JUNE 12 (1993): What We Need To Know.

M.K.O. Abiola
By Hamza-Afeez Eniola Onireke

Introduction:

Today, June 12, 2017, marks exactly 24 years after Nigeria held her first Presidential election since 1983 military coup that ousted the Buhari-Idiagbon regime. The result was a victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who defeated Bashir Tofa of National Republican Convention with 8,341, 309 votes over the latter’s 5,952, 087, a total of 14, 293, 396. The election, which saw Nigerians jettisoning ethnic and primordial sentiments in electing leaders of their choice first in the history of the country, recorded the SDP with 58.36% and NRC 41. 64% votes respectively. However, the election was later, precisely 11 days after, annulled by military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida leading to a crisis that ended with General Sanni Abacha seizing power later in the year.

June 12 to this moment seem just like yesterday, but it is not just another day in Nigeria; because in progressive ideological circles and democratic ideals, today is regarded as the authentic ‘Democracy Day’ as against the “May 29″ popularly celebrated by the federal government. Despite the little recognition given by the Federal government to this historic date, ‘June 12’ has been heartily celebrated in all South-western states in Nigeria to commemorate the event that transformed the political landscape of Nigeria.

Be that as it may, let me quickly take us down the memory lane so as to capture the significant events that circumvented the inevitability of June 12, 1993:

Early life:

To start with, his name, Kashimawo, means ” Let us wait and see”. Moshood Abiola was his father’s twenty-third child but the first of his father’s children to survive infancy, hence the name ‘Kashimawo’. It was not until he was 15 years old that he was properly named Moshood, by his parents. MKO showed entrepreneurial talents at a very young age, at the age of nine he started his first business selling firewood. He would wake up at dawn to go to the forest and gather firewood, which he would then cart back to town and sell before going to school, to support his old father and his siblings. He later founded a band at age fifteen where he would perform at various ceremonies in exchange for food. Time will not permit me to delve into his early biography, as such, I’ll be chronicling the events that necessitated the June 12, 1993 incidence and its aftermath.

Abiola as a Politician:

Abiola’s involvement in politics was at a young age. He was 19 years old when he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1979. This was the genesis of his political martyrdom which eventually culminated in his running for the June 12, 1993 Presidential election alongside his running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe (a Muslim-Muslim ticket) under the professor Humphrey Nwosu led National Electoral Commission.

Bashir Tofa, his contender, was overwhelmingly defeated by Abiola with the latter, even winning in the former’s home state. However, the poll, which was adjudged to be the most peaceful election in the history of Nigeria since independence and universally recognized as the freest and fairest in the Nigeria’s democratic experience was, eleven days after, truncated by Ibrahim Babangida claiming that the election was ‘corrupt and unfair’. He also alleged that his action was justified on the basis of ”saving Judiciary from being ridiculed and politicised locally and internationally”. These excuses by Babangida were seen by many critics as nothing but Hocus-Pocus and baseless. This incidence which plunged the country into a political crisis consequently galvanised into the bloodless coup of General Sani Abacha the same year.

In 1994, Abiola declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, an area mainly dominated by Lagos indigenes, after he returned from a trip to solicit the support of international community for his mandate. After declaring himself president, he was declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of the military president General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.

Abiola in Detention:

MKO was detained for four years, largely in solitary confinement with Qur’an, Bible and fourteen guards as companions. Nevertheless, it may interest you to know that; two years after his detention, his second wife, Kudirat Abiola was assassinated in Lagos in 1996 after declaring public support for her husband. Abiola continued to remain in detention as he refused to subscribe to the condition of his release which was the renouncement of his mandate as insisted by Abacha.

The death of Abiola:

Abiola died on July 7, 1998 at 60, on the day he was due to be released from incarceration under suspicious circumstances shortly after the death of General Sani Abacha who died a month earlier. The official Autopsy stated that Abiola died of natural causes, but Abacha’s Chief Security Officer, Al-Mustapha alleged he was beaten to death.

Why Should He (MKO) be Celebtated:

One spectacular thing about MKO Abiola is that he used a ‘Hope’ campaign which President Obama also used. Many people have paid attention to the word ‘Hope’ being used to convey a message of possibility during Obama’s 2008 election in the U.S, but 15 years before then in Africa’s most populous nation, MKO Abiola had successfully used the ‘Hope’ message as his Campaign Strategy.

