The government of Oyo state under the leadership of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, has joined other states in the southwestern region of the country in showering encomiums on the hero of June 12, the late Chief MKO Abiola. Against the popular rumors that Oyo state was not declaring any public holiday, the government has actually declared Monday, June 13, as public holiday in commemoration of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
A statement gotten by IBPulse and issued by the Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to the Governor, Mr. Yomi Layinka, conveyed the governor’s decision today Sunday.
“June 12 remains a watershed in the history of the country, because of the significance of the day in the nation’s democratic journey, having broken all ethnic and religious barriers. The annulled election is yet to be matched in terms of freeness, fairness, transparency, openness and widespread acceptability,” Layinka said in the statement.
Much as the electoral umpire that midwifed subsequent elections had tried, Oyo state government noted that the annulled election remains the best in terms of organization and no system adopted for the conduct of subsequent elections is yet to match Option A4 used to conduct the June 12 election.
The statement reads further:
“Besides, the resolve of Nigerians to put aside their differences and troop out en masse to collectively vote for a positive change was a demonstration of the fact that Nigerians were not ready to negotiate the unity of the country even in the face of diversity.
“That the symbol of the annulled election, Chief MKO Abiola, opted to pay the supreme price to defend his mandate has deepened democracy and the price he paid is what the comfort the political leaders are enjoying up till today.”
In an unusual request, the governor urged the Federal Government to immortalize and officially recognize Abiola as a former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to confer on him the highest honour in the land befitting of a former president.
“Political leaders should be prepared to leave their comfort zones and be prepared to make sacrifices to defend the democracy we are enjoying today and should not allow parochial interest to overshadow the collective interest of the electorate,” government stated.
“There is no doubt that Abiola won the election, despite failed attempts by those that contested the election with him to twist facts and re-write history.
“We must keep the memory of Abiola alive and the least we can do is to continue to commemorate the day and bring out its fond memories as a lesson in electoral transparency and openness.
“We should not forget him as he remains one of the greatest martyrs this country has ever produced, so that generations yet unborn will know that somebody laid down his life in defence of democracy and the rule of law.
“His death in custody of the then Federal Government is known to God and may his soul continue to rest in perfect peace.”