*Soyinka to chair Democracy Day lecture
By Clifford Ndujihe, Acting Political Editor
LAGOS—WHILE President Muhammadu Buhari is being inaugurated for a second term in Abuja on June 12, a host of pro-democracy activists and political actors will be honouring late business mogul, Chief M.K.O Abiola posthumously as president-elect in Lagos.
This is part of the programmes outlined by the June 12 Movement to mark the 26th anniversary of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola
The Federal Government, last year recognised June 12 as democracy day instead of May 29.
And this year, President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be sworn in for a second term on May 29 but the inauguration ceremony, which will be attended by world leaders, will be held on June 12.
Confirming the plan, in a joint statement by Prof Anthony Kila (Chairman, Planning Council), and Mr. Abdulmumuni Abiola (for hosts), conveners of the June 12 Democracy Movement of Nigeria, an umbrella body for pro-democracy activists and stakeholders associated with the June 12 pro-democracy struggles in Nigeria, applauded President Buhari for his endorsement and recognition of June 12.
The statement reads: “This is against the background of the Federal Government’s emergent official recognition of the Day; June 12th as Nigeria’s Democracy Day and Chief MKO Abiola as the winner (President-Elect) of the democratic elections conducted on that day in 1993, therefore making this year’s commemoration unique, being the 26th edition to be organised by June 12 Stakeholders and Pro democracy Activists and the very first to be commemorated officially as a public holiday by the entire country in view of the official pronouncement of the Federal Government on 6th June 2018.
“Federal Government’s intervention, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, was in endorsement of the democratic struggles of Nigerians for the revalidation of the free, fair, credible democratic elections held in Nigeria on June 12 1993 but annulled by the Military Government under IBB command, as well as the recognition of the struggles of Nigerians for the restoration of democratic rule in Nigeria, initiated on June 12, 1993, which eventually cost the winner, MKO Abiola his precious life on July 7th 1998 for refusing to compromise the People’s mandate, an incident which later culminated into forcing the military to midwife the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria.
“Therefore, in appreciation of the endorsement and honour done to the struggles of the June 12 pro Democracy Movement by the Federal Government, the historic significance and wider embrace of this year’s commemoration, the June 12 Democracy Movement of Nigeria has designed the 2019 nationwide celebrations to be preceded by a major breakfast session of prayers, tributes and honours slated for MKO Abiola’s residence in Lagos…
“It is in the light of the above collaborative spirit and our sincere appreciation to President Buhari for his government official solidarity with June 12 pro democracy struggles that we have also requested the Federal Government and 10 state governments to nominate two representatives each into the 2019 Planning Council of the June 12 Democracy Day event.”
Soyinka to chair Democracy Day lecture
Apart from Abiola, the movement said three governors, five federal lawmakers and seven eminent Nigerians would be honoured at the June 12 celebration and lecture in Lagos, to be chaired by Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.