LAGOS – As Nigerians celebrated June 12 as Democracy Day on Wednesday for the first time, Comrade Debo Adeniran, an activist and anti-corruption crusader, has said the day should have been named MKO Abiola Day in honour of the late business mogul and acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, which was annulled by the then Gen. Ibrahim Babangida military junta.
Adeniran, executive chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), who spoke exclusively to DAILY INDEPENDENT in Lagos, maintained that the late Chief Moshood Kolawole Abiola, Presidential candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), rekindled the hope of Nigerians in democracy and fought on the side of the people.
He recalled that Abiola, even before he became a partisan politician and presidential candidate, campaigned for reparation, was Pillar of Sports in Africa and non-discriminatory, stressing that he allowed his wealth to circulate in every part of the country.
Adeniran stated that the late martyr of democracy could have been better immortalised by naming June 12 MKO Abiola Day, rather that Democracy Day, as according to him, the nation was yet to have a democracy day.
He said it was a misnomer to call June 12 Democracy Day, as “There is indeed no democracy day. But, it is good because Abiola was a consistent participant and his declaration led to his death and the death of his wife. This qualified the day to be named MKO Abiola Day.”
Expanding, Adeniran said in 1993 the military junta just decreed two parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC), into existence without clear-cut ideologies and people’s impute, while secretariats were built as the military deemed fit, stressing that what took place then was not democratic.
He also maintained that the June 12 election was not truly free and fair and was not a secret ballot, maintaining that Option A4 was not democratic either.
Adeniran stressed: “Some of us have reservations on June 12. We should have called it MKO Abiola Day. June 12 is to dignify Ibrahim Babaginda (IBB), who created political parties and gave them ideologies instead of allowing the people to determine what they wanted.
“But, political offices were built where he liked and not where they have people. That Humphrey Nwosu could not have summoned courage to declare the winner of the election made it impossible for us not to have a holistic record on the election.
“Even the Option A4 was not democratic. That election might have been peaceful, but not fair. Other political parties and politicians were barred. People had no free choice.
“But, Abiola rekindled the hope of the people and fought on the side of the people. He campaigned for reparation, was Pillar of Sports in Africa, non-discriminatory. He allowed his wealth to circulate in every part of the country. He could have been immortalised by calling that day MKO Abiola Day.
“There is no democracy day. But, it is good because Abiola was consistent participant and his declaration led to his death and the death of his wife. This qualified the day to be named MKO Abiola Day. Babangida destroyed the people’s choice.”
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