JUNE 12 NOT A SOUTH-WEST STRUGGLE
With President Muhammadu Buhari signing into law a bill declaring June 12 the new Democracy Day, 2019 is the first time that the anniversary of the historic date of the 1993 Presidential Election would be marked as a holiday nationwide to celebrate democracy.
Business mogul MKO Abiola was believed to have won the election which was later annuled by the Military Junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida. This culminated in a series of events which led to the military handing over on May 29th 1999. That handover date became the new symbol to celebrate Democracy Day.
Nevertheless, most of the South West states still went on to celebrate June 12 as Democracy Day. And with a lot of protests to actualize the said mandate of Abiola mostly taking place in Lagos and other Saouth West states, many in the land have called the struggle a South-West thing.
But Ayo Adewole, former Chairman of Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos State, disagrees with that notion. Speaking on Nigeria Info FM’s Hard Facts, Adewole said, “ the June 12 struggle was not a South West struggle, it was a Nigerian people struggle”.
The Human Rights and Civil Society Campaigner insisted that “the protest was all over because Abiola won everywhere in the country. He also defeated Bashiru Tofa in his local government and his polling unit and people came out en masse to protect that mandate”.
“I remember that Pa Alfred Rewane became a casualty of that struggle. He was asssasinated. I also know that several of our comrades particularly in Kano, Kaduna were also gunned down. In the South East, a lot of people were killed”, Adewole explained.
The former Local Government Chairman was quick to also point out that “when the military junta gave orders to the jackboot soldiers, it was all over the country. The casualty was all over, it was not a South West thing”.