, saying the outcome of June 12 had demonstrated that free and fair elections were possible in Nigeria and that people's hope can only be suppressed for a while.

'The shining moment we are experiencing today peers back into our recent past and calls forth memories of that fateful day, it reminds us that free and fair elections are possible, that new beginnings are possible and that hope, the people's hope can only be dashed and buried for a moment.

'It teaches us that hope, the pursuit of justice and love of the people do not die no matter how sound they may seem to have been defeated by hard and cruel people,' the governor said.

The governor equally gave kudos to those who were at the vanguard of the struggle for June 12, including former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Amos Akingba, Mr. Dele Alake, among others, even as he added that Lagos had since remained a trailblazer in the struggle for the enthronement of true democracy and progressive governance.

According to him, those in the struggle had sacrificed their time, resources and their very lives so that the essence of June 12 might be acknowledged and history put in proper perspective, adding that every Nigerian had become a beneficiary of that single event in history that gave birth to the democracy that the country was now into.

'Indeed we are all beneficiaries of that single event in history that birthed a taste for democracy and today has guaranteed a voice for the people, a vote for every citizen and had established a government that people want and deserve,' Governor Sanwo-Olu said.

Speaking further, the governor recalled that June 12 began a journey for this nation, saying that the journey was still on because the nation had not gotten to its destination but would someday surely arrive there.

However, he said to arrive such destination quickly, the nation must do things differently like sacrificing some deeply held assumptions and traditions while thinking differently.

The governor urged Nigerians must never forget qualities such as unity, love, togetherness, oneness and a greater future for all Nigerians and the country that late Abiola stood for.

According to him, part of such attributes is that 'some people are not more important than others that all Nigerians are equal and only on this understanding can we move forward and thrive as a nation.'

The governor, while saying that democracy holds only to the extent that people cherish and nurture it, urged the citizens to ensure they hold their elected officers responsible on how they managed the resources belonging to all, adding: 'As citizens, we must hold elected officers responsible on how they manage our resources.'

He, however, assured that his government would be a listening one and also act in the best interest of all the of the state.

'We will, however, in the best tradition of democratic governance, carry along with the people in the process and implement policies and programmes in the interest of all residents, stakeholders, and investors towards achieving our dream of 'Greater Lagos,'' the governor said.

Speaking on the theme of the celebration, 'Democracy and Restoration of True Federalism in Nigeria,' Professor Lola Ogundowole, a retired Professor of Philosophy from University of Lagos, said the fact that Nigeria was only able to realise the importance of June 12, a quarter of a century after, reflected the contradictory nature of Nigeria.

This was just as he said Abiola was the first elected president but was never allowed to step into Aso Rock.

Ogundowole said Nigeria had never had true federalism, contending that what the country needed was a conference of all sovereign ethnic groups in Nigeria to sit down, discuss and decide the fate of the country as a sovereign nation.

In his opening remarks earlier, chairman of the event, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), congratulated the past heroes of democracy in the country for their struggle for democracy to be put in place in Nigeria, just as he sadly noted that a lot of blood of Nigerian youths had been shed to get to where the country was today.

While equally expressing sadness that a true and free poll was canceled in the country in 1993, the NADECO chieftain, however, Akinrinade said it was a thing of joy that Buhari brought back hope to the people of the country, even as he condemned the selfishness of some Nigerian leaders in respect of the June 12 struggle.

This was just as he declared that Buhari had honoured Nigerians by honouring late Abiola, the symbol of June 12 poll.

Another hero of June 12, Ndubuisi Kanu in his goodwill message, spoke on the need for unity among the citizens so that the country can live in peace.

'We have no choice than to unite together and live in peace if we don't want to continue to suffer in the country. We have no choice than to live in unity and oneness and in love with one another for the sake of our future generation, these were the virtues that June 12 brought about,' he said.

Former Head of Service in Lagos, Sunny Ajose, in his own remark, recalled that in spite of Nigeria's diversity, Nigerians came out and voted for Abiola, the winner of June 12 elections.

While also commending President Buhari for honouring Abiola posthumously, Ajose called on the National Assembly to ensure that power was devolved to the states and local governments from the center.

According to him, this will ensure that the country's economy, education, among others were boosted for the good of generality of Nigerians.

On his part, Mr. Dele Alake said he was directly involved in the history of June 12, recalling that the late MKO called him to his home the night of January 3, 1993, to tell him to make a publication that he was seeking the office of president to serve the county.

Alake, who was then editor of the defunct Concord newspapers established by the late business mogul, said: 'He (Abiola) made me make a publication announcing his choice to serve the country. The story which then got published was titled: 'Why I want to serve.'

He insisted that the late MKO Abiola was motivated to serve the country, saying everything about him was purely service to the people and his fatherland, adding that even his programmes titled: 'Farewell to Poverty' was just about something that Nigerians needed to imbibe.

Speaking at Abiola's residence, Deputy President of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Isa Aremu, praised President Buhari for accepting the reality of Nigeria and declaring June 12 as a National public holiday.

The labour leader also commended governors of South- West states, especially Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for starting to have m June 12 as a public holiday.

Lola Abiola Edewor, daughter of the late MKO Abiola, who was present at the event, tasked President Buhari to tackle insecurity in the country.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Jun 12, 2019
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