…Describe MKO as bastion of modern democracy

By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Efe Onodjae

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Prof Pat Utomi, Senator Shehu Sanni and prominent Lagos based lawyer and civil rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, on Sunday led other speakers to stress the need for credible polls in 2023 general polls, saying, Nigeria must get it right in the next electoral process.

They made the remarks in their separate address at an event to commemorate the 32 Anniversary of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election won by late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO Abiola and second anniversary of Democracy Day, the June 12 Democracy Movement, held at Abiola’s residence, Ikeja, Lagos.

Abiola died in military incarceration for refusing to renounce the historic mandate given to him by Nigerians at June 12 1993 presidential election.

Federal Government has declared Monday as a public holiday to mark the event.

The event, themed “Hope 93 and June 12 Elections: Lessons for Credible Elections in 2023,” was attended by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Abiola’s family members, comrade Wale Okunniyi, convener, as well as eminent Nigerians and pro democracy activists at MKO Abiola Family Compound and tomb site in Lagos, named in 2015 as Nigeria’s Democracy Centre by the June 12 Movement.

Most of the speakers faulted the leadership selection process in Nigeria, saying that must change on 2023 general polls.


Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State said as the country marks 2022:Democracy Day,  electoral umpire should make the process credible while politicians should use public money for public funds

According to him, “We are here to thank all the family, and those in attendance for what we are doing today in honour of the hero, the man who sacrificed his life for his country, the man who lived for other people.

“On my way here, I have been asking myself that we will all have to live as one Nigeria and ask ourselves questions, for what he sacrificed for, where are we today? for all what he wanted to do for Nigeria, where are we today.

“He was the first person that made me vote in an election, his words were filled with wisdom, but in Nigeria this nation and where this Nation is, currently, we are the best. Our vote must count if this country must move forward. We have a point where every vote cast- must count.

“It is regretful that a better Nigeria that Abiola laid down his life for is not yet realisable.

“So, we are here for remembrance and we are using this opportunity to call on everyone who is still in politics in Nigeria, to recommend ourselves to give in the ideals, which can be used.

“And to churches, together we should continue to pray for Nigeria, let our prayer be that should God touch the hearts of every politician to use public money for public growth.”


Utomi said ‘there is the need to make democracy work for the people, because right now, it is not working for them. Nigeria is being rule by incompetent and greedy leaders. If democracy works the people can easily replace that bad leadership.

“It is difficult to replace the bad leadership because democracy does not work in Nigeria, “it is impossible because there is no democracy in Nigeria.

“What it takes is to return Nigeria to democracy and rescue it from pseudo democracy, that should be done.

“The sacrifices that have been made are too much to lose this democracy, or to allow it to go the way it is going.

“The love of money in Nigeria now is too much so that it has changed many people for bad. The biggest fear I have for Nigeria is that in the next few years almost those in power will be  criminals where foreign Government would come and pick up our president for trial like that of Panama President Noriega.


Speaking, Ozekhome noted that the MKO used June 12 1993 as a watershed with his blood on the alter of democracy.

Oziekhome said June 12, 1993 elections represented the coming together of Nigerians to seek nationhood, and it was an historical movement.

Oziekhome said Nigerians should use the opportunity of June 12 anniversary to get things right and prayed that God should grant the country the opportunity to have a democracy that will serve the people.

He urged Nigerian leaders to go back to where they got it wrong in the memory of late Chief M K O Abiola.

Oziekhome, noted that in order to get things right in the country, the country requires new constitution which should be people driven, adding that “restructuring of the country is indispensable.”

Kila said that “June 12 election is so significant to the democracy we are enjoying now, because in the election Nigeria spoke with one voice, and saw themselves as one as they played down tribal sentiment, ethnic sentiment and religious sentiment.

He therefore, urged Nigerians to be vigilant and should not give room to those who want to corrupt the democratic system.


In his address, Shehu, who lamented that the current democracy “is a product of June 12 1993,” but has failed to produce expected dividends to Nigerians.

“June 12 is a day to immortalize those who fought for democracy like MKO, the bastion of today’s democracy.

“Is also a day to engage in national conversation on the way forward for Nigeria.

“Our democracy is just 22 years, a day like this is an opportunity to for us to discuss the way forward while appreciating all the battles and struggle for democracy.

“MKO symbolises democracy, justice, freedom. A man who sacrificed his life, privileges, comfort for the future of Nigeria and nothing is too much to immortalize him.”

While applauding the Federal Government for immortalizing MKO Abiola, Shehu said, “a moments like this will enlighten the young ones what June 12 is all about.”


Sanwo Olu, who was represented by the Secretary of the State Government, SSG, Folashade Jaji, urged Nigerians to “work at finding solutions to what is holding us back as a nation and hold on to tenents of democracy for the betterment of the country and her good people.”


Prof Anthony Kila, chairman of the organising committee June 12 Democracy Day celebrations, said the historic event aimed at complimenting the official recognition of June 12 by the Federal Government as Nigeria’s Democracy Day arising from the Martyrdom of MKO Abiola.

Kila said that June 12 election was so significant to the democracy “we are enjoying now, because in the election Nigeria spoke with one voice,and saw themselves as one as they played down tribal sentiment, ethnic sentiment and religious sentiment.”

He therefore, urged Nigerians to be vigilant and should not give room to those who want to corrupt the democratic system.

The event witnessed prayers, tributes, honouring of heroes and heroines of Nigeria’s democracy and the laying of wreaths of honour in memory of the Martyrdom of MKO Abiola, over the June 12, 1993 election adjudged as a major catalyst to birthing the current democratic rule in Nigeria.

Arch-Bishop Kumolu Solomon of Christ Live Evangelistic international Church, offered tye Christian prayer session, while Imam led the Muslim session.


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