By CHARLES KUMOLU
A former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has dismissed claims in some quarters that he betrayed a former Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Chief Frank Kokori, during the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
He also noted that had Kokori not survived his incarceration, he (Osoba) would have been blamed.
Osoba, who said this in Lagos at the launch of a book, Frank Kokori: The Struggle for June 12, regretted that those enjoying the benefits of June 12 struggle today were not among those who fought in the struggle.
He said: “I am here to celebrate Kokori and my survival too. It was alleged that I gave Kokori up. Thank God he survived. Otherwise I would have been blamed.
“Only 49 of us signed the document when NADECO was formed behind the late Moshood Abiola. The youngest of us then was Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information.
“My name would have died with Kokori. I know nothing about how he was betrayed and lured out to be arrested.”
In his remarks, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was represented by a former Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr. Dele Alake, said: “In spite of Kokori’s incarceration and torture, he remained a symbol of consistency, perseverance, responsibility and a galvaniser of oil workers who staged massive protests for the emancipation of Nigerians.
“I am aware of his role in the struggle for June 12 actualisation. I thank and appreciate him for the role he has played and is still playing for the enthronement of genuine democracy in Nigeria.”
The book is a memoir which gives account of the June 12 struggle. He noted that he wrote the book to showcase the heroes and gladiators who helped Nigeria achieve democracy, but were neglected in the present political dispensation.
“The book is a candid account of my roles and the roles that other heroes played in the quest to revalidate the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Kokori stated.
Also speaking, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was represented by Mr. Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, commended Kokori for the book, saying that no better person could tell the story of June 12.
The book reviewer, Mr. Kayode Komolafe, Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay newspapers, described it as distinct from other books on June 12.