The struggle and death of Abiola have been widely regarded as the event that helped Nigeria return to democracy, with Abiola himself been regarded as one of the greatest elder statesmen Nigeria ever had. June 12 is thus, a day to remember Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the then ‘Are-Ona Kakan fo’ ( Generallisimo ) of Yorubaland as well as other democracy martyrs in Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.
Thank you.

Hamza-Afeez Eniola Onireke is a Thinker, Historian, Social Critic and Public Affairs Analyst.

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To Lead is to Conquer… (a poem).

To lead is to conquer;
Verily, the Masters are Doctoring the philosophy.
So firm they stand their reign.
Their crafty-trickish spears spare no one.
Sadly, the quest to conquer
Have misplaced their desire to lead.

In the lead to conquer,
They were favored by your manipulative thumbs.
Those favors have indexed them into various positions of honor.
But like forgotten stories,
The sights of their middle fingers flaunted at you with pride
Is more than bizarre.

The new facets have them pitched against one another;
And the innocent ‘you’ will prolly be the mercenary.
You had thought they would actually fight for your course.
Maliciously, the reverse is the case.
Sorry, the Change agenda is on hold;
We have a bigger Chase to mould.

To lead requires strength, wisdom and desire.
To conquer; just own the masses.
They are readied instruments with little or no knowlege about the rivalry.
For as long as you have them,
Your rivals’ best tactics can only take them as far as a lid behind lead.
Surely, To lead is to conquer…

ONDO: Rotimi Akeredolu sworn in as 6th executive Governor of the state. (full text of his swearing in speech)

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Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu being sworn in as the 6th executive Governor of Ondo state.

Earlier today in Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu(SAN) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) took the oath of office to be sworn in as the sixth democratically-elected governor of the state after Olusegun Mimiko of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Recall that he came out victorious from a closely contested gubernatorial election in November which almost pitched party leaders against one another. Amazingly and predictably, the presence of Leaders of the All Progressives Congress, including Bola Tinubu and Bisi Akande on the event held in Akure, the state capital indicated a renewed truce between him and the new governor after the controversy that trailed November’s gubernatorial elections.

In a later tweet, Asiwaju urged all state party members to Continue reading

FRESH XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS IN SOUTH AFRICA: Nigerian students stage protest in Abuja; issues 48hrs leave ultimatum to South Africans in Nigeria.

Following the anti immigrant (xenophobic) protest in Pretoria, South Africa, earlier this week, members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) launched a counter protest against South Africans yesterday in Abuja. The protest was aimed that sending down a strong warning to both the Nigerian and South African government over the looming xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

In reaction, the protesters took to the offices of South African owned companies (MTN, Multichioce) and also the South High Commission office in the capital to express their dissatisfaction. The protesters also burnt the South African national flag at the Commission to Continue reading

110 Rice Milling Machines to be Installed in Different Part of The Country to Boost Rice Production — Presidency.

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Senior Special Assisstant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to the Senior Special Assisstant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Federal Government has purchased 110 rice milling machines to boost rice production in the Country. This is aimed at consolidating the efforts of the government so far on rice production. The acquired rice mills will be installed in significant parts of the country before the end of July.

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Mr. Garba Shehu confirmed this development on his Facebook page on Monday. In his post, he was also quoted to have said that Nigeria was the second largest producer of rice in the world. A claim which seemingly proves controversial as some media account users have debunked the claim. Backing his claim, He Continue reading

AFCON 2017 (SEMI FINALS) + fixtures and results

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After series of thrilling and wonderful matches so far, the Total African Cup of Nations 2017 is approaching the final lap. Eight teams successfully scaled through the group stage huddle. The quarterfinal encounters were also not without surprises. After the departure of the big gun of the tournament (ivory coast), all attention shifted to Senegal to see if they can break their old jinx to win the cup. To every one’s surprise, Senegal also crashed out losing to Cameroon in a penalty shoot out. Liverpool striker, Sadio Mane was the only taker to miss the penalty in the shootout. This saw Cameroon booked their place in the Semi finals over Senegal.

Elsewhere, Burkina Faso defeated Tunisia in a cracker to also secure their spot in the Semis. Egypt knocked out Morocco in a tough North African tie to stage a successful semi final come back since they last won the competition. Ghana also cruised past DR Congo [2-1] in a tough quarter final tie to see them through to the semis, they will now face Egypt While Cameroon take on Burkina Faso in the semi final fixtures.

Fixtures and results. 1/2/2017

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