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June 12: Declare Abiola ex-President, activists tell Tinubu

Abiola-Edewor commended all the activists and patriots for keeping faith with the ideals of her late father and remembering him with love and passion.

President Bola Tinubu.

They spoke at the “2024 Memorial Programme for the Commemoration of June 12, 1993 Election” in Lagos

The event was organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in collaboration with the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and Moshood Abiola Mandate Movement.

Speaking, the National President, CDHR, Debo Adeniran, said that Tinubu, being an insider in the struggle for democracy for which Abiola sacrificed his life, must complete the process of honouring MKO by declaring him winner.

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”Asiwaju must declare him (Abiola) as a former President and June 12 as Bashorun MKO Abiola Day,” Adeniran said.

He said that recognising Abiola as former President would heal the wounds inflicted by all that happened at the time.

Describing Abiola as a pillar of trust in Africa and democracy in Nigeria, the activist said that the late business mogul was passionate about true democracy and putting an end to poverty and hunger.

Noting that Abiola was betrayed, Adediran said that the people believed strongly in him.

“His farewell to poverty made us believe him. He had been doing this before throwing his hat into the ring.

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“MKO was an indiscriminate philanthropist all over the world, giving was his second name,” he said.

He said the programme was organised to draw the attention of government and other stakeholders to the need to respect and defend the human and political rights of the citizenry and uphold the tenets of free and fair elections.

Also speaking, Babatunde Ogun, a former President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said that the late Abiola and other leaders- dead and lived dearly for democracy.

“Some of us paid dearly for what we believe in. Abiola had a passion for Nigeria, believing that African nations can do better.

“Those who are governing us must go back to his philosophies. In the last 25 years, we have not had such philosophies on display. We want to see Nigeria progressing,” Ogun said.

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He said that there was no way workers could be productive if they were not well paid by the government.

Alhaja Aminat Irawo, President/Founder, the June 12 Renewed Hope and one of the organisers of the event, said that President Tinubu needed to pacify all democracy activists by formally declaring Abiola as ex-President.

Irawo said: “Democracy Day is a special day, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu must please, announce MKO Abiola as the winner of the Hope 1993 Presidential Election that was annulled.

“Gen. Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida (IBB), who pretended over the election is alive and he has confirmed that MKO Abiola won the election.

“To heal all the wounds, President Bola Tinubu must declare Abiola as the winner and former President posthumously.”

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She appreciated former President Muhammadu Buhari for conferring the honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola and declaring June 12 as Democracy Day, replacing May 29.

Also, Dr Stephen Fasakin, Personal Assistant (Media) to the late Abiola, said that MKO Abiola went through hell for democracy.

“One day, we went through the back door here and climbed the fence to carry Chief MKO Abiola as big as he was, when police were looking for him.

“We are happy with what the government is doing, but the only thing we are asking President Tinubu is to call Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the Chairman of the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, to come and declare the results of the election.

“Let us give Abiola postmortem presidency and all the recognitions accorded to a President be given to him, even after death. We are looking into him."

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Earlier, Mrs Lola Abiola-Edewor, the first daughter of late Abiola, described June 12 as a special day and 31st anniversary as more special, because Nigeria was celebrating 25 years of interrupted democracy.

Abiola-Edewor commended all the activists and patriots for keeping faith with the ideals of her late father and remembering him with love and passion.

She said that his late father’s life was all about giving hope to the masses and using political power to end their suffering and hardship.

“We thank God that President Tinubu also believes in him (Abiola) and chose his mantra “Renewed Hope Agenda” from Abiola’s Hope 1993.

“I believe that this mantra reflects those promises that my father stood for. I want to enjoin President Tinubu that we are looking forward to seeing the renewed hope,” Abiola-Edewor said.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that activists later laid a wreath at the tomb of Abiola on his Ikeja residency.

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