Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and the President, Women Arise Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, have called on the Federal Government to give a post humus recognition to the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, as an elected president of the country.
They made the call on Monday at the Oja Agbo, Gbagura, Abeokuta family house of Abiola during the 24th anniversary of the election and almost 19 years after he died in detention.
Amosun, who described the late business mogul as a martyr that paid the supreme price for the democracy being enjoyed by Nigerians today, noted that June 12 transcended Ogun State, the South-West, Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
He lamented that the late MKO Abiola was the President Nigerians elected on June 12, 1993 but was never allowed to govern, stressing that the Federal Government should recognise him as a duly elected President.
His said, “He (Abiola) laboured so much for us, he paid the supreme price for Nigeria’s democracy. The struggle he died for transcends Abeokuta, Ogun State, the South-West and Africa too.
“Nigerians trusted him and that was why they voted for him and he must be recognised as an elected President. It is a history we must continue to recognise. He was the elected President but was denied the opportunity to govern.”
While he said that MKO Abiola lived on, he added that public office holders must emulate the sterling qualities of Abiola.
He said, “MKO will continue to live on and generations will come to know what June 12 is all about. June 12 will continue.”
While lending his voice to the call for restructuring of the polity, Amosun, however, called for caution.
“I am for it (restructuring), but we must do it in a way that Nigeria will be indivisible,” he said.
On her own part, Okei-Odumakin, also noted that the June 12, 1993 presidential election was a watershed in the history of Nigeria, in which the voters did not consider their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The human rights activist, who also said the election, was devoid of any form of violence, called on the Federal government to declare the late MKO Abiola posthumously as President.
She said, “June 12 is our own watershed. June 12 votes cut across tribal and religious lines; it helped in promoting national integrity. June 12 was about three choices. It was nonviolent, it was a raining day and people went out in a non-violent approach.
“MKO defeated Bashir Tofa in his own place, so Nigerians set aside primordial interests apart annd overwhelmingly voted for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Twenty-four years after June 12, we want to insist that there should be a posthumous declaration of MKO Abiola as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. June 12 will be declared our democracy day.”
The Publicity Secretary, Campaign for Democracy, Mr. Sunday Ogunyinka, said the spirit of June 12 lived on, adding that ‘you can kill a soul but you can’t kill the June 12 legacy’.
The spokesperson for the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said for the fact that June 12 was still being remembered 24 years after meant that ‘MKO is alive, the spirit is alive, June 12 is alive’.
He also explained that the nation was still grappling with the issues raised by that election.
A former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, who also attended the event, said the memory of Abiola could not be erased from the consciousness of Nigerians.