Tuesday, 13 June 2017

June 12: Senator Shehu Sani attacks Obasanjo over MKO

June 12: Senator Shehu Sani attacks Obasanjo over MKO

- Senator Shehu Sani has lashed out at Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for not honouring MKO Abiola on Monday, June 12 

- Sani says Obansanjo’s failure to honour the late Abiola reflected the effort of the political class to suppress the sacrifice of those who fought for democracy 

- The lawmaker says MKO is one those whi paid with his blood the price for democracy in Nigeria, and deserves great respect from every 

Senator Shehu Sani says the refusal of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognise and honour the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late MKO Abiola, is a reflection of Nigeria’s institutional failure 

The senator representing Kaduna-Central senatorial district, noted that when Nigeria finally attained democratic rule in 1999, none of those who suffered in the hands of the military while struggling to entrench democracy in the country got any political position. 

He said it was, therefore, not surprising that the present crop of democrats in the country, who did not sacrifice anything for the nation’s democracy, were only interested in amassing wealth for themselves at the expense of the masses. 

Sani delivered a keynote address on Monday at the 2017 National Breakfast Prayers and tribute session in honour of Abiola

The event with the theme, “June 12 movement and the hope of equitable restructuring for Nigeria,” was also to commemorate the 24th anniversary of June 12, 1993 and it held at the late Abiola’s house in Ikeja, Lagos. 

Sani argued that despite the Federal Government’s failure to honour the late Abiola, the June 12, 1993 presidential election that the late businessman won, but which the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled, laid the foundation for the current democratic rule in the country. 

He said, “Without the struggle of June 12, there could not have been democracy in Nigeria today. The change and the experience in the 2015 election was part of the seed of June 12, it was the same forces that forced the military out power that rallied Nigerians to eject the PDP out of power.” 

He said Obansanjo’s failure to honour the late Abiola reflected the effort of the political class to suppress the sacrifice of those who went to jail and those who paid the supreme price for the democracy that Nigeria has today. 

Sani said, “It is not simply about Chief MKO Abiola not being recongnised by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, it is about an institutional decision of the political class, who continues to suppress the role played by the free press bringing about democracy…17 years down democratic lane, hardly will you see any of those that were on the streets of Lagos protesting for democracy ever being recognised with even an award of OON, which is the lowest. As they share oil blocks to themselves, share positions to themselves, so they share national honour to themselves.”

Also speaking, a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said had the late Abiola been allowed to enjoy the mandate given to him by Nigerians, there might not have been the different sectional agitations in the country. 

Ikuforiji said, “The man who paid the supreme sacrifice, he had nothing to do with poverty as of the time he put down his life for Nigeria; our then President-elect had made many Nigerians from all walks of life millionaires on his own. He had contributed to the growth of many communities across Nigeria and it had nothing to do with tribe or religion". 

In a similar vein, former Lagos state governor and All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Tinubu, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, have described the June 12, 1993, elections as a part of Nigeria’s history that must live on in the consciousness of Nigerians. 

Tinubu, in a statement on Sunday to celebrate the 24th anniversary of June 12, said that without without “the uncompromising resistance to military rule engendered by the annulment of the June 12 election, there would most probably be no 4th Republic today and we would still be groaning under military dictatorship.” 

Tinubu described the late Abiola, the winner of the election, as an embodiment of “the eternal Yoruba adage, which says that death is better with honour than life without dignity.” 

In the statement titled, ‘What June 12 Taught Us,’ Tinubu said, “The blood of those who gave their yesterday and sacrificed even their lives for the democracy and freedom we enjoy today was not shed in vain. The truth is June 12 is the mother of May 29. 

“The annulment was a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the millions of people who expended so much time, energy and material resources to help ensure victory for Chief MKO Abiola. 

The late MKO selflessly committed so much of his substantial fortune towards ensuring his victory at the polls.

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