June 12: Twenty Five Years after, Lessons to be learnt || By Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye

WE thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his courage to address the injustice against the Nigerian people’s fundamental right to vote freely to choose their leaders and for the votes to count which June 12 elections symbolised.

As an icing on the cake, Mr. President did not only recognise and declared June 12 as DEMOCRACY DAY, he also honoured the winner of June 12 who unfortunately was made to pay the supreme price of untimely death, Chief MKO Abiola, the highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR), a post well deserved.

Coupled with this good turning point in our nation’s history is the national honour to the gadfly and revolutionary icon of Nigerian human rights / democracy struggle, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

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The two highly respected noble Nigerian leaders I had privilege to work with at different periods of our nation’s touch march to democracy, as a Campaign Coordinator to MKO (for Youth, Hope ’93 Campaigns) and as a ‘Barricade Soul mate’ of Gani from my student’s unionism years at Great Ife, when our paths met during our wrong expulsion from school, and illegal detention; on the two occasions Gani gave us free legal service, and later at the several struggles he led for actualization of June 12 mandate.

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While I commend President Buhari for this great step to national reconciliation, I equally join other well meaning Nigerians that Mr. President goes further to send a Bill to the National Assembly for the immediate recognition of Chief MKO Abiola as the second elected President of Nigeria but who was not allowed to rule in order to avoid a possible annulment in future by evil forces in Nigeria.

While we celebrate the 25th anniversary of June 12 today with its new status, we should not allow the great lessons of the event to be lost on us.

These include:

* Democracy and democratic values as basic tenets for good governance and purposeful leadership.

* Unity in diversity translated to true nationhood where no one is oppressed and every citizen is free to live and prosper in any part of Nigeria peacefully.

* Economic freedom, wealth creation for citizens for proper farewell to, and abolition of poverty.

These should be our watchword and guiding principles as we celebrate June 12 and the matrys of the struggle both recognised, unknown and yet unsung.

I and my team in Oluyole Local Government also pledge to keep faith with this principle in the management of the council for the maximum benefit of All as we Work and Walk together for our common good.

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Happy Celebration and 25th Anniversary.

Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye
Executive Chairman, Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State.

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