Idowu Olakunle, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has declared that the Gateway State deserves the title of ‘Pillar of Democracy in Nigeria.’
The Governor made the assertion while delivering his speech to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day, the anniversary of the June 12 1993 election which was annulled by the military administration of Ibrahim Babangida.
By the immeasurable contributions of the people of the State to the advancement and survival of democracy in the pre and post independence Nigeria, the Governor said Ogun State deserves special recognition
Abiodun, described the June 12, 1993 election, which had been adjudged as the freest and fairest in the political history of Nigeria by many analysts, as a watershed in the Nigeria’s political journey, adding that MKO Abiola remains a compass and symbol of democracy in Nigeria.
He added that Ogun State is richly blessed to have produced a personality like the late business mogul, with his enviable and enduring legacies of selflessness, doggedness, consistency and perseverance.
According to him, Ogun State and indeed the entire nation and global community at large have really missed his ingenuity and brilliance.
The governor lauded the quality of leadership and level of patriotism exhibited by former President Muhammadu Buhari, for reviewing June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria, noting that history would forever be kind to him for that significant pronouncement.
Abiodun, therefore, called on Nigerians, irrespective of tribe and political affiliations to rally round President Bola Tinubu on his journey of renewed hope as a way of rekindling the dashed hope of 1993.
He said: “Exactly thirty years ago, Nigerians, irrespective of faith, tribe or political affiliations united behind a man, Late Chief MKO Abiola, in an unprecedented free and fair election, which was later brutally annulled by suffocating military junta of those days and the rest became history.
“While we would continue to miss one of the greatest illustrious sons of our State that ever lived, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the martyr and compass of democracy in Nigeria, our solace lies in his enduring legacies of selflessness, doggedness, consistency and perseverance. Obviously, Ogun State is richly blessed to have produced such a great personality like the late Chief MKO Abiola.
“It is on that note that I commend and salute the statesmanship exhibited by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, who graciously reviewed June 12 as Democracy Day; he is without doubt a man of history by that singular pronouncement.”
The Governor added: “This year’s democracy day and the commemoration of the June 12, 1993 is intrinsically significant; aside the passion and euphoria of celebrating the rebirth of new Nigeria and conscious struggle to liberty, unity and freedom, it is gratifying that one of the dependable, loyal and dogged lieutenants of MKO Abiola, and ardent proponent of the June 12 struggle, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is today the President of Nigeria.
“On our part as a Government, we have changed the paradigm of governance in Ogun State with inclusive ideology and new order of development, in which every individual is important to our developmental agenda. We completely believes in the virtues which democracy offers. We have faith in the ability of the people to freely choose their leaders in an atmosphere free of rancour and coercion.”
Speaking at the event were several pro-democracy groups and human rights activists, who unanimously applauded the great sacrifice made by late MKO Abiola, which culminated into the present democratic gains in Nigeria and the essence of political stability since 1999.
One of them, Dr Niran Molaolu, specifically lauded Governor Abiodun for sustaining the democratic ideals and ethos the late Abiola stood for, coupled with his idea of poverty alleviation and human capital development drive.
Highlights of the occasion was cutting of cake to mark the special day and sharing of gifts among students by t