The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has stated that the 2023 Democracy Day is very significant because one of the leading lights of the June 12 Struggle, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, is now the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The organization made this declaration in press released signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi as the nation marks the 30th anniversary of the presidential election considered then as the freest and most credible in the annals of Nigerian elections since independence in 1960.
It would be recalled that the election which was won by the business mogul, Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, GCFR, was annulled by the military administration that conducted it under the leadership of General Ibrahim Babangida.
The annulment caused a lot of uproar both within and outside Nigeria. Its aftermath made the country to be isolated by many countries for some years.
A lot of lives and properties were lost to the struggle to get the election de-annulled.
Many leading lights in Nigeria, including the winner of the election, Basorun M.K.O. Abiola, lost their lives while many had to run away for their dear lives. Among them was Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu who is now the president of the country.
Tinubu, along with many others, fought for the de-annulment of the election result under the auspices of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) formed for the purpose of actualizing the said election and the ousting of the military from the corridors of power in Nigeria.
Besides midwifing NADECO, Afenifere played pivotal roles in the struggle to actualize June 12. At a point Tinubu, like many others, had to flee the country. But they continued the struggle even while outside Nigeria.
According to Ajayi, the foregoing is recalled to underscore the fact that the person occupying the number one position in Nigeria today was a very active player in the struggle to restore civil rule in the country.
“Incidentally, he was part of Hope 93, the trajectory mounted by Abiola who contested on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the said election. Thus, Tinubu was very much aware of the plans Abiola had for transforming Nigeria had he became the president of the country. Herein, among others areas, lies the significance of Tinubu mounting the saddle exactly 30 years after the historic election that would have seen his (Tinubu’s) former political leader in Aso Rock. Meaning that he, Tinubu, now has the onerous responsibility of actualizing the noble dreams of Abiola for Nigeria and the Africa continent.
“A good student of history, Tinubu is quite familiar with those plans that Abiola had. Just as he is familiar with the life-transforming programmes of his older political icon, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Now, he has the responsibility to harmonise the big projects of these two men and integrate them with his own plans with a view to making Nigeria fulfill its destiny. The destiny of being the leading light for the Black Race all over the world. A destiny the country was on the path to fulfill but for the unfortunate military incursion of 1966!The Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, in his speech when receiving the Noble Prize in 1986, had asserted that ‘the past must address the present’ – an approximation of a Yoruba idiom, Omo kii ba ipele iya re ki o si aso da (a child who finds a pattern of the cloth sewn by its parents should not make a mistake in sewing its own clothe).
“Meaning that Tinubu has noble legacies to incorporate into his own programmes with a view to accelerating the forward-match of Nigeria. Incidentally, he tagged his 80 page Manifesto as ‘Renewed Hope’ – an offshoot of Abiola’s ‘Hope 93’ manifesto with which he meant to ‘rebuild Nigeria’.It is worthy of note that the Abiola blueprint too drew inspirations from the cardinal programmes of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo for whom programmes that would enhance peoples’ welfare and make life more abundant for them were the hallmarks of his entire political career.This could be seen in the manifesto of Awolowo’s political groups, the Action Group and the Unity Party of Nigeria that came up with Four Cardinal Programmes. Democratic Socialism was the phrase used to capture the ideology of Action Group whilst the UPN was renowned for its four cardinal programmes. Abiola’s SDP, as stated earlier, was desirous of ‘rebuilding Nigeria’ and bring honour and pride to Africa through developmental programmes. One of the programmes that would be continental in its ramification was the desire to seek for Compensation (Reparation) from those who took Africans from their lands into slavery and later colonized the continent.
“Tinubu did not say he would be seeking compensation in that sense. But he is no less committed to steps that will earn dignity and respect for Africans through people-centred governance and weaning the people from mental slavery that has been impeding them from using their God-giving endowments to develop their lands and make life easy for their peoples.
“It is in the foregoing that the significance of June 12 really resides. For it is by actualizing the inherent programmes that the people would enjoy dividends of democracy thus truly actualizing the cogency of ‘Democracy Day’ that June 12 is now called in Nigeria.”
Ajayi commended former President Muhammadu Buhari for formally recognizing Chief MKO Abiola as winner of 1993 Presidential election and for honouring him with the highest award in the land, GCFR along with Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
He added that “the step was putting history in proper perspective”.
“President Tinubu is not strange to democratic ethos and what ‘good governance’ entails as could be seen in his antecedents and in his Maniesto.”
Submitting that the theme for this year’s Democracy Day celebration which is ‘Hope Reassured’ is apt, Afenifere spokesman urged President Tinubu to ensure that his government does not dash the hopes of Nigerians as many previous administrations did.
“From the actions he has taken so far, we are confident that this administration will reset Nigeria back on the path of glory in which the people will truly be happy under an atmosphere of good governance”.