June 12 would forever be a memorable day in the lives of Nigerians. Although I wasn’t yet born when the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (M.K.O) won the ill-fated June 12, 1993 elections, the stories I have heard would always linger in my mind.
I remember my mum always singing every 12th of June, “M.K.O na our man oh”, an extract from his campaign song at the time.
In 1993, M.K.O was the presidential candidate representing the Social Democratic Party alongside Bashir Tofa who represented the National Republican Convention.
M.K.O won the election in a landslide, garnering 8,341,309 votes. The election was however annulled by the then military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Oh, what pains Nigerians must have faced then!
26 years later and now June 12 is now being celebrated as the democracy day in Nigeria. Although the bill was passed on June 6th, 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari to move the former democracy day from May 29th to June 12th, it was only officially implemented and celebrated this year.
The journey to June 12as a celebration of our Democracy Day has taken a while but I can say for a fact that many Nigerians are glad that M.K.O is finally being celebrated as he should be. The icing of the cake was the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium after him.
Democracy, defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people resonates well with June 12, 1993 still adjudged as Nigeria’s freest and fairest election which asserted the true wishes of the Nigerian people. We are grateful that the Buhari-led government has honoured the day. This is highly commendable.
President Buhari had refrained from giving a national address on his inauguration on May 29th and in his way of showing his support for the new Democracy Day finally gave his speech yesterday. He highlighted his plans to continue to improve the state of infrastructure which includes roads, electricity and the agricultural sector.
Once again, Happy Democracy Day, Nigeria!