By Dapo Akinrefon
NOTABLE Nigerians yesterday converged at the residence of late Chief MKO Abiola to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential elections. They also paid glowing tributes to heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle, chief among who is Chief Abiola.
Professor Pat Utomi, Protem chairman, Social Democratic Mega Party
We must look back and pay tribute to MKO Abiola and others who lost their lives during the June 12 struggles. Today should be regarded as Nigeriaâ€™s memorial day because our heroes ensured we have democracy in Nigeria.
We are actually worse than what we used to be in June 12, 1993. Indeed, weâ€™ve been moving backwards, but we must ensure we have democracy.
As we mark our own memorial day, I remember those who have lost their lives. We must let the spirit of Chief MKO Abiola lead the struggle.
Jamiu Abiola, representing the Abiola family
Seventeen years goneÂ and itâ€™s tragedy that the Abiola family and the country have endured the pains of losing those who sacrificed for democracy. The military would not have left if not for the sacrifice of the likes of Chief MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome Kuti and others. There is no way we can move forward without looking back, we must acknowledge those who laid down their lives for the enthronement of democracy.
Dele Momodu, Publisher Ovation Magazine
Today should be one of the happiest days but unfortunately, remains the saddest day for Nigeria. Sitting here brings back the memories of the June 12 period. The most important thing is that IBB and his conspirators were determined to rob Nigeria of their greatest gain. It is left for us to honour Abiola, we must not get tired of the struggle.
Mike Igini, lawyer and human rights crusader
It is good to celebrate a great man who fought for democracy. As we sit here, we must remember that but for Abiola, Nigeria would not be where we are today. Today (yesterday) is a great day in the history of Nigeria. June 12 should be regarded as democracy day and not May 29.
Ankio Briggs, Niger Delta activist
I cannot praise Abiola because I didnâ€™t know him personally, but I can only speak in awe of him. He has left a great legacy for Nigeria, he laid down his life for the ordinary man. Today (yesterday), Nigeria has the opportunity to believe in themselves the way Abiola believed in them. 2011 has been declared the year of Abiola, we will give Abiolaâ€™s spirit the opportunity to change Nigeria.
Mohammed Fawehinmi, representing the Fawehinmi family
I congratulate Abiola for giving us this platform. For the little period I had with him, I envisaged what will happen today. Chief MKO Abiola has touched our lives whether we knew him or not.
Chris Nwokobia, lawyer
We are today (yesterday) celebrating June 12 because we believe in the oneness of this country. We must earmark June 12, we must let the values for which Abiola died to fade away. June 12 and the heroes must be honoured, they must be seen as the heroes of our nation.